Consumer trends in Germany are connected to a wide range of industries and markets. However, several key consumption patterns have emerged in recent decades: purchasing convenience, digitalization and sustainability.
The desire for a quick, easy purchase often goes hand in hand with shopping online, especially during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. With retail locations not considered essential by the German government closed for months on end, and then bound by restrictions once open, many consumers turned to ordering goods online. This needed no mask-wearing, and, ideally, provided the convenience of home delivery or easy pick-up options for packages. In 2020, Germany was third among European countries in terms of annual average e-commerce spending per person, after Sweden and the United Kingdom, at 947 euros. Statistics show that this spending has increased annually. While Germans bought a variety of products online in 2021, the leading categories were clothing, books, films, music and games, and consumer electronics.
Reducing climate change and harmful consumption effects on the environment at individual consumer level is a consistent part of everyday discourse in Germany, though actions and opinions differ. This may be due to varying degrees of being informed, present or absent feelings of personal responsibility, income disparity or simply motivation. In 2021, almost 29 million people agreed or mostly agreed with buying products from companies that act socially and ecologically responsible. In terms of sustainable consumption, consumers may therefore place responsibility not only on themselves, but on the producers and manufacturers of purchased items. This creates consumer demand not just for the product itself, but for transparent and credible information on the product origin. 0.65 million people were willing to spend more on environmentally friendly products. Fair trade sales revenue has grown significantly since 2000.
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Social and ecological responsibility as purchasing criteria in Germany 2017-2021
Level of agreement towards the statement "It is important to me to buy products from companies that act in a socially and ecologically responsible manner" in Germany from 2017 to 2021 (in million persons)