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Business

Private consumption up sharply in Germany

German consumers have been found to be spending a lot more than before as their willingness to buy goods and services has increased due to a number of factors. Ultra-low interest rates keep them from saving.

German consumers increased their spending on goods and services by 1.9 percent last year in inflation-adjusted terms, the National Statistics Office (Destatis) reported Tuesday. It noted the increase marked the steepest annual surge in 15 years.

Economists said

consumers' willingness to spend more

was first and foremost attributable to a robust labor market, with record-high employment and decent wage hikes in many sectors of the economy contributing to consumer confidence.

Total consumer spending amounted to 1.63 trillion euros ($1.81 trillion) last year. Many people spent a lot more on hotels and restaurants, but also on big-ticket household items like furniture and appliances, Destatis pointed out.

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Diverse picture

Record-low inflation driven by a steep decline in oil prices boosted consumers' purchasing power.

Another factor for the marked increase in household spending was no doubt low interest rates, with ultra-low returns on deposits leaving little reason for savers to take their money to the bank.

Although overall economic parameters were less favorable elsewhere in the European Union, consumption across the 28-member bloc also rose by roughly 2 percent last year, with the UK leading the field on a 2.9-percent surge and Italy bringing up the rear with a meager 0.9-percent increase in 2015.

hg/ng (Reuters, dpa)

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