The demographic developments in Germany and their effects on consumer behaviour

Term Paper, 2012

14 Pages, Grade: 2,0


Index of contents

1. Introduction

2. The demographic developments in Germany
2.1 Development of the population
2.1.1 Fertility
2.1.2 Mortality.
2.1.3 Migration
2.2 Declining population
2.3 Different age structures
2.4 Development of the private households

3. Effects on the consumer behaviour
3.1 Lifestyle and self-perception of the generation 50+
3.2 Buying power and consumption structure

4. Conclusion and outlook

Reference list

1. Introduction

Our society is in the change. A decline in the birthrate, ageing and a shrinking population have moved during the last years rightly in the centre of the public discussion and shift the demographic frame in a not known way up to now. The demographic change is a sign of this time and will exercise a big influence on the social development.

Demographic developments can lead to the fact, that market relations as well as the size and the growth of markets change substantially by what new markets and new sales opportunities can originate from (cf. Kuß/ Tomczak, 2004, p.76f). Because the demographically conditioned changes of the markets slowly take place, it is already today important for enterprises to explore the needs and preferences of the older customer group. Previous to the background of the demographic change, the good and service offer just as internal processes of development and not least the communication with the customer must be considered. This is the only way enterprises can early position themselves to work on this already growing and in future gigantic market (cf. Heitzer-Priem/ Hertling/ Ratazzi-Förster, 2011, p.13).

Market research can help the decision maker to recognize trend statements (forecasts), timely market changes and consumer trends and to act accordingly (cf. Steinmetz/ Weis, 2008, p.18). Especially marketing research at the macroscopic level provides the informational base for marketing strategies and for the strategically early detection (cf. Baumgarth, Benecker, 1999, p.5). In this work, especially the area „socio-cultural environment“ (e.g. value change, demographic population development as for example the ageing of the society or the increase of the single households in Germany) should be examined. The demographic developments and their influence on the consumer behavior is the topic of this work. In addition, the first part of this Assignment deals with the topical and future demographic developments in Germany. Subsequent to that, their effects on the consumer's behavior should be shown closer. Since more exact forecasts cannot be made with regard to the migration and immigration because of the strong variations at the moment, this work limits itself primarily to the present and future consumer behavior of the „about 50 year-old“ group. The aim of this work should be, to give an overview about the demographic development in Germany and some concrete effects on the consumer behavior by means of forecasts.

2. The demographic developments in Germany

In the following it should be looked closer into the present and future demographic developments in Germany. The base of the analyses to the effects of the demographic change is the “12. koordinierte Bevölkerungsvorausberechnung der statistischen Ämter“ (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011, p.6). It comprises a total of twelve variants and three model calculations. The version used here marks the lower limit of the "average" population growth, which would result in the continuation of the currently observed trends in the evolution of fertility and life expectancy (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011, p.6). The shown development for Germany will be different in single federal states. Both, the fertility and mortality levels in the states differ from each other (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011, p.8). For simplicity and not to spread the scope of the present work, the focus will be on the general trend in Germany.

2.1 Development of the population

The age structure of a society is largely determined by three criteria: fertility, mortality and migration. Besides, especially in Germany, other factors such as the declining population, the changes in the age structure and the development of private households are playing a crucial role.

2.1.1 Fertility

Since the German unification, the number of newborns in Germany fell from 830.000 (1991) to 683.000 (2008) by 18% (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011, p.10). A continuing decline is expected in the coming decades: Referring to the assumptions the expected number of births will decline by 15% to 580.000 births until the year 2030 (cf. ibid.).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: Live births in Germany (cf. ibid.)

This development is the result of a long time already existing low level of birth: The birth rate is well over four decades below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman (cf. ibid.). The average number of children per woman in Germany was 1.38 children in 2008 (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011, p.11). As long as this remains, each successive generation of mothers becomes smaller than the previous one.

Further it is expected that the average age at which women get a child will rise about 1.6 years up to the year 2020 and remain afterwards steady (cf. ibid.). Till 2030 the number of the newborn children will decrease in all federal states. The absolute decline amounts according to the advance calculation in comparison to 2008 in the old surface states about 55.000 and in the new states about 37.000. (cf. ibid.)

