Market and consumption

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The TOP 4 German retailers Schwarz (Lidl, Kaufland), Edeka, Aldi and ReWe dominate food/nonfood-trade in Germany with 60% market share. How tough the competition has recently become could be witnessed after traditional retail chain Kaiser’s-Tengelmann filed for insolvency in 2016. After a long wrestle the remaining 400 stores were split between Edeka and ReWe.

For new retailers it is and will remain difficult to gain foothold in German retail market. A couple of years ago American Discounter WalMart tried, made a painful experience and failed after eight years of activity in Germany, not only because of underestimating German competition.

At the moment, two trends are becoming obvious in German grocery retail: the growth of discounters and the disruption of traditional purchasing behaviour through eCommerce. The future will show whether online retailer Amazon Fresh or its European counterparts will succeed in cracking the market.

Total consumer spendings of private households in Germany added up to 1.636 €bn in 2017, which resembles a growth of more than 24% over recent 10 years. Almost to the same extent expenses for food, drinks and tobacco increased and grew in the same period by 23% to 227 €bn, whereas its share in total consumer spendings remains unchanged in a 10 year view since 2007.

Total consumer spendings in Germany 2017 vs. 2007 in €bn

Total consumer spendings in Germany 2017 vs. 2007 in €bn. Miscellaneous = Additional health care, education, personal hygiene, basic commodities, services of social institutions, insurance- and financial-services, etc.

In 2017 German households spent around 13.8% of their disposable income for food, soft drinks and tobacco, which is slightly below EU average. Indeed, it must be taken into account that in general price level for food and drinks in Germany is relatively low compared to a high average income.

Federal Statistics Office 2018,
Lebensmittelzeitung 11/2018,
EHI Handelsdaten 2018

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