Corona: German Consumer Habits Change During Crisis

April 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has forced people to modify their behavior in a variety of areas, including what they purchase. A number of trends are beginning to coalesce.

The initial panic buying of toilet paper, pasta and flour from the first few weeks of the coronavirus lockdown may have passed, but Germans are still spending their money differently than they did before the crisis.

Some of the shifts are obvious responses to the prohibitions that now apply to various aspects of public life. Spending in restaurants, which are restricted to take-away service throughout Germany, is down a whopping 72 percent, but Germans are shelling out 34 percent more for food they cook and eat at home, according to statistics from Unilever. Home entertainment spending has also unsurprisingly increased by 20 percent as cinemas and bars remain shuttered.

Moreover, Germans are discovering the advantages of cashless shopping. Internet bank N26 calculated that visits to ATMs have declined by 47 percent, while a survey carried out by Harvard university found that there is a run on apps that facilitate consumption without contact with other people.

Telemedicine use has reached an all-time high, as has demand for soap, disinfectant and other hygiene articles. Perhaps less intuitively, Germans are buying more organizer products – perhaps using their spare time during the lockdown-prompted economic slowdown to create a little additional order in their lives.

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