Play it safe in money matters

Nuremberg, 12. February 2015

GfK Verein publishes Investment Barometer 2015

Nuremberg, February 12, 2015 – Security continues to be extremely important for private savers wishing to invest their money. Investments that most appeal to Germans include owning their own home, occupational pension provisions and building savings contracts are the types of investment that most appeal. While stocks are now regarded as a more positive option than in past years, they are still barely more popular than keeping cash at home or in a safety deposit box. These are findings from the Investment Barometer 2015 survey carried out by the GfK Verein.


German savers seemingly agree that the most appealing option is to invest money in their own home. Three in four respondents consider investments in private property to be an appealing or very appealing investment. The penchant for home ownership is universal: it is also seen as the most appealing investment option in France, Spain, the UK and the USA. However, with 68 percent, only in Spain is the score almost on a par with Germany.  For the Investment Barometer 2015, the GfK Verein interviewed almost 6,000 private investors in Germany, France, Spain, the UK and the USA in fall 2014.

Security matters to Germans

The subsequent results in the ranking also show that security is important in financial decisions for German respondents. As the most appealing investments, 41 percent named occupational pension provision, followed by building savings contracts (36 percent) and gold (32 percent). Both current and savings accounts have fallen out of favor with private investors. Since 2011, both have seen a 14 percentage point drop in popularity. While one in three private German investors still said current accounts appealed to them in 2011, this is now true for fewer than one in five (19 percent). With regard to savings accounts, the corresponding figure has fallen from 24 percent in 2011 to just 10 percent in the current survey. Just under 70 percent of Germans now rate savings accounts as unattractive, while 50 percent believe they have absolutely no appeal.

Rising appeal of stocks and funds

While Germans are still risk-averse, there has been a slight improvement in interest shown in stocks and investment funds when compared with 2011. Only 8 percent regarded investing in stocks as appealing in 2011, but this view is now held by 17 percent. Funds also scored 17 percent and have therefore increased slightly by 3 percentage points since 2011. French, Spanish and British private investors are similarly cautious in their financial decision-making. However, the situation is different in the USA: almost one in three (31 percent) rate stocks as an attractive option, while one in four say the same for investment funds. "Evidently the turbulence on the financial markets in recent years is still very much on the minds of private European investors – security continues to take precedence over return," comments Prof. Dr. Raimund Wildner, Managing Director of the GfK Verein. "However, as a result of policies implemented by the European Central Bank, risk-free yields virtually no longer exist. For that reason we are already beginning to see a change in mentality: risk-free investments are losing appeal, while the popularity of returns from stocks and funds is growing."

High stability in German investment decisions 

Particularly in Germany, great stability is evident with regard to financial decisions. While 32 percent of private financial decision-makers in Germany consider gold to be the most attractive, only 6 percent have actually invested in this precious metal. The reverse is true for the traditional savings account. Only one in ten Germans feel that this is a worthwhile investment choice, but 43 percent currently keep money in a savings account. This option has only fallen slightly out of favor with German savers since 2011. Over the past three years, the share of those who currently have money in a savings account has declined by 0.5 percentage points. In contrast, gold has seen a slight increase of 2 percentage points. Private investors in Spain and France, but above all the UK and the USA shift from one type of investment to another much more quickly than Germans.

Overview of top 5 types of investment currently being made in Germany
(Question: Thinking about your current financial investments, which of the following asset and investment vehicles have you utilized?)

  1. Property ownership/own home (45 percent)
  2. Savings account (43 percent)
  3. Building savings contract (31 percent)
  4. Private capital life insurance (24 percent)
  5. Saving at home/storing cash at home or in safety deposit box (21 percent)


The survey
The GfK Investment Barometer survey provides information about the investment attitude and behavior of private individuals in Europe and the USA. The latest survey conducted on behalf of the GfK Verein included questions asking what investments private individuals possessed, how they rate current saving options and finance products as well as which types of investment they intend to invest in more or less over the coming 12 months. In October and November 2014, surveys were carried out with 6,057 private investors over the age of 14 in France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the USA.

The GfK Verein
The GfK Verein was established in 1934 as a non-profit organization for the promotion of market research. Its membership consists of 550 companies and individuals. The purpose of the Verein is to develop innovative research methods in close cooperation with academic institutions, to promote the training and further education of market researchers, to observe the structures and developments in society, the economy and politics that play a key role in private consumption, and to research their effects on consumers. Survey results are made available to the membership free of charge. The GfK Verein is a shareholder in GfK SE. Further information: www.gfk-verein.org.
Twitter: www.twitter.com/GfK_Verein; facebook: GfK Verein


Responsible under press legislation:
GfK Verein, Press Office
Sandra Lades
Nordwestring 101
90419 Nuremberg
Tel. +49 911 395-3606
Email: sandra.lades@gfk-verein.org