Mapping Germany’s consumer wealth: Affluent senior citizens in the North, prosperous young professionals in the South

Germany’s largest share of purchasing power lies in the hands of 30 to 60 year olds. With an average of €26,798 per person per year, the 40 to 49 year olds possess the country’s highest purchasing power. The recent GfK purchasing power study for age groups demonstrates that those younger than 30 or older than 60 have distinctively lower purchasing power levels than members of the nation’s other age ranges.

Germany’s stark regional variations in purchasing power levels are mirrored by significant differences in disposable income among the country’s age groups. With a combined purchasing power of 368 billion euros, the 40 to 49 year olds lead the pack, followed by the 65 and older who have 339 billion euros at their disposal. Thirty to thirty-nine year olds enjoy a purchasing power of 289 billion euros, while 50 to 59 year olds post a combined figure of 272 billion euros.

GfK Purchasing Power Based on Age Group – Germany 2008

per inhabitant per year, in €

15 – 19 year olds
3,806
20 – 29 year olds
15,175
30 – 39 year olds
25,823
40 – 49 year olds
26,798
50 – 59 year olds
25,167
60 – 64 year olds
24,903
65 and older
20,819

The west-east divide
A comparison between western and eastern Germany reveals that the difference in disposable income levels among young working professionals from 20 to 29 years old is smallest when compared to other age ranges. This age group enjoys an average purchasing power of €15,910 per person per year in western Germany, while its counterpart in eastern Germany has €12,573 available for spending. Berlin forms an exception, however. Thanks to the large number of universities, academies and other educational institutions, an above-average number of individuals in the 20-29 year-old age group reside there. The working members of this group tend not to have a high level of income, though. As a result, the purchasing power of the “internship generation” in Berlin lies at €10,675, a figure significantly below the western average.

The greatest differences between eastern and western purchasing power levels exist among 50 to 59 year-olds. Their average purchasing power (per person per year) in Germany’s western states lies at €26,865 compared to only €19,121 in the eastern states. Berlin once again forms an exception to the rule. The German capital’s 50 to 59 year olds have a purchasing power of €22,267, a figure well in excess of the eastern German average. This gap between Berlin and the rest of eastern Germany is even more apparent in the 60 and older age group.

Hamburg top of the list for senior citizens
Hamburg places first in the 60 and older generation, significantly outpacing this age group’s purchasing power in the otherwise dominant Munich area. Although Bavaria boasts the country’s highest purchasing power among 20 to 29 year olds, it only places fifth among 60 to 64 year olds, and eighth among those 65 and older.

A comparison of the country’s largest metropolises of the North and South – Hamburg and Munich, respectively – reveals the extent of these regional monetary disparities between the age groups: Munich’s approximately 200,000 citizens between 20 and 29 have 4.3 billion euros at their disposal, while the 250,000 Hamburgers in the same age range have around one billion euros less. It’s only in the 65 and older category that Hamburg residents substantially outpace their Munich counterparts: Hamburg-based senior citizens have an average purchasing power level of €26,471 per person per year – €2,000 euros more per person than is available to similarly aged residents of Munich.

Soaring purchasing power in the South
The 65 and older generation is the only age group for which Hamburg boasts a purchasing power level that exceeds that of the country’s southern regions. The Bavaria n counties and greater metropolitan areas of Starnberg, Munich and Ebersberg – as well as the Hessian counties of Main-Taunus and Hochtaunus – rank in the top 20 in every age group, while Hamburg can only claim this distinction for the 65 and older age group.

About the study
GfK’s annual purchasing power study specifies not only the regional distribution of income levels, but also these regions’ age-specific purchasing power characteristics. Purchasing power is a measure of per capita disposable income (including any received state benefits) after the deduction of taxes. The study indicates per person per year purchasing power levels in euros and as an index value (German average = 100). The study draws on statistics on income and tax levels, government benefits and forecasts by economic institutes.

The GfK purchasing power study does not take into account regional cost-of-living variations. Provided purchasing power values do not reflect recurring monthly deductions from disposable income such as rent, mortgage payments and contributions to private retirement funds and insurance policies.

Companies use purchasing power data in addition to other region-specific market data as part of a geomarketing approach to enhanced target group identification, location planning and sales territory optimization.

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About GfK GeoMarketing
GfK GeoMarketing is one of Europe’s largest providers of geomarketing solutions for customers from all branches of trade. Its services include:

  • Consultancy
  • Market data
  • Digital maps
  • Geomarketing software (RegioGraph and DISTRICT)
The company is a subsidiary of the international GfK network. Ranked among the world’s top 5 market research organizations, the GfK Group consists of 115 subsidiaries and approx. 9,000 employees, with operations in 100 countries.

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