Free Apps are short-lived

It seems as if modern (commercial) life without Apps is simply impossible. But is it worth to invest all the effort and the money for just one or two days of use? Could it possibly be that traditional marketing activities are therefore still favoured by many marketing managers?

The German trade magazine handelsjournal reports that German trading companies spent some 2.2bn Euros on marketing activities in 2011, which equals roughly 3.5 % of the total turnover. The biggest share in the marketing budgets (62 %) was allotted to flyers, catalogues and advertisements, which reflects an increase by 4 % as compared to the previous year. Especially flyers have become very popular, because they are an excellent tool for drawing the potential customers’ attention to bargains or seasonal special offers. More popular than flyers was just online-marketing with an increase in expenditures of 113 %. However, that does not yet seem to be the end of the line. A further rise by 10 %  is expected for 2012, mainly due to increased social media marketing activities. So far, for merely one per cent of the trading companies mobile marketing, e. g. Apps or smart phone compatible websites, is of any strategic marketing relevance. However, three out of four traders are planning to do mobile marketing, too, as it is seen as a reliable tool for customer retention and a strong bridge between the customer and the point of sale. A recent study carried out by the US media analyst Pinch Media reveals though that only 5 % of all free Apps will still be used one month after download. After three months the rate goes further down to almost nil. Pinch Media have surveyed over 30m free APPs and were very surprised that as many as 80 % of all iPhone users stop using a free App on the day following its download.

Further information:

One language – different markets

The situation for DIY-markets in the German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) is hallmarked by individual impacts. While turnovers in Germany and Austria grew, Swiss DIY-markets had to suffer from the rainy summer and the strong Swiss Franc.

Germany: DIY-markets’ garden departments successful

Moderate temperatures in the fourth quarter 2011 showed their positive effects on German DIY-markets’ turnovers. With this growth at the end of the year, the annual closure of the DIY-industry yielded a nominal surplus of 1.5 per cent. Thus, the total gross turnover of the currently 2.442 DIY-markets in Germany summed up to some 18.7bn Euros.

Germans favour DIY-markets also for shopping flowers and plants for their gardens, garden furniture and barbecue equipment for the next BBQ-party. In 2011, the garden departments in the DIY-markets generated a turnover of 4.1bn Euros, which equals an increase by two per cent compared with the previous year.

Austria: Positive consumption climate

“Don’t save, buy quality” seems to be the name of the game for Austrian consumers. This had a positive effect on Austrian DIY-markets, too. In total, they achieved a gross turnover of 2bn Euros in 2011, which is equivalent to a growth rate of 1.6 per cent. Especially the garden departments cashed in on the warm temperatures in April and May.

According to the current BHB/GfK-Report, this upward-trend will continue for Austrian DIY-markets in 2012. Contrary to business expectations, Austrians are not at all worried about their future income and thus, they do not tend to connect the crisis and the recession with their personal life. However, before money might diminish in value due to inflation, Austrians prefer to invest their money in their homes and gardens.

Switzerland: Strong currency hampers growth

Last year was a difficult one for Swiss DIY-markets. Consumption significantly diminished mainly due to the over-valuation of the Swiss Franc, which resulted in a nominal decrease of the annual turnover of 2.1 per cent.

The pleasant spring-like weather in the first quarter contributed to an unusually early but also very positive start of the season. However, the rain-swept spring and summer caused a severe slump in DIY-markets’ turnovers. Furthermore, due to the Euro-crisis the Swiss Franc was revaluated, which finally led to a price increase for merchandise and services. Thus, the Swiss went abroad shopping in their neighbouring countries.

Experts from the Technical University of Zurich expect a devaluation of the Swiss Franc this year. Depending on its scope, the federal DIY-association BHB reckons that a growth potential of the gross turnover of 1.0 to 1.5 per cent could be achieved in 2012.

More information:


German gardens: Little effort, utmost pleasure

There is no doubt about that: Germans gardeners a something special. Their overriding gardening aim is to get the most pleasure out of the least effort. Furthermore, whatever they do or install in their gardens should be absolutely environmentally friendly. And finally, yet importantly, the German garden must give a beautiful and neat impression.

