Corona crisis depresses consumer spending in the past year

Status: 11/22/2021 10:52 a.m.

Household expenditure fell by an average of three percent in the crisis year 2020. But not all industries were equally affected.

The corona pandemic and the associated closings and delivery bottlenecks have had a negative impact on the purchasing behavior of Germans: In the past year, consumer spending fell by an average of three percent compared to the pre-crisis level in 2019, according to the Federal Statistical Office.

The hotel and restaurant industries were hardest hit by the decline. Private households spent an average of 102 euros a month on food in restaurants and overnight stays, 35 percent less than in 2019. The industry suffered particularly from the lockdowns, and tourist overnight stays were at times completely banned. In the education sector, too, significantly less was spent on childcare and adult education courses, for example.

Higher spending on interior design

However, Germans spent more on certain products and services than in the previous year – for example on computers, bicycles, food and housing. The economic measures taken by the federal government, such as the temporary VAT cut and the child bonus, had a positive effect and caused expenses for this to increase by nine percent in the past year compared to 2019.

The statisticians recorded the greatest increase in the expenditure for equipping the home with around 13 percent to an average of 160 euros per month. Mainly large and small household appliances, home textiles and furnishings were purchased.

Germans fear expensive Christmas business

Private consumption is an important pillar of the German economy. However, the corona crisis is still having a negative impact on household spending, for example due to delivery bottlenecks and the associated price increases. The electronics industry and fashion retail in particular are struggling with delivery problems. The background to this are major problems in international logistics chains that are increasingly affecting German retail.

The vast majority of Germans therefore fear that Christmas gifts will be more expensive to buy than in previous years, according to a representative survey published by the management consultancy Ernst & Young (EY). In addition, around 30 percent of those surveyed said they wanted to bring their Christmas shopping forward due to delivery problems.

New Corona measures for Black Friday

Economists fear that in addition to the delivery bottlenecks, the increased number of infections could again dampen consumption this year because consumers, for example, refrain from visiting restaurants for fear of infection. In the first federal states there are already stricter rules to combat the pandemic. Helaba economist Claudia Windt referred to the negative effects of the new measures for the upcoming Christmas business, especially since it will not be possible to see until the beginning of December at the earliest whether the measures will be sufficient. Online retail is likely to benefit in particular: around 30 percent of those questioned in the EY survey stated that they preferred to do their Christmas shopping online.

For the retail trade, however, the new measures come at an inopportune time: On Friday, Black Friday will be the most important day for shopping bargains, on which many Germans are already doing their Christmas shopping. The day of action originally comes from the USA, where Thanksgiving is celebrated the day before. Even in the days leading up to Black Friday, also known as “Black Week”, online shops and retailers offer discounts.

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