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The consumer climate cannot be shaken for the time being



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The consumer climate cannot be shaken for the time being


Despite the severe economic crisis, consumer sentiment remained stable in April 2009. According to the results of the “Konsumklima Maxx” study by the Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (GfK), economic and income expectations may even pick up again after slight losses in the previous month After a revised 2.5 points in April, the overall indicator is also forecasting 2.5 points for May and is surprisingly robust in view of the persistent bad news.

Factors that strengthen purchasing power, such as low inflation, low energy prices and rising pensions, as well as the first isolated signs of an economic trend reversal at the end of the year, would favor this development. After moderate losses in March 2009, economic expectations gained 1.6 points in April, which means that the indicator is currently -31.2 points. However, according to the GfK, the gloomy forecasts in the current spring report by the leading economic institutes, which among other things expect the German economy to shrink by 6 percent in 2009, will put consumer sentiment to the test in the coming months.

In addition, the income expectation is currently gaining 3.4 points after minimal losses from the previous month and is now minus 8 points. This means that the previous balance sheet for 2009 with regard to the income prospects can be assessed positively, as the indicator has recovered by 12.5 points since a low in January. This is due to the extremely calm price climate in the Federal Republic. In March of this year, the inflation rate was only 0.5 percent. This strengthens the purchasing power of consumers. The propensity to buy is also defending its good level. Although the indicator shows a minus of 1.5 points, with the current value of 12.4 points it is a good 17 points higher than at the same time last year.
In addition to the moderate price development, the financial incentives from the economic stimulus package II also ensured that consumers’ propensity to consume remained constant. Above all, the car scrapping bonus, which a number of manufacturers supplement with other discounts, keeps consumers happy. Especially since this form of incentive to buy is now also being adopted by other industries for their products.

www.gfk.com