The population is shrinking and aging, incomes are stagnating and markets are saturated in key consumer sectors, according to a study by the hamburg institute of international economics (HWWI) commissioned by HSH nordbank and presented in hamburg on thursday.
In addition, the concentration process in the retail trade is continuing and the increasing trade via the internet is costing further market share. "Many factors come together in retailing," said dorte nitt-driebelmann, the author of the study.
With sales of 512 billion euros – one-fifth of germany’s economic output – the retail trade is a very important sector of the economy.
A good third of private consumer spending goes to this sector, albeit with a steadily declining trend. In view of demographic trends, household spending on housing, health and healthcare will increase in the future, but not on consumption, according to the study.
The basic needs of the population are no longer growing. Satisfaction trends can be seen in food, but also in clothing, shoes, household items and furniture.
According to the study, discounters and shopping centers can hold their own especially in large cities. For the retail trade in rural regions, on the other hand, the situation looks bad.
"Those who are agile and imaginative can find market niches not covered by crude chain stores, given the diversity of change processes," said nitt-driebelmann. Service and advice on products requiring explanation became more and more important for the older population.