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The Covid Effect in Germany

Generation Media’s Country Manager Anja Schuh offers the inside line on how the pandemic in Germany has affected the people, toy market and kids media usage.


Similar to the majority of countries across the globe, the pandemic has ground Germany to a halt.  With a population of 83 million, Germany has had 2.45 million infections and there are 70,000 people currently suffering with Covid.

Germany is a Federal State with each of the 16 states in charge of their own schools, healthcare and trade.  As with the UK, this lockdown (the 2nd for Germany) has seen the closure of restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sporting facilities and hairdressers across the board since November 2020 to the time of writing.  Non essential shops, including toy shops are also closed with only ‘essential shops’ such as supermarkets, petrol stations and pharmacies open.

There is, however, an end in sight.  Primary and Kindergarden schools reopened in March for the first time since November (they were previously closed except for children who require emergency care).  Last week also saw Hairdressers reopen in another easing of lockdown (for which I was personally first in the queue!)

Wearing a mask in public is now a legal requirement.  We have to wear medical masks in public places and even outside where we can not maintain a 1.5 meter distance.  In terms of mixing, at the moment one household can meet with a maximum of one person.  We are behind the UK in terms of vaccination rollout and this process is proving very slow currently.

Where has the pandemic left the Toys and Games Market?  The German Toy Market is the sixth largest in the world and grew by 9% in 2020.  The two lockdowns in Germany had a major impact on trading channels for toys.  Online checkout and Hypermarkets grew exponentially, while dedicated Toy Shops lost out considerably with prolonged closures altering the consumer path to purchase.  Lockdown has also affected the experience of shopping in Germany as people are dropping into buy and leaving stores rapidly.  This decreased browsing time has had far reaching effects on certain categories of the Toys and Games Market such as collectibles.  The pandemic hasn’t been bad news for all categories, increased family time spent inside the home has led to a growth in demand for games, puzzles, arts and crafts and outdoor toys.  However, collectibles have suffered again here as toys with high play value have taken precedence.  Plush has also experienced decline as a result of this.  Christmas buying patterns changed last year as present buying took place earlier due to concerns with product availability.  A trend to watch as it is likely to seep into 2021.

Media Usage for German children has increased significantly during the Pandemic. Streaming platforms have triumphed with kids using streaming services 57% more during this current lockdown, the launch of Disney+ during the first lockdown in March ensured they were huge winners in this.  Computer games and Apps are also up 59% and social media usage was up 57% in lockdown 1 and 46% in lockdown 2, whilst YouTube saw a 50% increase in lockdown 1 versus a further growth of 57%  in lockdown 2.  Linear TV in Germany has also seen year on year escalation for both lockdowns with a 37% rise in lockdown 1 and a 25% increase in lockdown 2.

Keeping ahead of current media consumption and planning for an evolving path to purchase is key for 2021.  To discuss more about the German market, please get in touch for a virtual coffee


Written By: Anja Schuh, Interim Country Manager, Germany