The desire to shop is on the rise: customers are returning to the city centers

The desire to shop is on the rise: customers are returning to the city centers

Despite corona scares and mandatory masks: consumers are returning in growing numbers to the fubganger zones of german city centers – often just to window shop, but increasingly also to go shopping.

"Consumers are increasingly waking up from their state of shock," observes the nurnberg-based consumer research company gfk. And the retail sector takes a similar view: "things are slowly starting to look up again," says rolf pangels, chief executive of the textile trade association (BTE), to the deutsche presse agency.

This assessment is supported by figures from hystreet, a company specializing in measuring customer frequencies in city centers. "There are now a number of cities where visitor frequencies in the shopping streets have returned to pre-crisis levels or have almost reached them," reports hystreet managing director julian aengenvoort.

This applies, for example, to shopping streets in aachen, dresden. Flensburg or kiel. On the other hand, shopping districts where tourists or customers from neighboring countries played a major role before the crisis still had to cope with a significant drop in customer numbers, aengenvoort notes.

However, the revival in the fubganger zones should not yet be equated with a return to the old buying mood, warns BTE managing director pangels. "The mask requirement is still putting many people off," says the industry expert.

Even if the streets are again fuller, there are still 20 to 25 percent fewer customers in the country. Suits still hanging like lead on the shelves. Summer goods are doing better. "But according to our perception, people still only buy the most necessary things in order to get out of the store quickly," he says.

A survey of stationary retailers conducted by the industry trade journal "textilwirtschaft" showed that sales last week were still eight percent below the previous year’s level on average. Nevertheless, the newspaper emphasized, "it’s the best weekly result since the end of the lockdown."The week before, the drop was 12 percent, and a week earlier it was as high as 36 percent.

Gfk market researchers also see signs of an improvement in consumer sentiment. "The faint light at the end of the tunnel, which was already becoming apparent last month, is apparently getting a little brighter," gfk consumer expert rolf burkl tells dpa. The tensile opening of the economy and society in germany is making consumers more and more oblivious to the corona shock.

Although the consumer climate indicator of the nurnberg market researchers is still deeply in the red. But at least as far as the economic outlook is concerned, confidence has already returned among germans. The gfk indicator for economic expectations is currently at 8.5 numbers, even above the long-term average of zero. Pessimism about income also continued to wane. Market researchers observe that the propensity to buy is on the rise.

Nevertheless, in the eyes of the experts, the situation remains difficult and fragile in view of a record number of short-time workers and rising unemployment figures. "The question will be how many of the seven million short-time workers will end up unemployed," said burkl.

In addition, there is the risk of a corona backlash. Infection incidents, such as in meat plants in north rhine-westphalia or at controversial tennis matches in croatia, a vacation destination, could lead to uncertainty.

Germany is therefore "not yet out of the woods," burkl emphasized. It is even questionable whether the economic climate will ever return to its pre-crisis level. "It could be seen that buying behavior is changing," said burkl. The question "do I need all this at all??" Is being asked more frequently than before.


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