Self-employed mothers with children under 18 are making a large yet often underestimated impact on the German economy. This year, the demographic often referred to as "Mompreneurs" will generate EUR 42.4 billion. As defined by a study of eBay conducted by research and analysis service provider Statista, Mompreneurs range from household small-businesses to businesses with multi-million revenues. Particularly in the growing digital commerce sector sales volume grew and is still growing. According to the study, these revenues will increase this year alone by 6.1 percent to EUR 505 million.
"We are pleased with the positive sales trend and the growing number of Mompreneurs," said Stefan Wenzel, Vice President eBay Germany. “Especially for small businesses, a group to which many of our Mompreneurs belong to, eBay provides a simple and wide-reaching way to get started in e-commerce. And the declaration that we are a true partner to retailers is more than semantics in this context. We have a true online marketplace. We partner with our sellers; we do not compete with them."
• Forecast 2016: 461,000 self-employed mothers with children under 18 achieve annual sales of EUR 42.4 billion
• Mompreneurs generate EUR 505 million in online commerce
• Per capita sales in e-commerce is predicted to grow by almost one third by 2020
The Mompreneur Trend in Germany
In the United States, the term "Mompreneurs" (created from “mom” and “entrepreneur”) is already well known. However, the ongoing economic success of self-employed mothers is now experienced increasingly in Germany.
Currently in Germany, more than one in three self-employed women have children. Almost half a million mothers (461,000) with children under 18 are self-employed. According to the Federal Statistical Office, about half of them have one child, while an additional 50 percent have two or more.
"In the world of work, mothers are a resource that has been extremely underestimated," said Esther Eisenhardt, founder of "Mompreneurs," the leading German network for Mompreneurs.
According to researchers, health and social services is the most popular sector for Mompreneurs. The top five industry sectors for self-employed mothers include:
1. Health and social work (99,000 Mompreneurs)
2. Scientific and Technical Services (69,000)
3. Support activities (58,000)
4. Retail - including online commerce (42,000)
5. Education (35,000)
In retail, where the e-commerce sector is growing rapidly, a total of EUR 474 billion sales revenue is expected in 2016. Many mothers find self-employment in this flywheel of the German economy; currently, there are about 5,200 Mompreneurs in online commerce. While the business trend is still in its infancy, they create an on average per capita turnover of 97,141 EUR per year. By 2020, the value generated is expected to grow strongly by almost one third (31.6 percent) to 127,857 euro. That means a nearly 200 percent growth of per capita income in e-commerce is reached since 2010.
Mompreneur Success Stories
In 1999, Annedore Linder was a studied farmer without work experience. She started an eBay Store called "Anndora", launching her entry into the world of self-employment. "In the beginning, I sold used baby clothes,” said Linder. “Today, I employ 19 employees for my store." Now a top-selling eBay Store from Saxony-Anhalt, Linder specializes in items for home, garden, and leisure.
Though self-employment is often seen as a last resort by some, for others it’s a promising alternative. Many traditionally employed women find that maternity leave represents a potential disruption to their careers. When they return to the office as mothers, they find additional challenges: The tasks have changed, or the office environment does not have the necessary flexibility in working hours or organizational structure in place for child care.
"Part-time often means to get stuck on the sidings and sometimes even a career stop," said Eisenhardt. According to Eisenhardt, a major reason for this would be a still popular culture of working only in the office in the German business landscape. "Many managers do not like to delegate responsibilities when one cannot take part in meetings in the late afternoon.”
For this reason, working self-employed becomes an attractive alternative for more and more mothers. And: The more children women have, the higher becomes the share of Mompreneurs on the total number of working mothers. The ability to be their own boss, work from home, and decide for themselves how much work they want to take on makes self-employment the ideal work structure for them.
Other Mompreneur Success Stories at a Glance:
eBay Seller Annedore Linder with Anndora
• Seller on eBay since 1999
• Specializes in goods for home, garden and leisure
• 19 employees, 3,000 items on eBay at any time
• One of the top-selling eBay Stores from Saxony-Anhalt
eBay Seller Bettina Leisten Rodriguez with Kids-Comfort, a Multichannel Merchant for Children
• Seller on eBay since 2005
• Includes international sales of baby and children's items
• 15 employees, 20,000 items on eBay at any time
• Strong emphasis on quality and service
eBay Seller Andrea Goenner with Garnwelt
• Seller on eBay since 2010
• Specializes in knitting yarn and crafting essentials
• Generates EUR 4 million annual sales revenue
• 30 employees in the summer, 50 in winter; 10,000 items on eBay at any time
• Passionate commitment and steady growth