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flag Germany Germany: Reaching the consumers

In this page: Consumer Profile | Marketing opportunities


Consumer Profile

Consumer Profile
According to Eurostat, in 2019, the median age of the population was 46, the third oldest population in the world. The population is aging, since the median age was 44.3 years in 2010. Germany's population rose by 148,000 (+0.2%) in 2019. While 13.6% of the population is under 14 years old, 64.9% is between 15 and 64 years old and 21.5% is over 65 years old. On average in 2019, households are made up of 2 people while 41.9% of households are people living alone, mostly women. The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) also reports that the number of one-person households is expected to rise in the near future. The population is 48.8% men and 51.2% women. It is estimated that 14.3% of German population is foreign and 77.4% of the population lives in urban areas, and the cities of Berlin Hamburg, Munich and Cologne are the most populated. Germany has one of the highest levels of education: 86% of people aged 25 to 54 have completed upper secondary education. Moreover, Destatis accounts that in 2018 the proportion of vocational and continuing training of all pupils in upper secondary education in Germany (47%) was higher than the OECD average (42%). Among the active population, 22% work in raw material extraction, and industry, 20% in business organization, accounting, law and administration, 18% in health, social and education, 13% in transport, logistics, protection and security and 12% in commercial services, retail, hotels and tourism.
Purchasing Power
According to the Word Bank, GDP per capita PPP was estimated at $ 56,052 in 2019. The average monthly gross income of households in Germany amounted to 4,846 euros in 2018, according to results of the Sample Survey of Income and Expenditure (latest data available). Germans have an average per capita purchasing power of €23,766 in 2020 according to GfK’s latest purchasing power study. Private consumption and expenditure is 2,704 euros, according to Destatis. The Gini index is 0.31, and fits into European averages. Wage inequalities between men and women have been decreasing since 2014. According to Destatis, women in Germany earned 20% less than men in 2019. The earnings difference between men and women, the unadjusted gender pay gap, was 1 percentage point lower than in the previous years. Women earned an average 17.72 euros per hour in gross terms, that is 4.44 euros less than men (22.16 euros). In addition, the risk of poverty rate is higher for women, over 65s and non-Germans. In total, 19% of the population is at risk of poverty or social exclusion.
Consumer Behaviour
Germany is a mass consumer society. Before making a purchase, beyond the price, German consumers like to learn as much as possible about other similar products, features, provenance etc. According to some studies, German consumers are among the most demanding in the world. Some consumers are willing to pay more for a better quality product. Consumer confidence is high (above the average for OECD countries) but it dropped by 5.9% point in September 2020. Online shopping has become the norm in Germany and the country is Europe's largest online market . Consumers are relatively open to the products of international companies. However, local, national and European products may sometimes be preferred.Germans are relatively loyal to brands if its a quality product. About 60% of the population is willing to buy the same brand several times in this case. Social networks are a useful way to learn about products, but also in the discovery process. Comments left by other users can determine a purchase decision. However, due to concerns about data collection by companies, Germans can be passive users of social networks.

Environmental awareness is common among German consumers. This is reflected in consumption, with the development of organic products, vegan, using little energy etc. In addition, local product consumption attracts some consumers who are willing to pay more for it. The second-hand market is very widespread in Germany, especially in the big cities, for economic, ecological and social reasons. This translates with the purchase in fripperies, second-hand stores but also with online exchanges. The collaborative economy is widely developed, both with VTC platforms, apartment rentals and carpooling.

Household Consumption Expenditure

Sector Percentage
Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels 23.6%
Transport 14.7%
Various goods and other services 12.7%
Food and non-alcoholic drinks 10.7%
Culture and leisure 9.2%
Furnishings, household equipment, everyday  maintenance of the house 6.8%
Hotels and restaurants 5.5%
Health 5.2%
Clothing and shoes 4.8%
Alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics 3.2%
Communication 2.9%
Education 0.9%

Source: OECD Stats, 2017.

