Germany’s first possible winners (and some losers) from the Covid-crisis

Germany is lifting its Corona prevention restrictions. What do German companies (startups and dinosaurs) look like 100 days into the crisis? Germany’s first corporate winners and losers on how they reacted to this crisis, according to FSG’s content marketing expert Maartje. 


Marley Spoon/Hello Fresh, Berlin

Restaurants were closed, people were at home, Berlin based Hello Fresh took advantage of the Corona crisis. Their revenue increased by 66 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, one million more people ordered their food boxes. Berlin competitor Marley Spoon also saw its numbers rise. Revenue increased there by 46 per cent. 

Plexiglas, Weiterstadt

Plexiglass helps protect people from the very infectious Corona virus. Berliners will find plexiglass in every Späti, supermarket, hair salon or drug store here, protecting workers from customers and the other way around. The German company Plexiglas (written with one ‘s’) was founded in 1903 by a German scientist and was bought by American private equity group Advent International in 2019 for 2,5 billion euros. Since the start of the Corona crisis, production has increased ‘five to ten times’ for the company (total company revenues to the tune of  €2 billion ($2.16 billion) in 2018).

Teamviewer, Frankfurt

Frankfurt based Teamviewer, which allows companies to let their employees work remotely by sharing screens and having online meetings, is going through the roof. ‘Ein der Profiteuren der Coronakrise’, wrote Handelsblad about the company that was founded in 2005. Their revenue in the first quarter of 2020: 102,7 million euros (+19 per cent YoY).

Zalando, Berlin

The online fashion platform from Berlin is growing even though fashion in general was hit hard during the first 100 days of the Corona crisis. After announcing this month that the company is still doing well, Zalando said that they are still planning to grow around 10 to 20 percent this year. 


The Startups in Berlin

4 out of 10 startups currently don’t have enough money in the bank to survive for another three months, according to data from the organization Startup Genome. Since the start of the Corona crisis, investments in startups worldwide have decreased with 20 per cent. Is funding going to dry up for the Berlin startup scene? In Germany, it’s unclear yet whether and how many startups will file for bankruptcy, since the state has allowed startups to wait with filing for bankruptcy until September 30th 2020. One of Berlin’s Unicorns, Getyourguide, was hit hard, according to data from Priori. Downloads of the Getyourguide app have dropped drastically from around 7.000 daily downloads in February and March, to less than 100 in April and May of this year.

Lufthansa, Frankfurt

With a float of 760 airplanes and only 80 of them up and running at this point, German airline Lufthansa is clearly hurt. The Frankfurt based ‘Luftgesellschaft’ saw its amount of passengers decline by 99 per cent since the start of the crises. A total of 3.000 flights is cancelled – daily. However, the airline published its 2019 numbers proudly halfway May 2020, saying 2019 was a year like never before. They added that ‘they are looking forward to June, when many travelers will hit the road again’, which made them announce to add 80 more planes to the float. Lufthansa employees currently in Kurzarbeit: 80.000 from 130.000. Lufthansa’s CEO asked the German governement for financial support, however, is not interested in giving away part of its shares in return. ‘We need Germany, but Germany needs Lufthansa, too’, he said.

The car industry, all over Germany

Car sales in Germany have fallen to a historic low. German carmakers have demanded a purchase incentive from Chancellor Merkel, like the one in the crisis of 2008. Back then, Germans purchasing a car, could redeem a 2.500 euro voucher when handing in a used car in order to purchase a new one. VW, BMW, Audi and Mercedes are going through tough times. In April of this year, VW sold 45 per cent less cars compared to 2019 worldwide. 

All in all, it’s too early to draw drastic conclusions after the first 100 days. However, the fact that the world will change, is something many agree on. (Read this interesting piece in the Guardian about the potential new world order to find out why, according to the author, the EU will be the biggest Corona-loser of all). 

Are you interested in reading more on how we at FSG are dealing with the Corona Crisis for the different international brands we represent?

