Closed shops in the Königstraße shopping street in Stuttgart
Photo: Marijan Murat / dpa
In the midst of the tough shutdown imposed in December, the consumer climate in Germany collapsed again.
In their consumer climate barometer published on Wednesday, the Nuremberg-based GfK market researchers forecast a fall of 8.1 to minus 15.6 points for February.
The mood was last worse in June 2020. "The propensity to buy is downright collapsing," says a message from the Nuremberg consumer research company GfK based on its latest consumer climate study for February 2021.
This is particularly evident in the willingness of citizens to make larger purchases such as furniture, computers or cars: According to GfK, the corresponding barometer literally collapsed in January - by 36.6 points to zero.
The recently decided extension of the tough measures for the shutdown also dwindled hopes for a rapid improvement in consumer mood, said the GfK expert on the monthly survey of around 2,000 consumers.
Just as hard hit as in the first shutdown in spring
"The closure of restaurants and large parts of the retail trade in mid-December 2020 hit the propensity to consume as hard as it did during the first lockdown in the spring of last year," said GfK consumer researcher Rolf Bürkl.
At that time, the consumer climate had sunk to an all-time low.
The value determined by GfK for the consumer climate in Germany is usually relatively stable at around +10.
In spring 2020 it sank to below -20, then recovered to almost zero over the summer and now almost slipped back to the spring value of -15.6.
For the current consumer climate, GfK conducted around 2000 consumer interviews on behalf of the EU Commission between January 7 and 18, 2021.
Difficult times are ahead of the consumer climate in the first quarter of this year, he stressed.
"For a sustainable recovery, it is necessary that the number of infections decline more than before so that the measures can be noticeably relaxed," said Bürkl.
"The recovery that many have hoped for this year will still be a while in coming."
According to the GfK survey, four out of five German citizens (81 percent) are of the opinion that the corona pandemic poses a major or very major threat to Germany.
This is the highest value that has been measured since the beginning of the surveys (mid-April 2020).
54 percent are also concerned about their own economic future.
That depresses income prospects.
Because: With the extension of the shutdown measures, the fear of a wave of bankruptcies in the industries concerned also increases.
Icon: The mirror
caw / dpa / Reuters