Consumer Recourse to Credit
Germany is a country where cash payment is widespread. Debit cards are used and widely accepted, although there are places where only cash is accepted. Credit cards are less common and may be refused in some establishments such as small shops, restaurants and hotels. Household debt to GDP is down in Germany (52.5% of GDP in the second quarter of 2018). Debt is composed of long-term debt (real estate), which is rising, and short-term debts (consumer loans) which are declining. The Germans have about 760 euros of debt per person in 2018. The level of household debt is relatively low compared to other European countries with real estate debt being lower and therefore consumers need for less loans. The majority of loans are provided by banks and traditional banking providers. Loans are used to finance housing, white goods (refrigerators, washing machines, electronic products). The trend should continue in 2019, with an increase in mortgage loans but a slowdown in consumer credit. In the second quarter of 2018, German households contracted 11.8 billion euros of new loans.
Growing Sectors
Leisure and culture, education services, vehicles, catering services, accommodation services, telephony, dishes and household utensils, garden equipment, audio-visual equipment, food and footwear.
Consumers Associations
VZBV , Federation of German Consumer Associations
TEST , Product Testing Foundation
Verbraucher , Consumer Initiative

Population in Figures

Total Population:
Urban Population:
Rural Population:
Density of Population:
238 Inhab./km²
Men (in %)
Women (in %)
Natural increase:
Medium Age:
Ethnic Origins:
According to German authorities, over 91% of the population is of German origin. The largest ethnic group of non-German origin are the Turkish, comprising over 3% of the population. About 6% of the population is made up of individuals of Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian and Spanish origin. In 2019, Germany absorbed around 1.5 million migrants (more than 1% of its population), primarily from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. (Federal Statistical Office of Germany)

Population of main metropolitan areas

City Population
Berlin 3,669,500
Hamburg 1,847,300
Munich 1,484,300
Cologne 1,087,900
Frankfurt 763,400
Stuttgart 636,000
Düsseldorf 621,900
Leipzig 593,200
Dortmund 588,300
Essen 582,800
Bremen 567,600
Dresden 556,800

Source: Citypopulation.de, Latest data available - Latest available data.


Age of the Population

Life Expectancy in Years

Source: United Nations, Population division, World Population Prospects: The 2009 revised population database., 2009 - Latest available data.

Distribution of the Population By Age Bracket in %
Under 5:
6 to 14:
16 to 24:
25 to 69:
Over 70:
Over 80:

Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, Prospects 2010 - Latest available data.


Household Composition

Average Age of the Head of the Household 24.0 Years
Total Number of Households (in million) 40.1
Average Size of the Households 2.2 Persons
Percent of Households of 1 Person 39.2%
Percent of Households of 2 Persons 29.0%
Percent of Households of 3 or 4 Persons 23.6%
Percent of Households of 5 Persons and More 3.7%

Source: Federal Statistics Office, 2007; Trends in Europe and North America, The statistical yearbook of the Economic Commission for Europe 2008, UNECE., 2008 GFK Geomarketing, 2008 Statistics Offices of the lander and the Federal Statistical Office, 2008 - Latest available data.


Consumption Expenditure

Purchasing Power Parity 2019202020212022 (e)2023 (e)
Purchasing Power Parity (Local Currency Unit per USD) 0.740.740.730.730.72

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, Latest Available Data

Definition: Purchasing Power Parity is the Number of Units of a Country's Currency Required to Buy the Same Amounts of Goods and Services in the Domestic Market as USD Would Buy in the United States.