The green tech industry and renewable energy sector is very dynamic in Germany. No other gardeners in the world are so ambitious when it comes to energy saving and environmental friendliness. Another distinct attitude of German gardeners is the preference for low maintenance gardens. For them, the garden is not a place to work in but to relax. It is all about being smart and as long as it is smarter to be eco-friendly, the German gardener is very willing to contribute. Solar lights, for instance, are not just environmentally friendly, they also save a lot of work. They only need to be stuck into the lawn without having to lay cables. Nevertheless, it is important for Germans that their gardens look beautiful and neat. Colours are therefore vital; and so are flowers. But again, when choosing the flowers for their gardens, German gardeners watch out for low-maintenance plants and prefer species that require little care and live for many years. The Germans’ preference for good results at little effort is also reflected by the vegetables they grow in their gardens or on their balconies. Everyone seems to grow their own tomatoes for they are easy to grow and require little space; and most importantly, they are convinced that their homegrown tomatoes taste so much better than any other tomato from the supermarket.

More Information:


Inchbald School of Design unveils new online short courses

Proving that good things can come in small packages, the prestigious Inchbald School of Design, which has been educating leading figures in the world of design since 1960, has unveiled two new online short courses: Designing your Living Space and Designing your Garden.

Building on the success of their Online MA courses in Architectural Interior Design and Garden Design, these short courses offer part-time, amateur students unprecedented access to Inchbald’s expert teaching via interactive online learning. These certificated e-courses are an extension to the School’s existing portfolio of qualifications, which include MAs, post- and undergraduate diplomas, and certificate courses in Architectural Interior Design, Interior Decoration and Garden Design, as well as short courses in computer-aided design. Particular attention is paid to the marriage between function and aesthetic design with an emphasis placed on the ergonomics and proportions of space as well as the creative use of colour, form and other features both inside and outdoors.

The course requires a time commitment of approximately four hours each week during which times they will receive lively teaching sessions, all of which are lavishly illustrated and include a series of practical projects to develop knowledge and confidence. Commenting on the launch of the new Online Short Courses, Jacqueline Duncan, Principal of the Inchbald School of Design, said: “The Online Short Courses offer a comprehensive introduction, not only to the principles of design, but to the skills for which English houses and gardens have become famous. At Inchbald we are committed to preserving and developing our students’ personal design flair and to informing their knowledge of those decorative details that presently risk dilution through mass manufacture. Thus the time has come to re-appraise our perspectives on design fashion and to review the expertise and attention to detail on which all great designs depend and for which England in particular is renowned.”

The two courses are available exclusively at the Inchbald School of Design. Each course lasts 12 weeks (with four hours’ activity per week) and costs £1,200 incl. VAT. Designing your Garden is available from April 2012; Designing your Living Space is available from September 2012.

For further information:



Barbecuing becomes a year-round trend in Germany

The market for barbecue equipment is booming like no other sector of the German garden market. As recently published in the “IFH Branchenfokus Grillen 2012” (IFH Market Information Barbecue 2012), the sector grew by almost 45 per cent in the past five years.

Germans spend almost 1,1bn Euros on barbecues, barbecue equipment and combustibles. In 2011, this equalled an average spending per capita of 13.17 Euros. Roughly two thirds of the overall turnover is allotted to the grills themselves, while the remaining per cents were almost equally spent on combustibles and barbecue equipment.

Currently the market for barbecue grills and equipment is positively influenced by a number of factors: Being outdoors in the garden is as trendy as cooking and dining together. Apparently, high quality and huge grills become more and more popular in Germany, but the trend for a second grill is also growing.

In the past three years, there was an enormous growth rate especially with gas-grills. In addition, combustibles generated an above average growth. These developments clearly show: Not only the number of barbecue-fans has grown, the frequency of barbecuing has also significantly risen. Evermore, barbecuing becomes a year-round trend.

Although the barbecue market is very complex, the distribution structure shows that there is one dominating sales channel: Most consumers buy their grills and barbecue equipment in DIY-markets and the affiliated garden centres.

Further Information: