DThe Germans are keeping their money together with rising inflation and want to save a lot in the coming months. This is shown by the so-called “Future Consumer Index” by the consulting company EY, which is exclusively available to WELT. The survey, in which 1,000 German citizens participated, shows that fewer expenses are planned for clothing and consumer electronics in particular, as well as for the use of delivery services and memberships in fitness studios.
“Consumers are adapting their buying behavior to the crisis and inflation,” says Klaus Ballas, Head of Consumer Goods and Retail at EY Germany. “The corona pandemic is becoming an endemic. And right now, when people want to breathe a sigh of relief, the next crisis is coming, affecting us all.”
Inflation is hitting consumers hard. And the end of the road has not yet been reached. “It affects all purchasing decisions – from everyday products to luxury goods.”
Just over half of the Germans surveyed plan some significant restrictions on consumption. And in an international comparison, it’s even smaller. In Spain, France and Italy, for example, but also in Japan, Australia and the United States, about two-thirds of survey participants said they would rather put money aside than spend it.
The share is even higher in China and South Africa at over 70 percent and Thailand even reaches 85 percent. “Not only in Germany is the motto apparently save, save and save again,” Ballas describes.
It will therefore be all the more difficult for companies in the coming months to sell products that customers do not consider absolutely necessary. “Consumers are more likely to think twice about which purchases are currently making sense to them. And they will compare prices and look for cheap deals even more than before.”
Especially since rising budgets are reserved for other things, above all for electricity, gas, rent and groceries. According to the survey, to which nearly 18,000 consumers in 24 countries have been asked, a majority of consumers worldwide expect prices to continue to rise in the coming months in these areas.
“Things can get tight for middle and low incomes”
And the answers are from February, just before the outbreak of the Ukraine war. Expert Ballas therefore assumes that the figures at the moment would look even more violent.
“The situation has deteriorated markedly in many areas: inflation is rising even faster than expected, price increases are becoming a serious problem for more and more people because they eat the disposable income. But the great awakening comes for many when they get their heating bill. Things can get tight, especially with middle and low incomes, ”Ballas fears.
Especially since inflation in his opinion will continue with undiminished strength. “Life becomes even more expensive because the high energy costs are far from fully priced into the goods we buy in the supermarket today. Such second and third round effects will further dampen purchasing power and thus also pose a real threat to the economy. ”
Ballas now expects certain purchases to be eliminated in the future. “The ‘nice to have’ is going out of fashion,” the consultant is sure. “People are focused on simple needs, they do not want to waste time and money on things they no longer value, while inflation continues to rise,” the survey said. Companies need to consider this when addressing customers.
Many people save when they go to the cinema, go to the gym or travel
This continues a development that began in the two Corona years. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, most people have spent less money,” the study’s authors state.
Well-established patterns of action have been abandoned and in many cases still not restored, be it when visiting pubs and bars, going to the cinema or working out in the gym, or even when traveling by plane and cruise. Inflation should now continue to manifest this development. Ballas is already talking about a “lack of optimism”, which can now become a problem.
“Even before the war in Ukraine, consumers around the world did not look to the future with optimism: their work and private lives had changed, and inflation did the rest.” also the middle class, which perceives the rising prices most clearly.
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