More recent figures are not yet available

You don’t have to burn them, “explains Ursula Geismann, trend expert for the Association of the German Furniture Industry. In addition, it is questioned which raw materials should still be used. “” You stop thinking that materials are infinitely available. It’s about the overall responsibility. “”

But: “” It’s a give and a take, “emphasizes Geismann. Companies have to take responsibility for design and production – and consumers have to take responsibility when buying.

Reinhardt is not particularly worried about the latter. “” When deciding to buy between two equivalent products, the product with the authentic, green story will win more and more often in the future, “” is the trend researcher’s forecast.

Cologne (dpa / tmn) – A sofa has to be more than a sofa. And a chair more than a chair. That is the motto of the furniture designers who present their latest designs at the international furniture fair IMM Cologne (until January 19).

There they show that a chair can be a whole workspace, and a sofa a shelf. At least a product or the manufacturing company must be able to tell a good story. For example, how sustainable it is. So you always get more than just furniture. The trends among the IMM innovations with added value at a glance:

1. Not just a sofa: The new, stylish multifunctionality

Multifunctional furniture is actually nothing new – at least the first apartment for many was so small that a dining table also had to be a desk. But: The expensive living space has become a problem for many, the living space is consequently tending to be smaller – and thus the need for multifunctional furniture is greater.

Even the big and stylish interior designers are following this development – and their furniture is not only functional out of necessity, but also chic. The connection of two otherwise separate pieces of furniture can even be an exciting designer piece with an eye-catching factor.

One example is the new sofa system from Rolf Benz called Liv. Its back wall and armrests can be an open, slim shelf for books and decorations. And one version of the Cila Go chair by Arper not only offers storage space in the footwell, it is a whole small office thanks to a small swivel table.

“” Multifunctional pieces are also furniture that can be quickly used in other rooms – for example when visitors come, “explains Frank A. Reinhardt, trend analyst for the IMM organizer Koelnmesse. The designers seem to be particularly focused on the stool at the moment – sometimes like Artifort with a bow to carry around. The stool is no longer just a supplement to the couch, but complements or even replaces the chair at the dining table.

Or the furniture disappears completely: Floating Office pulls up a desk at the push of a button when it is no longer needed. He has no table legs, but hangs on ropes from the ceiling. “We wanted to gain that space in very small apartments that has not yet been used – the ceiling,” explains company representative Florian von Heißen. The desk is a first application, a pull-up clothes horse and a bed are also being considered.

Another example: Naber is showing a fitting at the trade fair that can be tilted 90 degrees and thus lowered into the sink. A wooden board is placed over it and the sink can be used as a work surface.

2. Not monotonous: The new focus on a color family

The times of hard, brightly colored color contrasts are over. “” You can see some products in several colors next to each other on the stands, but to assume that the fair is colorful is wrong, “explains the trend analyst Frank A. Reinhardt.

Instead, instead of high-contrast combinations, tone-on-tone combinations from one color family are used. The soft gray sofa often meets dark gray armchairs, combined with cushions of different gray colors. Boring? Not at all – the slight change in nuances adds tension to the look.

The new colors are primarily subtle and natural, especially the earthy brown tones such as ocher and beige are often seen. But there is also a more colorful way: At the fair you can see sun-yellow cushions on a yellow sofa that is only slightly shaded, rust-red is found in coral-red and delicate blue based on the royal-blue family member.

3. Not because of just one life: durable materials

“In the furniture sector, it’s no longer about how high quality furniture is, but how durable,” said the designer Luca Nicetto when presenting his new sofa for Rolf Benz. Because this sustainability is also a step towards more environmental protection, which is also a very big topic in the furniture industry.

One thing – the high quality – has an effect on the other – the longevity, which is why many companies increasingly emphasize the quality of their furniture. But it is also about using materials that can be expected to have a long life thanks to recycling, for example. One example of this is a new mattress from the Euro Comfort Group, which is made from the material of old PET bottles.

4. Not just wood: nature comes symbolically into the living space

Wooden furniture is very popular – designers are relying on it even more than in previous years. But there is more: Hartmann, for example, leaves the bark on the wood for the shelf. And soon every customer who buys a product should receive GPS coordinates of the place where the replacement tree for the material used was planted.

Freund GmbH also processes bark and moss into lights, Tonon has a flower-shaped chair in its range with Flower Design by Martin Ballendat. And floral patterns are also very popular, reports trend analyst Frank A. Reinhardt.

5. Not only for the living room: interior designers design balconies

Furniture of higher quality and more chic can be found on the balconies. This has been happening for a while, but very quietly and in small steps, a large number of fitters for classic living spaces in the house have now also started to produce garden furniture.

Many indoor labels now also do this in order to be able to offer a complete program, explains Christoph Kahleyss. In this way, regular customers can stay true to one line – indoors and outdoors. Kahleyss is a designer for the label Firma Freifrau – their swing, which was originally intended for the house, is now also available for hanging under the big tree in the garden.

Less is more? With packaged food in smaller and smaller quantities, supermarkets and discounters want to take into account the new consumption habits of consumers. But the trend is likely to drive prices up – and is not exactly environmentally friendly.

Cola in 0.15-liter cans, Nutella in mini glasses and salmon in 50-gram packs: consumers in German supermarkets are increasingly finding food in unusually small portions. For Wolfgang Adlwarth from the Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung, however, this is not surprising: “” There is a trend towards small packs, “” observes the retail expert.

