In 2018, the German economy is estimated to have grown by 1.5% in real terms compared to the previous year (previous year: 2.2%). After gross domestic product (GDP) declined in the third quarter due to fluctuations in the automotive sector and a general slowdown in the global economy, the Institute for Economic Research (ifo) is expecting a slight economic growth again in the fourth quarter, albeit with somewhat less momentum than in previous years.
The economic growth has been mainly driven by the domestic economy and by private consumption, which was benefiting from a strong increase in employment and substantial wage increases. According to Federal Statistical Office retail revenues grew between 1.4 and 1.5% in real terms in 2018; they account for around a third of private consumption. The online and mail order business developed particularly dynamically (January to November +5.9% in real terms). In addition, the German economy was supported by construction as well as equipment investments and government spending.