With its prime location in central Europe, Austria is an important hub for businesses, especially German-speaking ones. And Austria is a strong import market, with around 35% of its imported goods coming from neighboring Germany. However, if you’re planning to sell to Austrian consumers, you shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that Austria is just “mini Germany”. There are plenty of unique details that you need to keep in mind if you’re looking to get into e-commerce in Austria.

Facts and Data

At only 83,900 km², Austria isn’t exactly one of the larger EU countries — in fact, it is slightly smaller than Iceland or Portugal — but its location and excellent logistics infrastructure make it a valuable location for businesses nonetheless. It is bordered by Germany to the north, Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west, Italy and Slovenia to the south, and Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic to the east.

Austria is a federal republic with 9 states (including the capital city of Vienna) and around 9 million inhabitants as of 2021. Almost 2 million of those people live in Vienna. Other important cities include Graz, Salzburg, Linz, and Innsbruck. Austria is rather unique among many of its European neighbors, as the urban/rural divide is not very pronounced. 58.9% of Austrians live in urban areas, while 41.1% live in rural areas.

Austria joined the EU in 1995, and signed the Schengen Agreement in 1997, as well as becoming part of the European Single Market. In 1999, the Euro replaced Austria’s former currency, which was the Schilling.

Language and Localization

If your company is already selling products in Germany (or German-speaking Switzerland), then you’re in luck!  You won’t need to worry about translating documents like instruction manuals, as both countries speak the same language. However, there’s a caveat.

Much like America and the UK — famously known as “two countries divided by a common language” — standard High German and Austrian German have differences in vocabulary, writing style and grammar. Austrians are very proud of their regional dialects, and most Austrians prefer to use their local dialect rather than High German.

Using standard High German in Austria could occasionally cause misunderstandings, but even when the message is understood, the differences will be noticed (and not always appreciated). This is especially important to keep in mind if you are creating advertising material aimed at Austrian consumers. Advertisements — especially those with wordplay — will be more effective if they’re adapted to the local target group and dialect.

It’s also worth noting that around 5% of Austrians speak Slovenian or Croatian. In some areas of Carinthia and Burgenland, near the borders, these languages have official status and signage is even bilingual. If you are specifically targeting these areas, pay attention to local language conventions.

Economy, imports, and exports

After a pandemic-induced dip in 2020, Austria’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022 was around 447 billion euros, and forecasts predict that it will continue growing steadily over the next few years. Austria’s per capita GDP is well above average among EU member states, as is its level of individual consumption.

Agriculture contributed 1.21% to Austria’s gross value added in 2021, while industry contributed 25.83% and the service sector contributed 62.41%. There haven’t been any significant changes in these percentages over the past few years.

Austria’s most important trading partner is Germany, where around 30.5% of exports go. Other important export markets include the USA (6.6%), Italy (6.2%), Switzerland (5.3%) and other EU countries, the UK, and China.

In 2021, Austria’s trade deficit was approximately 14 billion euros, meaning that it imported more goods overall than it exported. Austria imported goods worth around 176 billion euros from other countries in 2021, mainly from Germany, China, and Italy, as well as from other EU countries and the USA. Machinery and vehicles were the most-frequently imported items in 2020, accounting for 34.9% of total imports.

Internet Usage Trends

According to Datareportal, 8.3 million Austrians were using the internet as of 2021. In 2022, 93% of Austrian households had broadband internet access, and mobile internet usage has skyrocketed to over 80%. Mobile internet penetration is expected to reach 90% by 2028.

There are no significant differences in internet usage between genders in Austria. Currently, 90.9% of Austrian women and 94.2% of Austrian men use the internet. According to Statista, between 93% and 99% of Austrians aged 18-44 use the internet daily.

According to similarweb.com, Google is the most popular website among Austrians, followed by YouTube, Amazon and the news site orf.at.  Amazon.de is the 7th most popular website in Austria. Google is also the most popular search engine in Austria with a market share of 92%, while Bing (3%), Yahoo!, and DuckDuckGo have significantly lower market shares. Approximately 80% of Austrians use social media.

Trends in purchasing behavior in Austria

According to data from Statista, around 54% of all Austrian consumers, or 4.9 million people, bought retail goods online in 2021. The most popular e-commerce website in Austria is Amazon.de (there is no country-specific Amazon website for Austria), followed by the clothing retailer zalando.at, the electronics retailer mediamarkt.at and the online pharmacy shop-apotheke.at.

According to Statista, the most common way to pay for online purchases is with a card, which accounted for nearly 40% of transactions. Digital wallets like PayPal and bank transfers came next, accounting for 26% percent and 23% of online checkouts, respectively.


If your business is already selling to European consumers — especially in the German-speaking DACH region — Austria is certainly an appealing next step. Austria’s economy is strong, consumers earn well, and they are connected and digitally savvy. Over half of them like to shop online, and that number is sure to increase.

The fact that Austria is an EU member and shares a currency with other EU member states means that there are no customs restrictions or currency conversions to be dealt with. In addition, if you are already selling to other German-speaking consumers, localization for Austria will be very straightforward.

What’s more, Austria’s central location between Germany, Italy and Eastern Europe/Balkans makes it a great choice in terms of logistics. You will be able to easily incorporate it into your logistics infrastructure, so that your business can get off the ground quickly.



autor_eurotext_100Author: Eurotext Editorial Team

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