Market research company GfK has released the results of its latest study on consumer behaviour in Germany during a press conference held in Frankfurt. It is based on a representative survey of 4143 people aged between 14 - 74 years and was performed from the 24 October - 8 November 2013.

Rolf Bürkl, GfK, consumption expert, explains that consumer sentiment is more optimistic in November 2013 compared to the previous month. The economic and income expectations record significant increases, while the purchasing propensity climbs to a seven-year high. The total indicator is forecasting 7.4 points for December, following a revised 7.1 points in November. This is the highest value in six years.

Dr. Wolfgang Adlwarth, trade expert, GfK, went on to discuss the upcoming Christmas sales. As the study shows 90% of the Germans are willing to give presents to their family and friends. On average they will spend 288 Euros, which is 1% more than last year. For the trade that means an expected additional sales volume of around 15.2 billion Euros in the Christmas season, an increase of 2%.

This year, books will be the number one gift, accounting for 42%. Second place are toys with 34%, and third is clothing and accessories with 33%. More than a third of Germans plan to give away clothing and accessories. Thus the trade can expect a turnover of 1.86 billion Euros. However, this is 9 million less than in 2012. On average, consumers are willing to spend 90 Euros for clothing and accessories.

Cosmetics and perfume and popular gifts like cash (approx. 221 Euros) and vouchers (approx. 96 EUR) where the recipients can choose the gift themselves are ranked 4,5 and 6th. 14% of vouchers are for restaurant meals and travel and 13% are for clothing and accessories. Smartphones will also account for many gifts, with 242 Euros on average being spent, double compared to last year.

Because many people buy part of their gifts online, online shops will also benefit this year from Christmas. 49% of the Germans plan at least one purchase online, down on last year. Nevertheless the online trading during the Christmas season is stronger than in the other months. Last year, a fifth of people bought at least one Christmas present online. In the months of January - October 2012, it was only one in six.

In the end Matthias Hartmann, chairman of the GfK SE, came to a conclusion concerning consumer sentiments in Germany in 2013. Generally Germany, the UK and France are creating economic growth, with a GDP growth of 0.9% for Germany and the UK and 0.5% for France. Italy and Spain are also on a positive track. The economic expectations have been improved in nearly all countries during 2013. The income expectation of German consumers is sustainably supported by the positive labour market. Due to this the purchasing power is at record level. As with the previous year, Germans are by far the biggest consumption optimists in Europe.