2.1.2 Mortality

The number of deaths (mortality) represents the opposition of the natural population balance. The number of deaths has decreased in Germany till 2001 almost continuously and

stagnates since then with about 820.000 to 850.000 per year (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011, p.12). Besides, the life expectancy in Germany continuously increases. This increase has contributed to the decrease of the annual deaths in Germany from 1991 to 2001 about approx. 80.000 people (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011, p.13). An increase of the life expectancy is also calculated further. However, by the rise of ageing in the future, it is to be calculated an increase of the deaths. There are different influences, which are responsible for this development: The number of deaths depends on the one hand on the life expectancy of the population, which goes hand in hand with the health state, the life-style of the population and the level of the medical care (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011, p.12). On the other side, the age construction of the population influences the number of the deaths (cf. ibid.). The current stagnation and the expected increase of the deaths do not mean a rise of the mortality, on account of the deterioration of the medical care or the spreading of illnesses. The cause for this lies rather in the changed age distribution of the population. Besides, the relatively strong occupied age group from the end of the 1930s will reach a very high age during the next years. Even today every second dead is 80 years or older (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011, p.13). On account of this development the number of the deaths will rise up until 2030, probably on approx. one million (cf. ibid.). In the year 2030 compared to 2008 it is expected, that there will be almost 150.000 more deaths (+17%) than in 2008 (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011, p.15).

The decreasing birth rate and the increasing death rate will become one further increase of the natal deficit in Germany and in all federal states. The natal deficit for Germany will increase probably till 2030 by 150% on 410000 (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011, p.15).

2.1.3 Migration

The balance of immigration and emigration changes the population continuance. For

Germany taken as a whole only the wandering about the borders of Germany

– the so-called outside wandering – is relevant (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011, p.17). Since 1991 the whole wandering balance in Germany was, with some single exceptions, permanent positive and moved in different periods between 129,000 people and 354,000 people per year. (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011, p.18). At short notice the full generosity, applying from 2011, might affect all employees from the states which have joined the EU in 2004. Therefore, it is assumed that there will be a gradual rise of the balance of immigration and emigration (cf. ibid.). In the first acceptance the annual wandering balance rises up to the year 2014 on 100,000 people and pauses at this level. In the second acceptance there will be an increase of the annual wandering balance of 200,000 people up to the year 2020 (cf. ibid.). These values are to be interpreted – as usual, with the wandering acceptances – only as long-standing averages; the actual wanderings will be liable to all probability by strong variations (cf. ibid.).

2.2 Declining population

After a growth in population in the years from 1990 to 2002, a light decline in population followed: Since 2003 the natal deficit can’t be compensated any longer by immigration. Because the natal deficit in future will continuously rise, the population, if it does not come to a higher outside wandering balance, will further decrease: until the year 2030 probably on 77.4 millions (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011, p.21).

2.3 Different age structures

The present distribution of the population of Germany shows great irregularities so that the age distribution can be seen as the dominant factor of the population development in the next decades. The light blue point of the age tree beneath, shows the population at the age of 65 years and older. In 2008 the group of the population at the age of 65 years and older made 16.7 million people and represented 20% of the whole population (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011, p.23). Typically for this age group are clearly more women than men.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 2: Age structure of the population in Germany in thousand / in % of the total population (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011, p.24)

The age group of the 20 to 65-year-old is seen as the population at the acquisition age, represented with 49.7 million people 61% of the population in 2008. The “natal-strong years” belong to this group, with currently 40 years and older. In the following years this group will be conductive to the gradual ageing of the population at the acquisition age and the whole population (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011, p.23). The age group under 20 years is mostly influenced with lasting effect from the decline in the birthrate of the last decades. Even in 2008 this group was already, with 15.6 million (19% of the population), under the number of the 65-year-old and older people (cf. ibid.). In future this distance will clearly grow, so that the age group among the 20-year-old will decrease: In 2030 it will cover, according to the advance calculations, 12.9 million people what corresponds to 17% of the whole population (cf. ibid.). Until 2030 the age group between 20 and 65 years will decrease about 7.5 million people. Only the group of the 65-year-old and older people becomes more and more numerous. Up to 2030 the number might rise by one third (33%) and will amount to 22.3 million people or 29% of the whole population (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011, p.24).


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The demographic developments in Germany and their effects on consumer behaviour
AKAD University of Applied Sciences Leipzig
Market Research
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Steffen Plutz (Author), 2012, The demographic developments in Germany and their effects on consumer behaviour, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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