With the maturity of the Germany retailing market, sales are not expected to expand significantly in the forecast period. Nonetheless, the stability of the market also means positive value growth is highly likely, amidst the economic woes of various other countries in the eurozone. German consumers‟ general cautious approach to shopping is likely to cushion demand even in the event of potential further economic turmoil in the eurozone, and the future of retailing thus remains cautiously optimistic.
The performance of non-store retailing continued to strengthen in 2012, significantly outperforming that of grocery and non-grocery retailing. This stellar performance was driven solely by internet retailing, which recorded impressive 16% current value growth in 2012, in contrast to current value declines for homeshopping and direct selling. Internet retailing primarily eroded the value sales of other channels within non-store retailing, and to a lesser extent store-based retailing. The convenience aspect of purchasing goods online was further fuelled by the rise of smartphones and tablets, and German consumers have become increasingly accustomed to purchasing goods – especially non-grocery products – online. Whilst sales of grocery products through internet retailing remained limited compared with countries such as the UK, due to the strong grip of discounters on grocery retailing, the march of internet retailing remained promising up to 2012.
Continuing the trend from previous years, once again non-grocery retailers recorded stronger current value growth than grocery retailers in 2012. Whilst both channels experienced a slower performance compared with 2011, non-grocery retailers managed to be quite resilient. The positive value growth of non-grocery retailers was even more remarkable given the bankruptcy of Schlecker, which resulted in a significant decline in the number of outlets of non-grocery retailers. Particularly strong was the performance of sports good retailers, boosted by major sporting events Euro 2012 and the Olympics, as well as chemists/pharmacies, which benefited from the demise of Schlecker. By contrast, the relatively lacklustre performance of discounters in 2012 contributed to the overall slowdown in grocery retailers.
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