Germany Ethical Retailing Market Report 2022
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Germans want to shop responsibly and ethically, but as they have tighter budgets due to the cost-of-living crisis, resales offer retailers new opportunities. Carolin Jaretzke, Associate Director, Retail, Automotive,…

Germany Ethical Retailing Market Report 2022

£ 2,195 (Excl.Tax)


The Germany Ethical Retailing Market Report 2022 identifies consumers’ attitudes towards ethical retailing of food and fashion, younger consumers’ opinions on ethical retail, and the impact of the Ukraine conflict and inflation on the German ethical retail market. This report covers the ethical retail market size, market forecast, market segmentation and industry trends for the Ethical Retail Market in Germany.

Ethical Food Retailing in Germany

Mintel’s ethical retailing report shows that Germans are looking for ways to food shop more ethically, using ethical certificates as a guideline. Organic and Fairtrade are well established brands in the German ethical retail market, meanwhile, certificates less known to the German ethical consumer, like the Leaping Bunny, have potential to grow beyond the beauty category, and are well placed to gain some ethical retail market size in German sustainable food retailing.

Despite Germans willingness to be more sustainable, the Ukraine conflict slightly dampens that endeavour, impacting ethical food retailing in Germany. With restricted budgets, consumers have to make more conscious purchasing decisions. Therefore, if they want to hold on to their place among ethical retailers, brands need to communicate in an authentic way about the added value of sustainable food retailing despite higher prices that are attached to their goods.

Sustainable Fashion Retail in Germany

The cost-of-living crisis will challenge ethical fashion retailing in Germany, considering that ethically sourced and sustainable products are more expensive. The ethical retailing industry Germany is the biggest one in Europe, but uncertain economic circumstances, cause ethical retailers and brands to struggle and might see private label manufacturers file for bankruptcy.

Sustainable clothing retailing brands should consider creating resale platforms to reach financially struggling German ethical consumers, targeting their sweet spot between saving money and acting sustainably. Repair and reuse will also appeal to price-sensitive consumers as they can reduce the need for re-spend to replace.

  • Ethical Food Retailing Market Challenges: Sustainable fashion retailing as well as sustainable food retailing is branded by higher prices. 34% of Germans say that the price of ethical food and drink is a purchase barrier.
  • Sustainable Food Retailing Market Opportunities: A total of 44% of Germans think it is more important to prevent food waste than to reduce packaging, thus presenting opportunities to brands and organisations to start initiatives for less food waste.
  • Ethical Retailing Consumer Behaviour: The majority of Germans (76%) agree that they try to act in a way that is not harmful to the environment.
  • Ethical Retail Trends: 42% of consumers define an ethical brand by the sustainable packaging options it offers.

Market Outlook & Opportunities for the German Ethical Retail Market

Once the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis have eased their grip on the German ethical consumer, sustainable shopping will come back into focus. The discussion around climate change will also intensify. With younger consumers longing for more diverse communication, ethical retailers need to address those changing behaviours, e.g. with ad campaigns around diversity or yearly updates, and reports about their Co2 objectives.

Ethical retailers should also start exploring opportunities/certificates that are less known to the German ethical consumer. For example, Gen Z are pushing for more promotions on diversity and companies’ carbon footprint; ethical retailers across all industries (e.g. sustainable food retailing, sustainable fashion retailing, and ethical BPC retailing) could respond to that by taking action to support those newer values and communicate about what they are doing for the planet’s health.

To discover more about ethical retailing in Germany, read our Germany Ethical Lifestyles Market Report 2021, or take a look at our extensive German Retail Market Research.  

Quickly Understand

  • The impact of the cost-of-living crisis on German consumers’ attitudes towards ethical retailers and on sustainable shopping.
  • What defines ethical retailers in German consumers’ minds?
  • Awareness and purchase of products with ethical certifications.
  • Sustainable consumers’ behaviours in the last 12 months.
  • How can ethical retailers encourage people to shop with them, and how can they communicate transparently?
  • Consumers’ interest in innovations related to sustainable shopping.

