Germany imported US$1.236 trillion worth of goods from around the globe in 2019, up by 17.4% since 2015 but down by -4% from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, Germany uses the euro which appreciated by 0.9% against the US dollar since 2015 but declined by -5.5% from 2018 to 2019. The weaker EU currency makes Germany’s imports paid for in stronger US dollars in 2019 relatively less expensive than in 2018 when converted starting from euros.
German imports represent 6.3% of total global imports which totaled an estimated $19.665 trillion one year earlier in 2018.
Applying a continental lens, 63.6% of Germany’s total imports by value in 2019 were purchased from fellow European countries. Asian trade partners satisfied 22% of import purchases by Germany while 7.8% worth of goods originated from North America. Smaller percentages came from customers in Africa (2.2%), Latin America (1.3%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.3%) led by Australia.
Given Germany’s population of 83 million people, its total $1.236 trillion in 2019 imports translates to roughly $14,900 in yearly product demand from every person in the European republic.
Germany’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Germany’s import purchases during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Germany.
- Machinery including computers: US$160.1 billion (12.9% of total imports)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $151.4 billion (12.2%)
- Vehicles: $135.8 billion (11%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $109.3 billion (8.8%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $59.6 billion (4.8%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $44.9 billion (3.6%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $44.1 billion (3.6%)
- Organic chemicals: $40.5 billion (3.3%)
- Iron, steel: $27.7 billion (2.2%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $24 billion (1.9%)
Germany’s top 10 imports accounted for almost two-thirds (64.5%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Two product categories increased in total spending from 2018 to 2019, namely pharmaceuticals (up 3.7%) and vehicles (up 3.4%).
Leading the decliners were iron and steel (down -16.9%) and organic chemicals (down -12.5%).
Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more detailed view of imported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of Germany’s Most Valuable Import Products further down near the bottom of this article or under the adjacent product folder tabs.
In 2019, German importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machines including computers.
- Computers, optical readers: US$24.1 billion (down -2.3% from 2018)
- Turbo-jets: $14.2 billion (up 15.6%)
- Printing machinery: $8 billion (down -18.9%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $6.9 billion (up 9.3%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $6.9 billion (down -3%)
- Piston engine parts: $6.7 billion (down -6.9%)
- Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $5.7 billion (down -8.4%)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $5.4 billion (down -3.6%)
- Computer parts, accessories: $5.1 billion (down -18.6%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $5.1 billion (down -2.3%)
Among these import subcategories, German purchases of turbo-jets (up 15.6%) then centrifuges, filters and purifiers (up 9.3%) grew from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among German businesses and consumers.
In 2019, German importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical equipment including consumer electronics.
- Phone system devices including smartphones: US$22.8 billion (down -6.4% from 2018)
- Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $16.9 billion (down -13.3%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $10.6 billion (down -8.1%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $7.9 billion (down -7.6%)
- Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $7.6 billion (up 1.1%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $6.9 billion (up 0.3%)
- Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $6.7 billion (down -7.2%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $5.9 billion (down -8.5%)
- Electric motors, generators: $5.7 billion (down -5.4%)
- Electric storage batteries: $5.5 billion (up 20.8%)
Among these import subcategories, German purchases of electric storage batteries (up 20.8%), electrical or optical circuit boards and panels (up 1.1%) then electrical converters and power units (up 0.3%) grew from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electronics among German businesses and consumers.
In 2019, German importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.
- Cars: US$70.5 billion (up 13.8% from 2018)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $39.5 billion (down -10.1%)
- Trucks: $7.5 billion (up 5.5%)
- Tractors: $3 billion (down -8%)
- Trailers: $2.5 billion (down -14.4%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $2.5 billion (up 6.5%)
- Motorcycles: $2.3 billion (up 9.2%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $1 billion (down -3.8%)
- Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $792.6 million (up 2.4%)
- Special purpose vehicles: $791.9 million (up 38.3%)
Among these import subcategories, German purchases of special purpose vehicles (up 38.3%), cars (up 13.8%) then motorcycles (up 9.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported vehicles among German businesses and consumers.
In 2019, German importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.
- Crude oil: US$40.7 billion (down -9.6% from 2018)
- Petroleum gases: $31.2 billion (down -7.7%)
- Processed petroleum oils: $24.2 billion (down -5.7%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $4.5 billion (down -20.4%)
- Electrical energy: $2 billion (up 28.4%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $646.3 million (down -14.5%)
- Coke, semi-coke: $581.4 million (down -22%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $474.7 million (down -7.3%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $323.6 million (down -10.7%)
- Peat: $92 million (down -9.4%)
Among these import subcategories, German purchases of electrical energy was the sole top subcategory to increase from 2018 to 2019 thanks to a 28.4% uptick.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of mineral fuels-related imports among German businesses and consumers.
Searchable List of Germany’s Most Valuable Import Products
At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, Germany’s top import products are cars, auto parts or accessories, crude oil followed by petroleum gases then medication mixes in dosage.