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Household Final Consumption Expenditure 201820192020
Household Final Consumption Expenditure
(Million USD, Constant Price 2000)
Household Final Consumption Expenditure
(Annual Growth, %)
Household Final Consumption Expenditure per Capita
(USD, Constant Price 2000)

Source: World Bank, Latest Available Data

Consumption Expenditure By Product Category as % of Total Expenditure 2017
Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels 23.6%
Transport 14.7%
Miscellaneous goods and services 12.7%
Food and non-alcoholic beverages 10.7%
Recreation and culture 9.2%
Furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house 6.8%
Restaurants and hotels 5.5%
Health 5.2%
Clothing and footwear 4.8%
Alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics 3.2%
Communication 2.9%
Education 0.9%

Source: OECD Stats, Latest available data

Information Technology and Communication Equipment, per 100 Inhabitants 2012
Telephone Subscribers 132.3
Main Telephone Lines 61.8
Cellular mobile subscribers 132.3
Internet Users 84.0
PCs 65.6

Source: International Telecommunication Union, Latest available data

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Marketing opportunities


Media in Which to Advertise

National or regional impact according to the channel chosen. About 90% of German households is equipped with cable or satellite television. Germans spend an average of over three and a half hours (223 minutes) watching television. Advertising revenue on commercial TV channels was 4.4 billion Euros in 2014.

Main Televisions
ARD (Assoc. Of Publ. Broadcasting Of Germany)
ARD/MDR-Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk
Sport 1
FFF-Franken Funk Und Fernsehen
Hamburg 1
Kabel Eins
N-TV Nachrichten-fernsehen
Prosieben Media AG
RTL Television
Spiegel TV GMBH
ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen)
National or regional impact according to the newspaper chosen.

Main Newspapers
Allgemeine Zeïtung
Bild Zeïtung ( in german)
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeïtung
Advertising in letter boxes comprises mostly of discounters and supermarket sales. It allows to reach a maximum of consumers, but is often considered junk mail. Be aware that these will most likely be rejected.
In Transportation Venues
It is possible to advertise on 4x3 billboards, on tramways, taxis, huge canvasses on buildings. A large part of mobile consumers is thus reached.

Market Leaders:
Ströer Out-of-Home Media AG
Wall AG ( in german)
awk Aussenwerbung GmbH
DSM Zeit und Werbung GmbH
blowUP media GmbH
National impact. Radio is a mass media that connects with consumers all day long. About 80% of people over 14 years of age regularly listen to the radio. Radio advertising revenue is on the increase, with about 780 million Euro in 2017.

Main Radios
Antenne Saar
Deutsche Welle
Deutschland Radio
Is in great expansion. About 88% of German national are connected to Internet. In 2016, they spent an average of over 2 hours a day surfing the net. Internet advertising revenue is on the increase, and benefits from the decrease in printed advertising.

Market Leaders:
1&1 Mail & Media GmbH
Main Advertising Agencies
Carat media agency
OMD media agency
Mind Share media agency
Bader Media agency (in german)
Gesamtverband Kommunikationsagenturen GWA e.V

Main Principles of Advertising Regulations

Find all the necessary information on the Alkohol und Werbung website. Germany applies the European labelling guidelines regarding health and nutrition claims.
For years, Germany had a very tolerant approach to the advertising of cigarettes. Since the 29th of December 2006, Germany applies the European Directive on the prohibition of cigarette advertising in printed media, radio and internet. Sponsoring is also prohibited. More information on: DZV Deutscher Zigarettenverband.
A revised Tobacco Products Directive has been adopted and must now be transposed into national legislation by the Member States by 2016.
Germany is governed by the "Heilmittelwerbegesetz" (HWG) law, which has been followed European law since 2005. View the list of "Krankheitsliste" illnesses for which the advertising medicines is authorized. At the EU level, the advertising of medicinal products for human use is regulated by the Council Directive 2001/83/CE as amended by Directive à2004/27/CE.
Other Rules
The protection of children and the youth applies in particular to foodstuffs and alcoholic beverages. For more information, please visit the German Advertising Standards Council.
Use of Foreign Languages in Advertisement
German. It is possible to use foreign languages.
Organizations Regulating Advertising
Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Landesmedienanstalten (ALM)
Zentralverband der deutschen Werbewirtschaft e.v. (ZAW)
Der Deutsche Werberat
European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA)

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Latest Update: May 2022