I just came to the project, but I immediately noticed that the purchasing power and purchasing habits of my friends and colleagues in Germany have changed a lot. I thought it only affected the volunteers. But this is not the case. I talked to the residents of my small town and realized that this was not so.
In 2020, young people in Germany have decided to tighten their belts, giving up shopping for things they can do without, which led to a sharp drop in consumer activity in the country for the first time in more than 50 years.
According to recently released data from the Federal Statistical Office (das Statistische Bundesamt - Destatis), consumer spending of private German households last year fell by 4.6% compared to 2019 at the corresponding prices and by 5% with price adjustments. This drop in consumer demand has been the strongest since 1970, the Destatis release highlights. It also notes that during the financial and economic crisis of 2008/2009, private consumption suffered to a much lesser extent, and later it even contributed to the recovery of the German economy in many ways. Destatis data provides a clear picture of how the costs of private households in Germany have been optimized in the past year.
So, against the background of the overall cost savings, the costs of food and drinks seem to stand apart. German young consumers spent 6.3% more money on food and drink last year compared to 2019 data (at corresponding prices). One of the reasons is changes in consumption patterns: during the pandemic, most people worked from home, bought groceries in supermarkets, cooked more at home and ate less food in catering establishments. Over the year, consumer spending on restaurants and hotels decreased by 33.2%.
Last year, German youth also saved money on air, rail and bus transportation, which seems quite natural given the partial collapse of social and business life. The reduction in expenses for transport services was 11.7%. Against this background, it is interesting that in the second half of the year, the cost of purchasing passenger cars increased by 9.9%. While in the first half of the year, the demand for them fell by 20.0%. Such a dramatic change in German consumer preferences can, among other things, be considered a consequence of the VAT rate cut as part of a package of government measures to restore the economy from the consequences of the pandemic. So, in the period from July 1 to December 31, 2020, it was 16% instead of the usual 19%.
By the way, in Germany today there is a state program to stimulate the purchase of vehicles. It is true that we are talking about cars with electric traction and with a hybrid engine. For example, if an electric car is purchased by the end of 2021 at a price of no more than 40 thousand euros, the buyer receives a discount of nine thousand euros from the state. He receives another three thousand euros from the automaker.
Thanks to the reduction in the VAT rate, various other durable goods are in demand among German young consumers amid the pandemic. If in the first half of last year their costs decreased by 8.5%, in the second they increased by 7.8%. For example, during the same period, the demand for interior items, household electrical appliances and equipment for the home increased sharply (1st half of the year +1.7%; 2nd half of the year: + 6.9%).
Consumer non-durable goods, including clothing and footwear, turned out to be less in demand in German private households. In general, their expenses decreased by 5.4% over the year. Moreover, in the first half of the year the number of purchases of goods in this category decreased by 8.3%, in the second - although negative dynamics persisted, it slowed down noticeably, amounting to -2.7%.
Having arrived at my project, at this difficult time, I understand how important it is to be in solidarity and how important it is to use the resource wisely. In order not to throw away the remains of food and drinks, things. And the pandemic - showed that the era of reasonable consumption is coming, not only in the developed countries of Europe, but also around the world.