The German market has become the most important in Europe and the third in the world, after United States and China.
by Benno Scharf
With 82.8 million inhabitants at the end of 2017, according to the estimate by the Government Statistics Institute Destatis, Germany is the most populous nation among the 27 (after Brexit) of the European Union. The German population represents about one fifth of the EU overall one.
In terms of per head income, Germany ranks fifth in the Union itself, with around 48,000 annual dollars per head; it is preceded by the wealthy Luxembourg, Sweden, the astonishing Ireland and The Netherlands.
Despite that, currently, according to the data released by the United States CIA, 12% of Germans live in disadvantaged conditions, under the poverty threshold.
The market of white goods
According to the evaluations by the trade association ZVEI, in 2017 they sold in Germany white goods for a global value of 10.5 billion Euros, in prices at the origin, i.e. established by the producer or by the importer, however including the Value Added Tax (equivalent to the Italian IVA). In final prices to the public, this corresponds to about 14.5 billion Euros. With that value, the German market becomes the most important in Europe and the third in the world, after United States and China.
Big appliances represented 68% of the total, small ones accounted for 32%.
“The German market of household appliances goes on growing. Even if with a dynamics inferior to the previous year’s” states the trade association ZVEI. In 2017, the rise versus 2016 was by 3.2% in quantity, growing from 19.0 to 19.6 million appliances. In value, big appliances scored 2% and small ones registered 3%. Sector players declared their satisfaction with this growth, which corresponds to their expectations.
According to the statements by ZVEI, highly demanded were the dryers with heat pump, built-in dishwashers, hobs with integrated suction hood, fully automatic coffee machines and the vacuum cleaners with battery. Moreover, we can notice a clear propensity for appliances with a fine design and high comfort; this is true especially for cooking appliances.
“Home connect” appliances are particularly successful, too. In 2017, they sold around half million of units and they foresee that at the end of 2018 they will represent 10% of the turnover in the sector.
The diffusion rate
In the table, we have completed the survey by the Government statistics body Destatis, concerning the products in the first 9 items, with the data released by the research agency Statista for the last 6 small appliances.
The presented outline shows a well-off Country, with houses equipped not only with the indispensable appliances but also with those not completely essential. We can notice the high diffusion rate of the dishwasher, equipping almost all houses where at least two people live: only among singles this household appliance is still rare. The traditional filter type prevails among coffee machines whereas the customary espresso models are replaced by pod-type ones. Finally, also the electric toothbrush has become of common use, with a presence in the two thirds of German dwellings.
The crisis of consumer electronics, meant in its conventional definition, goes on. The sales of TV sets hit the bottom in 2016 and now they are slowly rising again, with a strong bent for the models with a certain size. In 2017, in fact, the size of about 85% of the sold appliances was 37 inches or more.
Moreover, videogames and consoles seem in recovery phase after the crisis of the previous years, whereas the market appears stabilized for the home audio.
Sales keep on decreasing for all other products, to full benefit of competitor appliances, from tablets to smartphones.
The agency GfU has calculated that the value of consumer electronics sales, in prices at the origin, amounts to 9.2 billion Euros in 2017 against 8.9 in 2016. The 3.4% growth is due to TV sets, to videogames and also to a certain tendency of German consumers to prefer products of higher quality. In final prices, the market is estimated in about 13.5 billion Euros.
It is common opinion in the sector that also in 2018 the growth of white goods may continue with the same rate as in recent years, i.e. with rises ranging from 2% to 3%.
Concerning consumer electronics, the crisis in course is about to hit the bottom. In 2018, the market might stabilize on the current level.
|Sales of big appliances in Germany in 2016 and in 2017 (1000 units)|
|2016||2017||% variat. 2017/2016|
|Ovens and stoves||2.2||2.25||2.3|
|Source: Zentralverband Elektrotechnik- und Elektronikindustrie (ZVEI)|
|Presence of some household appliances in german houses in 2017 (%)|
|Automatic coffee machine||15.1|
|Sources: Destatis, Statista|
|Sales of consumer electronics in Germany in 2016 and 2017 (mio units)|
|2015||2016||2017||% variation 2017/2016|
|Videorecorder, DVD Player||2.2||1.8||1.5||- 16.7|
|Digital still cameras||3.4||2.3||2.1||-8.7|
|Portable audio/DVD||1.4||1.0||0.7||- 30.0|
|Car multimedia||3.4||2.8||2.3||- 17.9|
|Videogames and consoles||2.3||2.1||2.7||28.6|
|Source: GFU – Gesellschaft für Unterhaltungs- und Konsumelektronik|