A study of 100 online retailers that sell shoes in Germany by Research Tools shows that they enjoy a 30 percent visibility ratio in the market. The brands' own web stores have a similar ratio of 28 percent. Generalist shoe retailers with physical stores show a relatively visibility ratio of 22 percent. While many customers buy sporting goods over the internet, according to NPD, this study indicates that online sports and outdoor retailers have a visibility ratio of less than 10 percent.

According to the 59-page study, Zalando tops the visibility ranking in the shoe sector based on four criteria: internet browsing, search tools, comparison shopping and connection with the social media. It is followed – in order – by Deichmann, Otto's main website, H&M, Amazon, Görtz, About You, Schuhcenter, Mirapodo and Peter Hahn.

One of these four criteria is responsible for at least 50 percent of the e-visibility among these companies. Only one of these ten e-tailers has visibility online in all four categories. When it comes to the retailers' presence on social media, 52 percent of them rely on YouTube.

The study also analyzes the retailers performance in these domains through search engines, paid online advertising, comparison portals and social media for 12 different types of footwear in terms of visibility ranking and positioning.

Research Tools has put together e-visibility reports for the German market in many other sectors since 2011.