The consumer climate is clouding over

The lockdown spoils the Germans’ mood to buy, report consumer researchers. Consumers fear a loss of income. However, the willingness to make larger purchases has increased.

Alcohol ban and empty city centers: The lockdown spoils consumers' mood to buy.

Dhe German consumers are going into the coming year with a depressed mood in view of the second corona wave, which does not want to abate. The consumer climate for January is more gloomy than it has been for six months, the Nuremberg-based GfK market researchers found in their survey of 2000 participants published on Tuesday. The barometer fell by 0.5 to minus 7.3 points. Economists polled by Reuters had, however, expected a stronger decline to minus 8.8 points.

“With the hard lockdown and the closing of most stores, the consumer climate has to cope with another setback,” said GfK expert Rolf Bürkl. Economic expectations and the willingness to make larger purchases have increased, but consumers are expecting income to be cut.

The latter could be due to the fact that many retail stores had to be closed, which should lead to noticeably more short-time working in the coming weeks. “This leads to a loss of income for the employees concerned,” it said. In addition, it is to be feared that even more companies could be at risk of bankruptcy. “This increases the fear of job loss and has a negative impact on income prospects.”

The researchers do not expect a rapid turnaround. “It is to be feared that the consumer climate will face a very difficult phase in the coming weeks,” said Bürkl. “There can only be relaxation or recovery when the number of infections has fallen so far that the tough restrictions can be relaxed again.”

Gastronomy, leisure and cultural facilities as well as most shops will be closed until at least January 10th. With the prospect of the early use of a vaccine against corona in Germany, there is hope that private consumption could receive fresh impetus. However, it will probably take months before a large part of the population is effectively protected from the virus.