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Consumer Markets and Retail Landscape

Large Markets, Big Opportunities

Germany remains the largest consumer market in Europe - in terms of both population size and purchasing power.

The country also has the highest GDP in Europe with one of the highest total purchasing power levels. With a population of 83.2 million – almost 19 percent of the EU-27 population – Germany remains the largest consumer market in Europe. The country also has the highest GDP in Europe (EUR 3,570 billion or almost 25 percent of EU-27 GDP), with one of the highest total purchasing power levels (EUR 2,062 billion).

The German population is affluent and current trends point to continued development and growth. German consumers are increasingly following individualistic value-for-money concepts. The typical German consumer is as equally receptive to discount retailers as to established brand names across different product segments. As the largest consumer group with the greatest purchasing power, the generation of consumers aged 50+ is proving particularly attractive as a target group. Members of this group are healthier, more demanding and quality conscious than their parents were at the same age.

E-commerce, flexible hours and innovative sales services help boost demand. Modern and consumer-friendly structures support both volume business as well as niche suppliers alike.

Consumer Confidence Returns as Covid-19 Infection Rates Fall 

The German Retail Federation Consumer Barometer rose to its highest level in two years in July. This is being attributed to falling infection rates and nationwide store reopenings.

Consumer confidence up for fifth consecutive month

Consumer confidence increased for the fifth month in succession in July according to the German Retail Federation (HDE). Falling Covid-19 infection incidence rates and the relaxing of measures designed to contain the coronavirus have contributed to help record the highest consumer confidence level in two years. 

Buying propensity levels picking up

According to the HDE, consumer buying propensity levels are also up with consumer demand now being met with corresponding consumption opportunities in the retail, food service and tourism sectors. Increased willingness to spend is also the result of improved income expectations among the buying public. 

Unemployment levels continue to fall

The country’s labor market has also recorded continued improvement during the summer months according to the Federal Employment Agency (BA). Companies continue to reduce their use of the short-time work scheme and are recruiting new employees again. The seasonally adjusted figures for June show a fall of 38,000 in the numbers of unemployed, with the unemployment rate decreasing by two percentage points to 5.7 percent. According to BA preliminary extrapolated data, cyclical short-time working benefits were paid to around 2.3 million employees this month, with utilization of the scheme continuing to decline.

Economic outlook optimistic

The outlook for the economy as a whole has been optimistic for several months, with consumers and economic research institutes alike backing up this assessment. The HDE Consumer Barometer is a monthly survey forecast compiled from the responses of 2,000 respondents.

Testimonial - YANG Bin / President / COSCO Europe GmbH

YANG Bin, President of COSCO Europe GmbH YANG Bin, President of COSCO Europe GmbH | © COSCO Europe GmbH/GTAI

"German employees are outstanding. I can say without a doubt that they are the best in Europe. My impression is that German employees are effective, disciplined, and attentive. German workers are very loyal to their company and possess a strong work ethic." YANG Bin / President / COSCO Europe GmbH

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