BHB, the German industry association, has referred to the first half of 2021 as "incalculable" and confirms a significant drop in sales due to the lockdown phase at the start of the year, coupled with perceptible customer uncertainty in the cold early stages of summer. Following an exceptional 2020, the sector is now also competing more strongly again with the usual expenditure categories such as travel, for example. Another contributory factor is the decision by customers to postpone projects originally planned on account of materials shortages and rising prices.
Of 22 assortment categories, 21 remain below last year's levels, with only timber performing slightly better, with growth of 0.6 per cent. The biggest losses (always measured against last year's special situation due to the pandemic) were in the categories of household goods (-32.6 per cent), hardware/security technology (-26.2 per cent) and lifestyle/decorating (-25.6 per cent).
German home improvement stores are expecting the situation to stabilise in the second half of the year, however. The revived trend for beautifying the home will continue, the BHB believes.