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Online Shopping the New “Normal” - Stationary Retail to Grow

Online shopping has become the new “normal” during the Covid-19 pandemic – with online purchases up almost 20 percent in 2021. The country’s retail sector is expecting growth of three percent in 2022.

Household spending: one in five euros spent online

Online shopping has established itself as the new norm in Germany with one in five euros of household spending (including grocery purchases) spent in the e-commerce sector in 2021. Gross sales of e-commerce goods rose to EUR 99.1 billion in 2021 according to the Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel (bevh - “German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Association”).  This 19 percent annual increase comes hot on the heels of an almost 15 percent increase in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

According to the bevh, digital commerce growth is stabilizing after a number of spikes at the start of the pandemic, with online retail now indispensable for both retailers and consumers alike.

Stabilization in the labor market is an additional welcome factor to consumer spending levels, with the year-on-year increase in the number of unemployed in January proving significantly smaller than in previous years (seasonally adjusted figures being equivalent to a 48,000 decrease in the number of unemployed).

Retail sector forecasts three percent recovery from Covid-19 downturn

Germany’s retail sector has forecast sales growth of three percent for the year subject to the Covid-19 situation easing and the eventual removal of 2G rules (restrictions that only allow vaccinated and recovered individuals admission to businesses and public spaces). Announcing its findings, the German Retail Federation (HDE) also sounds a note of caution, observing that retailers who have to operate under 2G regulations will continue to experience some difficulties.

Delivery bottlenecks – particularly in the sporting goods, electronics, and household goods sectors – are an additional factor for stationary retailers. The results are the findings of a survey of 1,300 retail companies conducted by the HDE. Overall sales in the retail sector (including online retail) are expected to grow to more than EUR 600 billion for the year.

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