Read more about what our brand team has done in times of Corona. Or click here if you want to read more about what kind of customer movements we have seen online since the start of the crisis.

Click here to find more about FSG and what we do.

What the Coronavirus means for German e-commerce

Berlin – With the Coronacrisis all around us, we, too, see that limited social interaction changes our lives significantly. Many entrepreneurs are affected, the economic impact in the world gets bigger every day this crisis lasts. Many people ask us ‘what’s next?’ for e-commerce businesses like our clients have. To answer that question, our Managing Director Radboud Langenhorst shares our insights here.

By Radboud Langenhorst

This article shares some light on what developments we see in the German ecom market that we believe are important enough to explain since the first small business opportunities are arising. 

For this article, we have looked at cosmetics, food, fashion, apparel, home-decoration and lifestyle products as being the main sub-industries in which FSG is active. 

 Overall we see the following impact: 

  • All industries took huge turnover hits in the first  two weeks (w11 + w12) of nationwide Corona measures in Germany, except for food, which showed an immediate increase
  • In the last two weeks all of the above mentioned sub-industries are picking up (slightly) again, whereas food  and home-decoration are doing better than before Covid-19
  • For food this is mainly due to the amount of transactions, which in the first weeks had a higher share of existing customers ordering more, and in the last weeks a higher share of new customers 
  • For home-deco this is mainly driven by higher order values next to a higher share of new customers

To start top-down, we believe that the following macro-developments are the main drivers for the above mentioned: 

  • The share of people that buy online is increasing. This is a change of behavior of a smaller part of the population but still has a significant and long-term impact
  • People will buy more of the same type of products online. This is more of the same behavior of a big part of the population and has also a significant but a more temporary impact
  • People will buy different type of products online. This is also a change of behavior of a big part of the population and will have a significant and long-term impact

Let’s look at some e-commerce drivers that explain current performance further:

Overall, we see that the main reason for the turnover hits in the first weeks is less traffic to the different websites. This is understandable of course due to all major concerns and insecurities. At the same time, it is also due to some serious media budget cuts, which leads to double dipping and missing out on opportunities at hand. 

Next to that, the conversion rates for all industries stabilized or even improved a bit in the last two weeks. This is in general due to a higher online buying intention (see the above mentioned macro developments), but also due to less media spend invested in more expensive channels that are aiming more for brand awareness instead of sales like e.g. Youtube. In other words if you invest less in new traffic, your conversion rate goes up by definition, because you are left with the ones who know your brand and have shown interest before. 

Are there other metrics that back up the higher interest and online buying intention? Yes! Overall interest is increasing and can be concluded based on more time spend on all websites (except food, where it´s just about e.g. buying products NOW! ;)) and more pages viewed.


The only thing is that people have in fact more time and especially in Germany, this leads to more research and questions on-site, for customer service (our CS team has never been more busy!) and on social media. In addition, more competitors are being taken into consideration in the interest phase. This leads to longer customer journeys (+15%) and more touchpoints / channels in a single customer journey (+20%) throughout all sub-industries.

The fact that people have more time, is also visible when looking at some content consumption metrics. Social engagement KPI’s like shares, likes and clicks are going up significantly and also the amount of video consumption went up with almost 25 per cent! Looking at Newsletters, we see an open-rate increase of almost 20 per cent  in combination with a 15 per cent click-through-rate. So yes people consume more (non-commercial-) content and it makes a lot of sense to focus on this, especially now. 

So what to do with all this info? We have drawn the following conclusions and focus areas: 

  1. Avoid a vicious circle by cutting too much media budget, which will lead to an even higher loss of traffic. Just agree on/ and clearly communicate return-on-ad-spends that work for your business. Being present now, also through more pricey awareness channels like Social Paid or Youtube can pay off and will drive traffic, provided that you have enough relevant content of course
  2. And thus create lots of localized content for all relevant channels. Especially more general interest topics around production, fun-facts,  how-to´s, or tapping into moments like mother´s day will drive interest, engagement and over time sales. This does not have to be overproduced/ pricy, as long as it’s authentic and real. 
  3. Increase available resources for customer engagement and questions through all relevant channels. Having live-chat on the webshop of one of our clients is one of our biggest sales drivers at this moment.

