Video: Germans spend their way out of lockdown gloom

German retail spending is forecast to have risen 4% in 2020, with consumers defying lockdowns to drive a huge rise in online spending.

Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of the accompanying video. ©2020 Thomson Reuters.

Germany may be enduring another lockdown, but its consumers seem to have decided to spend their way out of the gloom. Retail sales in the country are expected to have grown 4% in 2020. That’s according to the national Statistics Office. The forecast follows a surprisingly buoyant November.

Sales that month rose 1.9%, when economists had forecast a drop. That was thanks to very strong growth in online sales and spending on home improvements. Sales at online and delivery retailers were up by almost a third on the year. Spending on household appliances, decorations, and building materials rose by just over 15%.

But if Germans are getting house proud, they aren’t dressing to impress. Clothing sales fell by a fifth over the same period.

The November figures cover a month when Germany was in only partial lockdown, with shops still open. In mid-December most stores were forced to close again when curbs were tightened to stem a new rise in infections.