Covered in this Report

Products: Food (meat, poultry, eggs, milk), drink, clothing (including second-hand), footwear, furniture, DIY tools, technology (phones, laptops), BPC, and more.

Brands: Zalando, MediaMarkt, Foodforecast, Parasta Pirkanmaalta, Netto, REWE, FIFA, Aldi, IKEA, PETA, Unverpackt für Alle, Asda, Beauty Kitchen, Ecken und Kanten, YouTube, Lush, Alnatura, Kaufland, ecoterra, Hello Fresh, Picnic, Rimmel, Lidl, Edeka, AWO, and many more.

Expert Analysis from a Specialist in Ethical Retailing & Sustainable Shopping

This report, written by Carolin Jaretzke, a leading analyst in the Retail sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends in sustainable food retailing, sustainable fashion retailing, and across other retail industries in Germany, and adds expert context to the numbers.

Germans want to shop responsibly and ethically, but as they have tighter budgets due to the cost-of-living crisis, resales offer retailers new opportunities.

Carolin Jaretzke
Carolin Jaretzke
Associate Director – Retail, Automotive, Finance & Insurance, Germany

Table of Contents

  1. Executive summary

    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • Market context
    • Graph 1: top factors that best define an ethical brand/retailer for consumers, 2022
    • Mintel predicts
    • Opportunities
    • Graph 2: repair, rented and second hand related activities, 2022
    • Graph 3: consumers who spent more on better quality items in the last 12 months, by financial situation, 2022
  2. market drivers

    • The German economy
    • Graph 4: key economic data, in real terms, 2019-23
    • Impact of the economy on ethical consumption
    • Graph 5: expected changes in behaviour due to rising consumer prices, 2022
    • Sustainability and environmental concerns
    • Graph 6: food/drink, BPC and household product launches, by top three natural/ethical claims, 2018-22
    • Welfare for humans and animals
    • Graph 7: consumer agreement that promoting fair treatment of workers defines an ethical retailer/brand, by age, 2022
    • Graph 8: consumer agreement that offering cruelty-free products defines an ethical retailer/brand, by age, 2022
    • Transparency is key
    • Embracing diversity internally and externally
  3. What consumers want and why

    • Factors that define an ethical brand/retailer
    • Graph 9: meat, egg and dairy launches with an ethical – animal claim, 2018 and 2022
    • Graph 10: consumer agreement that supporting charities and diversity defines an ethical retailer/brand, by age, 2022
    • Graph 11: consumer agreement that supporting welfare initiatives defines an ethical retailer/brand, by age, 2022
    • Graph 12: consumers who agree that sustainable packaging options best define an ethical retailer/brand, 2022
    • Awareness and purchase of products with select ethical certifications
    • Graph 13: awareness and purchase of products with select ethical certifications, 2022
    • Graph 14: food and drink product launches with select ethical/environmental claims, 2018-22
    • Graph 15: repertoire of ethical product certificates bought, by age, 2022
    • Graph 16: consumers that have bought products with an organic certificate, by financial situation, 2022
    • Graph 17: development of prices between organic and non-organic food/drink products, 2017-22
    • Graph 18: ethical certifications* that consumers have bought products with in the last 12 month, by financial situation, 2022
    • Graph 19: consumers cutting back on the amount they buy, 2022
    • Graph 20: private label vs branded food/drink, BPC and household product NPD with ethical & environmental claims, 2018-22
    • Ethical shopping behaviours
    • Graph 21: consumer behaviours in relation to upcycling or buying second hand, by presence of children in household, 2022
    • Graph 22: interest in rental services for toys, by age of children, 2022
    • Graph 23: interest in food-related ethical retailing innovations, 2022
    • Reasons for buying from an ethical retailer/brand
    • Graph 24: consumers who would be encouraged to buy from a retailer that sources/makes products locally, by age, 2022

    • Retail innovation
    • Advertising and marketing activity
  5. Appendix

    • Appendix – products covered, abbreviations and consumer research methodology and language usage

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.

The consumer

What They Want. Why They Want It.

The Competitors

Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

The Market

Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

The Innovations

New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

The Opportunities

Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

The Trends

What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

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Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted. Our reports are available to download in PDF and PPT formats.

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