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Cross-category Trends

  1. Shoppers are on a mission – you need to know which one

The reason someone starts browsing or shopping – and the extent to which they’ve already made up their mind about a product or a brand – means they can enter the process with a range of different mindsets, each one affecting their hunger for a bargain, a speedy transaction or a bit of fun. Understanding these differences in approach can help brands unlock real value, by adapting communications and the shopping experience – both online and in physical stores. It’s important to distinguish “decided” shoppers from those who are still open to suggestions, and to appreciate the occasion they’re buying for, and the urgency of the day’s shopping mission. Every shopping expedition – to a city center or to a computer screen – involves constant, subconscious trade-offs between time, money and energy.


2 The aging population is a gold mine for brands  

Around one in five people in Germany is now aged 65 or older, and while generations X, Y and Z may be hot topics for brands seeking to win over new consumers, here’s a fact that might make marketers look afresh at the more mature consumer: the number of older people in Germany has risen by nearly 37 percent in the past 20 years. There are now close to 18 million people aged 65-plus, and Germany’s low birth rate means they’re a growing demographic. As well as proving a ready market for increasingly sophisticated retirement homes, with gyms and beauty salons, they’re also buying fashion, luxury goods, high-end cars, and they’re traveling.

3 E-commerce has room to grow – if the terms are appealing

Germany is a highly connected market, and in some categories, the vast majority of transactions are done online. In the space of just one year, the proportion of the population using online shopping has risen from 57 percent to 70 percent. Now, 80 percent of people booking flights and 57 of those shopping for clothes do it via clicks, rather than a walk around a physical store. Yet there remains considerable scope for growth in the e-commerce market here, particularly in grocery shopping, which is growing fast but is still used by only a third of German households. What’s holding back everyone else? Shoppers say they’ll switch if the process is made simpler – so it’s easier to find what they want, from a range that’s just as broad as they’d get in a physical shop. They also want faster, free delivery, and easier access to more information about the products they’re buying.

4 Time is the ultimate luxury

The demands of daily life are leaving many people feeling like they need a break. Government surveys have shown that many parents wish they could spend more time with their children, and Kantar research in 2018 found that 59 percent of Germans (compared to 51 percent a year earlier) wished they had more time and energy to explore their creativity, both in their personal and professional lives. Technology isn’t always the answer; around a quarter of Germans think they already spend too much time on their mobile phone, and over half say they don’t want a connected device in their home, even if it would make their lives easier. Brands have an opportunity to devise creative ways to streamline services and give consumers more free time – and also to create experiences that feel like a valuable and enjoyable use of their precious time.

5 Green concerns are driving decisions – to a point

Across Western Europe, consumers are reading labels and making changes to their lifestyle with the intention of reducing their impact on the environment. Germany has a high proportion of commuters who cycle to work, for instance, both for health and environmental reasons, and over half of consumers say they try to have a positive effect on the natural world – not just by reducing waste but by buying ethically sourced products. Yet their good intentions sometimes go awry when the green option costs more – and this is particularly the case for young people, who perhaps have to be more careful about budgeting. Brands that can help make “doing the right thing” more affordable stand to do well in a market where 80 percent of young adults are concerned about the environment, but fewer than 10 percent buy eco-friendly clothing and a minority opt for Fairtrade products.