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Do they buy or don't they buy? Passers-by in a pedestrian zone in Dresden

Photo: Sebastian Kahnert / dpa

Saving, that's actually considered something positive. Anyone who, as a child, once brought their pocket money to the savings bank on "World Savings Day" was praised and sometimes received a small gift. In terms of the economy as a whole, however, saving can also be rather bad, at least at certain points in time. This is also the current situation: the engine of the economy is sputtering, and companies could be helped if citizens were to spend more – but they are holding their money together a little more strongly again.

The propensity to buy is increasing minimally and expectations regarding income have also stabilized, according to the latest consumer climate study by the Nuremberg-based consumer research company GfK, which was published on Wednesday. "However, a significant increase in the propensity to save is causing the consumer climate to decline again," GfK announced in Nuremberg. The propensity to save has reached its highest level since April 2011.

Slightly more unemployed

"As a result, the chances of a recovery in consumer sentiment are likely to have fallen to zero before the end of this year," said GfK consumer expert Rolf Bürkl. He blames this primarily on the persistently high inflation rate. Food and energy prices have risen sharply. "As a result, private consumption will not make a positive contribution to overall economic development this year," Bürkl emphasized. Experts expect a slight recession. For a significant improvement in domestic demand, it is absolutely necessary that the inflation rate of the current 6.1 percent be brought back to a tolerable level.

The desire to buy, although slightly increased, has remained at a very low level for a year now. In the budgets of private households, there is hardly any room for larger purchases. In addition, there are concerns about job losses and insolvencies. The labour market experts assume that the number of unemployed this year will be on average 150,000 to 190,000 higher than last year.

The monthly GfK survey is part of the "GfK Consumer Climate Maxx" study commissioned by the EU Commission. In the period between August 31 and September 11, 2023, around 2000 consumers in Germany were surveyed.