Environmentally conscious but price and quality rule
German consumers and their purchase decision making
Preference for high-quality products
German consumers are known for their practical and rational approach to purchasing decisions. They value quality and durability and are willing to pay a premium for products that meet these criteria, especially for products visible to the public. In the contrary, German consumers tend to pay less for products of daily use. Compared with countries like France, The Netherlands, or Scandinavian countries, food prices in Germany are comparably low, despite inflation trends.
Environmentally conscious consumer behavior
In addition, German consumers are environmentally conscious and are likely to consider a product’s sustainability when making a purchase. The Global Sustainability Study 2021 by strategy and marketing consultancy Simon-Kucher & Partners, included more than 1.000 German respondents within a panel of 10,000 participants across 17 countries. Nearly a third of German consumers are willing to spend more on sustainable products. 74 percent of consumers in Germany state that they have changed their consumer behavior slightly to significantly towards more sustainability in the past five years. For 58 percent of Germans, sustainability is a relatively to very important purchasing criterion (consumers worldwide: 60 percent) and is therefore quite relevant, but not as important as price and quality.
Brand trust and reputation
Other research has also shown that German consumers place a high value on brand trust and reputation. A study by the German Institute for Service Quality claims that 45% of German consumers consider a brand’s reputation to be the most important factor in their purchasing decision, closely followed by product quality and price.
Review first, buy later
In terms of the purchase decision-making process, German consumers are known to be thorough researchers. They will often gather information from multiple sources, including online reviews, before making a purchase. Already back in 2013, a study by the University of Muenster found that 89% of German consumers research products online before making a purchase, with 70% of these consumers also consulting print media and offline sources. In recent years this trend even increased.
German customers value privacy and data security
Another important aspect to consider when marketing to German customers is their focus on privacy and data security. They are highly skeptical of companies that collect and use their data without their consent, and are likely to avoid doing business with such companies.
In terms of the online market, Germans are very active buyers, with a high percentage of online shoppers. A study by the German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Trade Association (bevh) found that in 2019, about 80% of Germans aged 14 and over had bought something online.
In conclusion, German consumers are known for their practical and rational approach to purchasing decisions, placing a high value on brand trust, reputation, quality and sustainability. They are thorough researchers and highly concerned about privacy and data security.
- Simon Kucher & Partners: https://www.simon-kucher.com/sites/default/files/studies/Simon-Kucher_Global_Sustainability_Study_2021.pdf
- German Institute for Service Quality: https://www.disf.de/en/consumer-study/
- University of Muenster: https://www.uni-muenster.de/Rektorat/en/News/PressReleases/2013/2013-10-29-consumer-behavior.html
- German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Trade Association : https://www.bevh.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Presse/2019/BEVH_Konsumentenmonitor_2019.pdf
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