According to figures released by the German Association for Consumer Research (GfK), 34.1 million German consumers buy merchandise or services on the Internet (2010). Among the most popular purchases are books, clothes, travel and concert tickets, and cars. Unlike in other European countries where there is a reluctance toward online shopping by seniors, almost half of Germans between the age of 50 and 69 buy merchandise on the Internet.
The Internet also plays a major role when it comes to decision-making among German consumers. Before buying merchandise or services,, they usually consult the web for information and to compare prices. The cheapest bidder is not always the winner; tidiness, easy-return options, sustainability and quality of the product are more important in the decision-making than the price.
German consumers do not necessarily choose German products. The most popular online vendors in Germany are eBay and Amazon, with their international communities. Food and wine, consumer electronics, and even cars are among the most popular imported article.
Corporate Social Responsibility
84% of consumers want to see more ethical behavior. And they hold both the government and brands accountable to deliver; up 34% compared to 2007 for government and up 23% compared to 2007 for corporations. Small correlates to responsible in our respondents minds. 68% said small businesses act more responsible. By stark comparison only 16% thought big business could be responsible, irrespective of sector or origin. National pride and ‘Made in Germany’ continue to gain relevance in the area of CSR. 52% of consumers believe national brands are more responsible, with the exception of the financial services. This is evident by their choice of the Top 5 most responsible brands (all German): Landliebe, DM, Bosch, Audi and Tchibo. By comparison, 37% believe European brands act...