Zalando claims to have reached a market share of 5 percent in the German shoe retail market, indicating that last year it had a domestic turnover of around €600 million in this product segment, after only eight years in the market. Zalando describes footwear as its most mature category in its annual report for 2015.

This also means that Zalando had a share of more than 15 percent in German online market for footwear. A recent consumer survey shows that online sales of shoes grew last year by 5 percent to €3.54 billion, after declining by 1.9 percent in the previous year. Online sales of clothing grew by 18 percent to €10 billion.

Confirming its goal to grow by between 20 and 25 percent a year, the big German-based e-tailer says it wants to raise its share of the overall European fashion market from less than one percent to more than 5 percent, reaching an annual turnover of €20 billion in the longer term. Quoting independent research, it estimates the European market for all kinds of fashion products, including clothing and footwear, at more than €400 billion a year.

Zalando regards itself already as the leading online platform for fashion in Europe, offering more than 150,000 fashion items under more than 1,500 labels on its websites in 15 countries. About 100 brands have individual brand shops on its platform. Zalando notes that online sales of fashion products doubled in Europe to an estimated €46 billion in the past five years, implying annual compound average growth of around 15 percent, but they still represent only 11 percent of the total fashion retail market.

Exceeding a medium-term growth target, the company's sales increased by 33.6 percent to €2.96 billion in 2015. They rose by 28 percent to €1,580 million in the German-speaking countries and by 40.5 percent to €1,212 million in other European countries, where the company started offering products online later.

However, Zalando reported an adjusted operating margin (Ebit) of 3.6 percent for the year, slightly below the 3.7 percent rate recorded in 2014. The margin declined by 0.3 percentage points to 6.4 percent in the German-speaking countries, but it improved in the rest of Europe, moving to a still negative rate of 0.3 percent of sales from a negative 1.3 percent margin in 2014.

Interestingly, around 60 percent of the traffic on its 15 websites came from mobile devices during the fourth quarter, up from 48 percent a year earlier. The number of active customers grew by 22 percent in a year to reach 17.9 million at the end of the period, averaging more than 135 million visits per month. The customers were for the most part aged between 25 and 45, and 75 percent of them were women. Zalando wants to widen its assortment and its value propositions to extend its customer base.

Zalando's app, which was re-launched with new features in December, was downloaded 16 million times in 2015 compared with seven million times in the previous year. New functions are being added all the time.

Banking on the interaction between fashion, technology and operations, Zalando plans to invest about €200 million on its multiple initiatives in 2016, up sharply from expenditures of €70 million made in 2015. However, it is reportedly outsourcing the logistics for its private label products to an operator, Meyer & Meyer, that works also for KaDeWe.

It is forecasting an adjusted Ebit margin of 3.0 to 3.5 percent for the year. Sales should grow by close to 25 percent, allowing the company to continue to win market shares in the online space.