Trends in focus

Trends in focus

Our Special Topics have been a permanent fixture of the METRO Retail Compendium ever since the 2004/2005 edition. All the latest developments from the retail industry are detailed in comprehensive dossiers using facts, figures and examples. Here’s a brief look at just some of the Special Topics we’ve covered in the past.

Trends in focus


Demographic change, the long-term shifts in population structures, has become a central issue in politics and the economy alike. The average age of the population in most developed countries continues to rise while birth rates fall, resulting in declining populations in many areas. In Germany, for example, the population will be around only 70 million by 2060, a decline of twelve million on today’s levels. The working population is also decreasing. This will not only have significant consequences for pension and social security systems, but also for the employment market. There is already tough competition for the brightest prospects and skilled labourers in many countries, including Germany: according to the Federal Statistical Office, the working population will fall by 27 percent by 2060.

Consequences for the job market

Many companies are therefore already taking demographic change into consideration in their personnel policies. Advanced training programmes and measures to promote workplace health make a contribution towards committing employees for the long term. International applicants are coming more and more to the fore in the recruitment process, particularly as the number of highly qualified applicants from countries such as China and India continues to increase every year.

Retail brands

Brands have a huge influence on financial success. That’s what nine out of ten German companies believe, according to a joint study conducted by consulting firm PwC, the university of Hamburg, consumer research company GFK and the German Brands Association. Around 80 percent of those surveyed also stated that brands were of vital significance in terms of the value of a company. The key factors for a brand were said to be its profile, its image and customer loyalty.

Exclusivity through own brands

The ability of brands to foster customer loyalty also makes them interesting for retailers. As a result, companies are manufacturing products themselves on an increasing basis so that they can market them under their own private label and – in comparison with the respective manufacturer brands – at a lower price. Examples of this are “real,- QUALITY” from Real, “ja!” from Rewe, “Tesco Everyday Value” from Tesco and “HORECA Select” from METRO Cash & Carry.

Retail companies benefit from the higher margins that can be generated. As retailers are able to influence the products, the associated costs and the manufacturing process, the relationship between the purchase price and sales is more profitable for them than with manufacturer brands, and the profit margin is therefore higher. Another advantage is that products are only available from the respective retailers, allowing retailers to clearly differentiate themselves from other competitors and provide an attractive, low-cost range of products.