As for all brands that are struggling in their home-market and are not yet live in Germany: the cards are being reshuffled now. Meaning some competitors are seriously cutting down, some are going all-in with endless promotions and some will leave the market. In our opinion we see opportunities to move in now, since all competitors will start investing again after Corona (high CPA’s!), consumers will invest more at first in things they could not do like travel and going out and retail-presence is no longer a competitive advantage, meaning if your product, webshop and shipping policies are good; you are as good or better as anyone else!

Curious on how we do this at FSG? Please reach out so that we can organize a nice chat via zoom, or hangouts, or skype, or teams. 

Bleib gesund!

A Coronavirus update from Berlin

Berlin – FSG’s office is empty today, since all of us are working from home in respons to the new Coronavirus. What else is happening in Berlin?

Here’s your FSG Update from Berlin, where the streets are getting more empty by the minute, while temperatures are rising. Starting Wednesday, all Berlin stores except grocery stores, will have to close their doors.

FSG is not alone in going in to ‘home-office mode’. Berlin’s mobile bank N26 has completely closed its physical doors. According to the German news website on the start-up scene, Gründerszene, N26 is a fintech where working from home is not something the management normally encourages. More than 1.000 N26 employees are working from home.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has said it has 164 million euros available for start-ups that could come up with technologies and innovations that will help prevent the new Coronavirus from spreading. Deadline for sending in a plan for the ‘Corona accelerator’ is March 18th end-of-day.

Some German start-ups are benefiting from the new Coronavirus. 18-year old Nils Reichardt sees that downloads of his home schooling app Sharezone are getting through the roof. His app can be used by students to send in homework to teachers also working from home. Also downloads on the website have sky rocketet in Germany, with a record of over 100.000 downloads over the last weekend.

Many people here in Germany have been stocking up on toilet paper. Also the start up Happypo is benefiting. Happypo, started its business in mobile bidets in 2018 and now has a message on their website that meanwhile they have limited stock, indicating that their sales increased thanks to the virus.

Another questions being asked in Germany now that the Coronavirus is spreading, is if cash money, a payment method many Germans prefer over paying by card, can carry the virus. Read more on that here.

In German politics, Friedrich Merz, one of the possible future Chansellors from the German political party CDU, has been tested positive with the new Coronavirus, according to Spiegel.

That’s it for today. We hope you all stay safe and healthy. Take care of yourself and of each other, FSG.

A podcast on the new Coronavirus and FSG’s way of working from home

Berlin – FSG’s response to the new Coronavirus means most of us are working from home at this point. Listen to our Managing Director, Radboud Langenhorst, as a special reporter from Start-up Hub Berlin in this Podcast.

In today’s published podcast Coronacast from Grenzeloos Ondernemen (in Dutch), FSG’s Managing Director Radboud Langenhorst talks about in what ways the new Coronavirus is affecting FSG’s business, the Berlin start-up scene and the German economy as a whole. Listen to Radboud’s interview with Dutch journalist Folkert Tempelman.

Stay healthy everyone!

Wir suchen dich!

We are hiring! FSG is growing and we encourage you to do the same. Read here about the positions we have available in our Berlin office, and click on a job title to read the detailed description of every posting.
We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Junior Social Media Manager
Do you know how to lift a social media account to the next level? Are you comfortable with actively engaging with social network communities? Are you willing to speak up about potential social media strategies and do you like working in a young, dynamic team? 

Junior Performance Marketing Manager
Do you like to be creatively and systematically involved in online strategies? Are you experienced in SEA, Shopping, Display and/or Video Marketing? Are you willing to speak up about potential social media campaigns and are you willing to take responsibility for your own campaigns while working in a young, dynamic team? 

