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Nov 12 2018

Study: Living in Germany

18.8 million Germans want to remodel their apartments. This is one of the findings of “Wohnen in Deutschland”, a survey on home living commissioned by the Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM). The study by Professor Renate Köcher, Managing Director of the Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Research (IfD) plainly shows that Germany’s furniture market is faced with a changing society. The rise in single-person households and the proportion of older customers is clearly reflected in the choice of furnishings as well as in information-gathering and purchasing behaviour.

Preference for personalised homes

The importance of having one’s own, custom-designed home is considerable. For the overwhelming majority of those surveyed, their own home is the place where they feel comfortable and relaxed as well as being a space into which they can withdraw and enjoy leisure time.

Accordingly, 79 per cent of the population place particular emphasis on their homes being furnished entirely according to their needs and individual taste.

Design before price and origin

Design, workmanship, comfort and functionality take centre stage when choosing furniture. By contrast, price is now less critical than it was a few years ago. Country of origin and brands are currently only of limited importance as purchasing criteria – even though 77 per cent of the population are convinced that there are major differences in furniture quality.

When it comes to taste, there are four main groups in Germany that each favour a specific furnishing style. Of those questioned, 29 per cent said they prefer mobile living, with lightweight and flexible furniture that is easy to adjust and comfortable. 21 per cent would choose furniture and furnishings in a modern classic style, with pieces tending to be understated – giving spaces an uncluttered appearance.

20 per cent – and predominantly older people – want a more conservative feel in their homes, with a good-quality sofa, down-to-earth design and traditional home textiles. A further 14 per cent of the population – and above all younger people – favour functional, modern design and clear forms. 

Furniture retail trade remains most important source of information

Bricks-and-mortar retailers continue to be far and away the most important source of information and inspiration. This is also the case for the younger generation, although the Internet and exchanges with friends and acquaintances also play an above-average role for this group.

A total of 40 per cent of those polled now consider the Internet to be a particularly helpful source of information before a furniture purchase, while amongst the younger generation, this figure rises to 63 per cent.

“When it comes to product presentation, branding or the ‘Made in Germany’ slogan, there is scope for the industry and retail trade to take joint action,” summarises VDM Managing Director Jan Kurth. In view of the fact that the German furniture market is becoming smaller and smaller, these areas of activity are particularly relevant for exports.

With its many trade fairs in the home and interiors sector, such as imm cologne/LivingKitchen scheduled for January 2019, ORGATEC, spoga+gafa, ZOW and interzum, Koelnmesse is here to help.

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