The following searchable table displays 100 of Germany’s most in-demand imported goods during 2019. Shown beside each product label is its total import value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2018.
|Rank||German Import Product||2019 Value (US$)||Change|
|5||Medication mixes in dosage||$30,441,179,000||+6.3%|
|6||Processed petroleum oils||$24,203,730,000||-5.7%|
|7||Computers, optical readers||$24,136,918,000||-2.3%|
|8||Blood fractions (including antisera)||$23,586,422,000||-2.1%|
|9||Phone system devices including smartphones||$22,780,451,000||-6.4%|
|11||Heterocyclics, nucleic acids||$16,108,463,000||+2.1%|
|14||Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)||$10,150,064,000||+3%|
|18||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$7,881,554,000||-7.6%|
|19||Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)||$7,832,339,000||-8.3%|
|20||Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels||$7,615,291,000||+1.1%|
|22||Centrifuges, filters and purifiers||$6,948,339,000||+9.3%|
|23||Electrical converters/power units||$6,868,743,000||+0.3%|
|24||Taps, valves, similar appliances||$6,861,477,000||-3%|
|25||Solar power diodes/semi-conductors||$6,707,688,000||-7.2%|
|26||Piston engine parts||$6,694,662,000||-6.9%|
|27||Rubber tires (new)||$6,561,457,000||-10.3%|
|29||Miscellaneous plastic items||$6,217,008,000||-2.2%|
|32||Electric motors, generators||$5,666,870,000||-5.4%|
|33||Transmission shafts, gears, clutches||$5,662,397,000||-8.4%|
|34||Electric storage batteries||$5,473,134,000||+20.8%|
|38||Computer parts, accessories||$5,104,461,000||-18.6%|
|39||Air or vacuum pumps||$5,092,606,000||-2.3%|
|41||Liquid pumps and elevators||$5,031,074,000||-5%|
|42||Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)||$4,865,021,000||+2.9%|
|43||Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)||$4,748,448,000||-2.8%|
|44||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$4,681,884,000||-4.8%|
|45||Precious metal waste, scrap||$4,664,437,000||+16.2%|
|46||Coal, solid fuels made from coal||$4,519,503,000||-20.4%|
|47||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$4,515,847,000||-7.1%|
|48||Physical/chemical analysis tools||$4,484,982,000||-4.8%|
|53||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$4,303,491,000||+1.9%|
|54||Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters||$4,270,998,000||-8.3%|
|55||Ball, roller bearings||$4,166,286,000||-11.3%|
|56||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$4,104,429,000||-6.5%|
|57||Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers||$4,020,040,000||-9.5%|
|58||Iron ores, concentrates||$3,937,065,000||+8.6%|
|63||Cases, handbags, wallets||$3,712,369,000||+0.5%|
|64||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$3,708,295,000||-6.2%|
|65||Refined copper, unwrought alloys||$3,663,903,000||-21.4%|
|66||Flat-rolled stainless steel items||$3,574,206,000||-10.7%|
|67||Other measuring/testing machines||$3,429,991,000||-4.1%|
|68||Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs||$3,409,872,000||-6.7%|
|69||Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)||$3,350,684,000||-13.3%|
|70||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$3,322,532,000||-10.3%|
|71||Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys||$3,315,213,000||-1.2%|
|73||Miscellaneous iron and steel structures||$3,216,385,000||-11.7%|
|74||Unrecorded sound media||$3,093,490,000||-6.6%|
|76||Vulcanized rubber items||$3,083,625,000||-7.9%|
|77||TV/radio/radar device parts||$3,083,184,000||-1.3%|
|80||Chemical industry products/residuals||$2,963,320,000||-4.2%|
|81||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$2,961,781,000||+2.2%|
|84||Aluminum plates, sheets, strips||$2,936,063,000||-14.1%|
|87||Other diagnostic/lab reagents||$2,829,082,000||-5.7%|
|88||Initiators/accelerators, catalytic preps||$2,790,665,000||+9.1%|
|89||Base metal mountings, fittings||$2,762,658,000||-4.1%|
|90||Copper waste, scrap||$2,760,076,000||-6.4%|
|91||Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products||$2,684,274,000||-23.4%|
|92||Table games, bowling equipment||$2,632,289,000||-8.9%|
|93||TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras||$2,605,304,000||+0.3%|
|94||Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations||$2,570,373,000||-5.7%|
|95||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$2,526,422,000||+2.4%|
|96||Other organic cleaning preparations||$2,512,334,000||+2.4%|
|97||Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)||$2,507,359,000||-18.2%|
|100||Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)||$2,479,241,000||+5.8%|
These 100 imported goods were worth a subtotal of US$742.3 billion or 60% by value for all products imported into Germany during 2019.
See also Germany’s Top 10 Exports, Germany’s Top Trading Partners, Top German Trade Balances and Germany’s Top 10 Major Export Companies
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on February 28, 2020
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on February 28, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 28, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on February 28, 2020