Department stores still very popular for shopping

July 2009

Department stores are an integral part of the inner city landscape for Germany and many other European countries. A third of consumers in Germany estimate that they visit a department store at least once a month. In towns with more than 100,000 inhabitants, almost half visit a department store at least once a month. Almost 40% of German consumers feel it would be a loss if there were no longer any departments stores in their towns, almost a third are indifferent and a quarter would go shopping elsewhere. Particularly in the locations with over 100,000 inhabitants, more than half would miss department stores as a shopping option.

Stores such as Karstadt and Kaufhof are visited at least once a month more often in Western than Eastern Germany (36% vs. 22%). Women (36%) shop in them far more than men (26%). A regular visit to a department store is especially popular with consumers in the higher social classes, at 42% and consumers who are still in full time education.

Only 40% of Western German consumers would miss department stores, if they ceased to exist. Almost 40% of Eastern German consumers would be indifferent. 38% of the men surveyed would also be indifferent if there were no more department stores, while almost half of female consumers (45%) would view the disappearance of department stores as a great loss. While half of consumers in the higher social classes would complain of a disappearance, only just over one third of those in full time education would do so. 

Overall, department stores are most popular with female consumers in the higher social classes in medium and large towns: 37% visit them several times a month to shop and 70% would miss them greatly if they were not there.


In June 2009, GfK Marktforschung surveyed 1,967 consumers in Germany for the GfK Association (GfK Verein). It is representative of 64.8 million consumers aged 14 and upwards in Germany.