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[DUESSELDORF] German consumers are spending more on big-ticket items like cars and houses to take advantage of low interest rates, rather than splurging in shops and boutiques, Germany's retail association HDE said on Tuesday.
"The retail sector is benefiting little from good consumer sentiment," HDE said in a statement.
With interest rates on savings low, unemployment falling, oil prices sliding and pay rises outpacing inflation, economists say German consumers have finally woken up and are likely to keep on spending through 2015.
But HDE stuck to its forecast for a moderate increase in retail sales by 1.5 per cent to over 466 billion euros (S$675 billion) this year, slowing from a 1.9 per cent rise in 2014.
It said retailers' share of consumer spending had been shrinking for years, contracting by almost 7 per cent to 28.6 per cent between 2000 and 2014.