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10 tips about the German healthcare market - is it something for your company?

The German market is huge - and a springboard to get out into the world. Get 10 tips on how to gain a foothold in Germany. And an invitation to make the first GO or NO-GO decision.

The German market for health and care technology is attractive seen from a Nordic perspective. The country is accessible, close-by and large with its 82 million inhabitants. It has one of the world's oldest populations; a so-called "super-aged" society, where more than 22% are over 65 years of age. Only Japan is older, and forecasts predict that the figure will rise to over 30% by 2050 (source: silvereco.org). It puts its toll on society and makes Germany one of Europe's most attractive markets for age-related products and services.

Digital technologies are increasingly being implemented to meet a healthier and more committed elderly population. The healthcare sector has begun to include eHealth solutions as part of a wider effort to improve services for the elderly. And the government is striving to ioncrease the level og care for elderly people in rural areas to the same quality of care as in urban areas by introducing e-health and care technologies (source: aarprintnational.org). In the next years, Germany faces major renovations and new construction of nursing homes and elderly homes to be able to keep up with demand (source: Factbook Care, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2015).

In other words, there are good opportunities for Nordic companies that already have good references home markets. Below you will find 10 tips and ways of access to the German market.

You can also attend a Welfare Tech seminar, February 26th 2019, where you can explore the opportunities and make a first GO or NO-GO decision about your company aproaching the German market. It is free to join the seminar, and you are welcome to join it at the location most convenient for you. Please follow the links to sign up:

February 26th 2019 - Copenhagen (Denmark)  -  Link: Welfare Tech

February 27th 2019 - Gothenburg (Sweden)  -  Link: Business Region Gothenburg

February 28th 2019 - Oulu (Finland)  -  Link: Oulu Health/ Oulu City

March 4th 2019 - Stavanger (Norway)  -  Link: Norwegian Smart Care Cluster

March 4th 2019 - Livestreaming  -  Link: Norwegian Smart Care Cluster

NB! Live streaming can be followed in real-time or watched as a video at your convenience. However, you need to sign-up to get access.

10 tips and ways of access to the German market


1. The Nordics are reputable countries

The German healthcare industry is open to innovative, cost-effective solutions. The Nordic Countries and the Nordic health service are seen in a positive light by Germany, not least the approach to health and care through the use of innovative technologies. Use it as a competitive advantage.

2. Great demand for prevention technologies 

Denmark has developed successful and documented prevention efforts that prevent and delay the need for hospitalization and care. Enter into a dialogue with the industry and offer your success story.

3. Offer intelligent "renovation concepts"

Germany is facing major renovations of nursing homes, refurbishments for elderly homes and adjustments to hospital sections for the elderly. There is a great demand for intelligent renovation concepts. Check out your product portfolio and see if this market segment is right for you.

4. Universal design can open doors

In Denmark, we have a deep understanding of the effects of universal design and healing architecture. Combine principles such as light, sound, ease of use, flexibility and personalized technology to gain new forms of market access. Use actively the knowhow and experiences you have gained in the Nordics.

5. Make your value propersition brief and clear

In Germany, a solution must prove its worth. Use documentation from your home market as the foundation for your marketing strategy. Provide answers to why the customer must invest and replace a current solution, which cost-benefit your product or service provides, and who really benefits from the solution.

6. Understand the costumer

Build a deep understanding of customer needs. Be well prepared. It is important to know who in the system is the buyer. Who benefits from your solution? Who makes the purchase decision? And who will pay? Understand their position and remuneration in the system and which "power" they have. How does your solution fit into their interests??

7. Be persistent

You should plan on spending several years gaining a foothold in the German market. Endurance and adequate funding are important fundamentals. Calculate a budget without regard to government export subsidies. Grants should only complement your strategy and not form the basis of your approach.

8. Understand the culture

The Germans are organized, structured and planning with a long-term horizon. The Nordics are (in varying degrees) relaxed, spontaneous and have a flexible labor markets. The Germans are surprised that their contact person changes every three years and does not understand that it is closed after 4 pm. Respect the differences and make sure you have material in German and a website in German.

9. Use tradefairs and conferences to establish a network

Germany is a trade fair and conference country. You can easily get in touch with decision makers in the industry at fairs and conferences. Take advantage of them to gain insight into the industry and market needs. Use them to analyze the competition. And grab the opportunity to present your company and product.

- We look back at an exciting and highly successful Altenpflege fair. Many innovative project ideas have already emerged from the many exciting conversations at the trade fair for the German care market, and we look forward to the realisation of these, said Lars Jessen from Life-Partners, after attending Altenpflege 2016, where Life-Partners also won the Innovation Prize for their solution Life-Manager. 

10. Seek professionel advise

Use advise from professional export consultants/services when you have decided to venture into the German market. Theexport professionals will help you to identify the right tradefairs,  the right German partners, the right market segments to target first, the right reserchers etc.

The 10 tips are partly based on Factbook Care - Market Insights into the elderly in Germany, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2015, partly on experiences from Welfare Tech.   


Clarify whether you are ready for the German market

The market introduction seminar is the first of a 6-step model that will help you clarify if you are ready for the German Healthcare market – now, or later. Participation in the seminar is not commiting and you can use the seminar to assess whether you will continue on the next steps that are:

Step 1. German Market introduction seminar

Step 2. Webinars giving you in-depth knowledge about the German market and the German business culture

Step 3. Deep Dive visit to the health and care market in Hannover, Germany

Step 4. MAST evaluation. Benchmark your products against the German market

Step 5. 1-to-1 market validation from German Experts: What should be your next move

Step 6. Joint Nordic exhibition at Altenpfege 2020 – feedback from potential buyers

The activites are made possible by the project Digital Health & Care 4.0,  financed by Nordic Innovation and the Prime Ministers of the Nordic countries, under the Nordic Solutions to Global Challenges Initiative

DOWNLOAD PROJECT HANDOUT

Supported by

Welfare Tech is​ co-financed by the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science and The European Regional Development Fund.

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