Consumer behaviorIncreasing amount of household waste and more online shopping during Corona pandemic

Today, the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) published new figures on household waste for 2020 and online shopping for 2021 in Germany. In the first year of the Corona pandemic 2020, per capita household waste increased by 19 kilograms from 457 to 476 kilograms, mainly due to increased recyclable and organic waste. At the same time, 80 percent of German consumers said they had already ordered goods and services over the Internet at least once in 2021 – especially clothing, shoes, accessories and sporting goods.

The figures on waste stem from the table ‘Generation of household waste’ in the GENESIS Online database (32121). Data on online shopping is based on the 2021 Survey on the Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT Survey) in Private Households, which is comparable across the EU.

These are further details on waste generation:

  • In the first year of the Corona pandemic 2020, the amount of private household waste increased by four percentage points, or by 19 kilograms, to 476 kilograms compared to 2019 – a total of 39.6 million tons of private household waste.
  • Per capita waste for recyclables and biowaste increased the most – by six kilograms each compared to the previous year 2019. Residual and bulky waste increased by four and three kilograms per capita, respectively.
  • For recyclable waste (for example, cardboard and paper, plastic and metal packaging, glass and used clothing), the amount of clothing collected increased most by 61,000 tons (79 percent).

On online shopping:

  • 80 percent of 16- to 74-year-olds said they had already ordered goods and services over the Internet in 2021. The highest proportion of online shoppers, 91 percent, was in the 25- to 44-year-old age group.
  • The 16- to 74-year-old group primarily purchased clothing, shoes, accessories and sporting goods (50 percent) online. Movies and music (31 percent), books and magazines (23 percent), food, beverages and daily necessities (22 percent), and furniture, home accessories and garden items (19 percent) were also purchased online.
  • The restrictions imposed by the Corona pandemic had a particularly strong impact on online purchases in the services sector, with only a few consumers purchasing accommodation (nine percent), tickets for buses, trains or planes (six percent) or tickets for sporting or cultural events (six percent) online.

Source: Destatis

More information on consumer waste & online purchases