Junior Key Account Manager
As Account Manager, you will take on one of our partner’s business cases on the German market.

Customer Service Professional
Do you love talking to curious (potential) customers and does it give you joy to come up with solutions for their questions or concerns? This job is made for you.

Are you interested in talking to us about one of these positions? Please contact to learn more.

PS. FSG’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak means most of us are working from home at this point. We will continue to interview candidates remotely via video call. If we are ready to move to the offer stage, we will always make an effort to try to meet a candidate in person.

Auping und FSG setzen ihre Zusammenarbeit fort

Berlin – FSG freut sich, die Verlängerung des Vertrages mit Auping bekanntgeben zu können. Wir haben die Zusammenarbeit mit unserem Partner Auping Mitte 2018 aufgenommen und werden auch in Zukunft gemeinsam weiter daran arbeiten, die Marke Auping zu stärken und ihre Bekanntheit in Deutschland auszubauen.

Inzwischen ist Auping seit über 8 Jahren in Deutschland erhältlich. „Auping und FSG haben vor knapp zwei Jahren begonnen, zusammenzuarbeiten, um sich stärker auf die wettbewerbsorientierte deutsche Online-Welt zu konzentrieren. Damals hatten wir noch keinen Webshop. Die Auping Webseite diente dazu, potenziellen Neukunden bei ihrer Recherche zu helfen, das richtige Bett und einen Weg zu besserem Schlaf zu finden”, sagt Jörg Cieslak, Geschäftsführer von Auping Deutschland.

Gemeinsam haben FSG und Auping eine Strategie entwickelt, damit aus Auping mehr werden kann. „Was wir in den letzten zwei Jahren gemeinsam geschafft haben, ist ziemlich beeindruckend”, sagt
Radboud Langenhorst, Geschäftsführer von FSG. „Wir haben eine Online-Omni-Channel-Strategie entwickelt, um den Umsatz in den Geschäften vor Ort zu steigern. Auping ist in den Niederlanden allgemein bekannt. Allerdings kannten die Marke in Deutschland nicht viele Menschen, als wir
anfingen. Wir konzentrierten uns also auf die Erstellung von Online-Inhalten speziell für den deutschen Markt und haben die Ergebnisse der Besucherzahlen in den Geschäften gemessen.”

„Was wir gemeinsam mit FSG gemacht haben, war ein großer Schritt nach vorn. Die Online-Erfahrung der deutschen Auping-Kunden ist nun der wichtigste Teil ihrer Reise geworden. Der Kauf eines Bettes ist etwas, was die meisten Menschen immer noch offline tun. Sie wollen die Matratze fühlen, erleben, wie es sich anfühlt, wenn man darauf liegt. Wir geben ihnen jedoch so viele Informationen wie möglich online, bevor sie in den Laden kommen. Sie müssen nur ein einziges Mal ein Auping Geschäft oder einen Auping Händler besuchen”, erklärt Jörg. „Das minimiert den ökologischen Fußabdruck der Kunden, was uns sehr wichtig ist.

Hier zu sehen: FSG-Geschäftsführer Radboud Langenhorst (links) und Jörg Cieslak, Geschäftsführer von Auping Deutschland, unterzeichnen den neuen Vertrag.
Bild von Lennar Schumacher

Radboud ergänzt: „Auping hat in Deutschland das richtige Fundament gelegt, um in den kommenden Jahren einige große Schritte zu machen, und wir freuen uns riesig, die Marke auf diesem Weg zu unterstützen.
„Jetzt, da der Auping Webshop in Deutschland live ist, können wir uns in den kommenden Jahren darauf konzentrieren, die Markenbekanntheit und den Umsatz von Auping weiter zu steigern. FSG ist wirklich stolz darauf, mit einer Marke zusammenzuarbeiten, die so einzigartige USPs hat.“

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