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Sectors and Resources

The Sector Research team analyses cyclical and structural developments. On the basis of its findings it draws up business and policy recommendations for the major sectors. These include the important branches of industry as well as wholesale/retail, services, energy, transportation and environmental policy

106 Documents
October 2, 2017
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The German retail sector has visibly lifted its sales forecast for 2017, up from 2% to 3%. The key driver is online retail, along with the currently very consumer-friendly economic environment in Germany, which strengthens consumers‘ purchasing power. The digitisation of the retail sector has in many respects become a challenge for the established stationary stores. But at the same time, it creates new opportunities for retailers to respond to changing consumer demands. The supermarket is, per se, not necessarily the loser, as is illustrated by the current success of multi-channel retail, which allows greater flexibility for the customers, thereby creating an entirely new shopping experience. [more]
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September 22, 2017
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German carmakers have recently lost market share in Western Europe and the USA, also – but not exclusively – due to the diesel debate. In China, the market share of German carmakers picked up again in the first half of 2017 vis-à-vis the preceding two years. Overall, chances are good the German automotive industry can in future at least maintain its position in the key global auto markets. [more]
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September 13, 2017
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Germans who want to buy a new car tend to focus on three issues: the price, the degree of comfort and security aspects. That is the conclusion of authors of the latest Aral car buying trends study. While environmental considerations now play a larger role – their importance rose by 5 pp, to 25%, in comparison to the 2015 survey – they still rank only 11th in the list of influencing factors and come behind aspects such as ergonomics or brand image. This appears somewhat surprising, particularly against the background of the heated discussions about excessive diesel car emissions (nitrogen oxides) in the last few months. [more]
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September 12, 2017
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German industrial policy has been cautious over the past few decades, especially in comparison with several other European countries. And this approach has been successful. The German government should continue to refrain from active industrial policy. Nevertheless, we believe that greater state engagement or a realignment of existing policy is vital in some areas. One area where we see a need for action is network infrastructure. When it comes to the shift in German energy policy, it would be sensible to focus more strongly on what is genuinely achievable. [more]
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August 10, 2017
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Robo-advisors are online investment platforms that use computer algorithms to manage client portfolios and are thus part of the FinTech universe. With their user-friendly, automated and low-cost services, robo-advisors pose a challenge to traditional financial advisory services and are growing fast. Online client onboarding is the most crucial step in this process, relying on questionnaires to figure out clients' preferences. Following a conservative approach in their asset selection, robo-advisors mainly invest in ETFs. Portfolio allocation is done via mean-variance optimisation and threshold-based rebalancing is utilised to maintain targeted asset weights. Wealthier and more educated clients are joining millennials as robo-advisory clients. Fees are considerably higher in the EU than in the US where robo-advisors’ AuM are much larger. Robo-advisors can contribute to financial inclusion, while their long-term success relies on a high degree of accuracy and suitability for clients. [more]
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August 8, 2017
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Defence policy and defence expenditures have moved into the light of public attention ahead of September parliamentary elections, fuelled by US criticism of Europe’s NATO spending, the experience of the refugee crisis but also regained momentum for European integration. While NATO membership and EU defence integration is supported by the German public, a majority rejects an increase in the military budget. To reach NATO’s 2% of GDP target by 2024, defence expenditures would have to more than double within seven years. Mainstream parties agree that a more holistic security framework is required but they are divided on the details, in particular when it comes to the question on how much to spend for it. [more]
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August 4, 2017
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The results of the “diesel summit” are an interim solution at best. In view of the current negative sentiment towards diesel engines, diesel cars will stand a chance in the medium to long term only if the auto industry credibly demonstrates that it can keep emissions below the legal thresholds in real driving situations and in (almost) all weather conditions. If carmakers do not succeed in this endeavour, customers will increasingly turn away from diesel cars, as they fear excessive residual value losses or stricter regulation. [more]
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July 10, 2017
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The German mechanical engineering sector recently tripled its growth forecast for 2017, from 1% to 3% (both in real terms). Robotics and automation is an important growth driver; this sub-segment is likely to increase output by 7%, i.e. double the rate of the segment as a whole. The mega issue “Industry 4.0” plays a key role for this development. As this trend is gaining importance both in Germany and around the world, the medium-term outlook for the sub-segment remains excellent as well. [more]
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July 3, 2017
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The traditional automobile industry and companies that, in the past, had no involvement in the sector, are working hard to create software solutions, driver assistance systems and other technologies that will make networked, autonomous, traffic jam and accident-free driving possible. That means the “digital car” in its ideal form is no longer a utopian vision for the future, but is instead gradually taking shape. However, the path to the digital car will be more of an evolution than a revolution. That is the result of factors on both the supply and demand side. They include the considerable development times in the industry and the longevity of its products, cars. Consumer preferences, which have been shaped over decades, are also unlikely to change over night. It will take several decades for digital cars to make up a significant proportion of cars on the road – that is unlikely to happen before 2040. [more]
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May 24, 2017
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The traditional German export sectors pay their employees above-average wages and salaries. The top right-hand quadrant of the chart shows those sectors that generated a foreign trade surplus in 2016 and also paid their employees gross wages and salaries above the average for the manufacturing sector as a whole. In the automotive industry alone, the foreign trade surplus in 2016 was EUR 122 billion (39% of the total surplus). Wages and salaries in this sector were 27% higher than the industry mean. Mechanical engineering took second place in terms of foreign trade surplus (2016: EUR 94 billion). [more]
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