Consumer industries in Germany: healthy and expanding

All sectors of consumer industry in Germany are on the rise. A large population willing to spend, a stable economy, some world-class infrastructure and a climate of innovation make the country an ideal place for investment.

Population size

The German population is 83.2 million; this is 18.6 percent of the EU-27 population.


Germany’s GDP accounts for 25 percent of the EU-27 GDP. With EUR 3,336 billion per year Germany is leading in Europe.

Purchasing power

Germany remains the largest consumer market in Europe – in terms of both population size and total purchasing power of 1,966 billion.

Best ager

Consumers aged 50+ are the largest consumer group with the greatest purchasing power.
Key areas of the German consumer goods market in 2018 in percent:
Turnover in EUR millions per market in 2018:

Main industry

Food and beverages is the fourth largest industry sector in Germany.

Market structure

The industry boasts an SME sector of nearly 6,000 companies.

Generated sales

The German food and beverage sector generated sales of EUR 185 billion in 2020.

Industry leader

Germany is Europe’s biggest food producer and the third largest exporter of food and beverages worldwide.

Travel and leisure is a booming consumer industry in Germany. In 2016, Germans spent EUR 144 billion on leisure, and the German hotel and accommodation industry reported 447 million overnight stays, up 2.5 percent from the previous year. Germans also love to travel outside the country – they spent EUR 73.2 billion in 2016 on trips abroad.


Reliable markets and new horizons

Sales in the German franchising industry grew 4.6 percent in 2020, reaching an all-time high of EUR 135 billion. A growing number of new franchising opportunities in Germany come from overseas. This strong, growing market is fertile ground for investors offering consumer goods.
The German franchising industry by sector in 2017 in percent:
In the food and beverage industry, Germany is a standout in the subsector of bread and bakery products. A healthy market presents opportunities for retailers.

Eager consumers

Sales of organic food products grew by 22 percent in 2020 to reach EUR 14.9 billion.

Industrial production

Germany had EUR 17 billion in sales of industrial bakery products in the same year.

Retail sales

Food retail sales in the bread and baked goods area exceeded EUR 2.5 billion.

Sweet goods

The German biscuit market value was EUR 2.1 billion in 2017.

84 percent of Germany’s population are online on a regular basis (68 million people), making Germany responsible for around one quarter of all European B2C e-commerce turnover. In fact, the Verband der deutschen Internetwirtschaft (Association of the German Internet Industry) has predicted turnover to surpass EUR 100 billion by 2020.


German consumers are increasingly eco-conscious, giving companies that invest in sustainability a market advantage. According to the 2015 VuMA (consumer and media analysis) poll, 26.6 million Germans are somewhat willing to pay higher prices for eco-friendly products, 23.6 million are mostly willing to pay a premium and 6 million are fully willing.

Public and private support for new technologies

R&D and innovation spending in the German food and beverage industry was expected to reach EUR 1.7 billion in 2018, an increase of six percent over 2017. A large number of universities and research institutes collaborate to aid companies in the industry in innovative research, development, and bringing new products to market.

Solid structure, a focus on service

Germany’s unparalleled infrastructure and logistics, along with its central location in Europe, make it a great location for investment, as well as a connecting point with other western and eastern markets.


Germany offers a discerning consumer public with spending power and a growing e-commerce sector – a hotbed for innovation and a solid bet for investment.