That is why mini-packs are trendy

One of the forerunners of the trend is the US beverage giant Coca-Cola. In April, after a number of regional test runs, he will be bringing a new mini can onto the market nationwide in addition to the classic beverage can with 330 milliliters of cola – with just 150 milliliters of shower head. From June there will also be Fanta in mini packs. “” We know from market analyzes that consumer demand for smaller packaging in particular is increasing, “emphasized a company spokesman.

“” People have become more mobile, they consume more on the go and households are becoming smaller. Some also pay more attention to sugar and calories, “” says the beverage giant. All of this is fueling interest in smaller pack sizes.

Classic pack sizes are often oversized

In fact, the mini-trend doesn’t just apply to lemonade. Even sweeter spreads such as nut nougat cream are increasingly ending up in smaller packaging with Germans than the classic 250-gram jars in their shopping trolleys. “We are currently seeing strong growth in smaller packaging sizes, albeit at a comparatively low level,” reports Nina Gemko, an expert on consumer trends at Nielsen in this area. Smaller, higher-priced containers in particular developed very positively.

The triumphant advance of mini-packs is being spurred on by several current trends, says industry expert Adlwarth. One reason for this is the growing number of single households and senior citizens, for whom the classic package sizes are often oversized. Another growth driver is the trend towards out-of-home consumption. If you want to have a snack in between at lunchtime, a portion pack is simply better served.

Disadvantages of mini packs

The new formats are also interesting for retailers and manufacturers, emphasizes Adlwarth. Because they often promise higher profit margins. The fact is: If you buy coffee in capsules, you pay several times the price of “” normal “” filter coffee for one kilogram of beans. Even those who buy cola in the new mini can must expect to pay significantly more per liter than when buying a larger container.

But that’s not the only disadvantage of mini-packs. The mountain of packaging waste is also growing and growing. According to figures from the Federal Environment Agency, in 2015 it rose to a record 18.15 million tons. 8.5 million of these went to private consumers – that was 1.4 percent more than in the previous year and a good 15 percent more than in 2009, as packaging expert Gerhard Kotschik from the Federal Environment Agency says. More recent figures are not yet available. For the time being, Kotschik does not see any legal possibilities to contain this flood. Rather, consumers are also asked to avoid unnecessary packaging when shopping.

Hidden price increases

What is certain is that many customers are annoyed by pre-portioned salads, vegetables in plastic trays and voluminous plastic sausage packs with little content. This was also recently revealed by a survey by the Hamburg Consumer Center, in which many people complained about unnecessary packaging and hidden price increases due to shrinking fill quantities. But countermeasures can be taken with a few simple tips, says Tristan Jorde from the consumer center: Go to the store with your own cloth bag and, if possible, grab regional and loose foods or products in reusable containers, the environmental expert advises.

Paper bags, bio-plastics, degradable coffee capsules: do alternative packaging lead consumers astray? Curse or blessing ?: Foil and plastic for fresh vegetables Reusable is the trend: Germans want less packaging waste

The best role model for Jorde is the weekly market: there, too, customers have it in their own hands to buy fruit, vegetables and other products loose and in exactly the quantities they need and to be filled into bags and baskets they have brought with them – without any further elaborate packaging.

Sources used: dpa

Bremen (dpa / tmn) – The dream of owning a home: Those who are young usually do not think about it yet. As is the case when you have only worked a few years in your mid-twenties or are at the beginning of your career after university. So it’s no wonder that most homebuyers are no longer in their twenties.

As a rule, buyers in Germany are between 30 and 50 years old. At least that’s what the financial services provider Dr. Klein determined based on own data. The average when buying your own property for the first time is 39 years.

But do you really have to wait that long to move into your own four walls? Not necessarily, because those who finance young people can benefit from their own property for longer.

Build up equity early

If you don’t want to wait until the end of 30, you should prepare. The necessary money must be there, says Thomas Mai from the Bremen consumer center. In other words: it doesn’t work without your own resources. “” The rule of thumb is equity of at least 20 to 30 percent of the purchase price. “”

Max Herbst from FMH Finanzberatung therefore advises: Start saving as early as possible. Exchange-traded funds (ETF) can be one option for young consumers. “” I have practically no fees and remain flexible, “explains the financial expert. This is a way of building equity with a little foresight.

ETFs are funds that replicate an equity index and are therefore linked to its performance. Since prices fluctuate on the stock exchanges, ETFs are particularly interesting in the longer term. Because the more time investors have, the lower the risk of loss.

A broadly diversified stock portfolio in the German stock index Dax with a 20-year investment horizon historically brought an average return of 8.9 percent per year, explains the Deutsche Aktieninstitut (DAI).

The right time to get in

In times when there is often talk of rising real estate prices and overpriced rents, the question arises for many: When should I enter the market? Sylvie Ernoult from the Association of German Banks believes that anyone who builds or acquires property now should think long-term. “In view of the low level of interest rates, you should choose a long-term fixed interest rate of at least ten years, better still 15 or 20 years.” “

Max Herbst sees it in a similar way: “” The more that is financed to the limit, the longer the fixed interest rate has to be, “says Herbst. Loans with a term of 15 or 20 years cost a little more interest. But buyers can rest assured that interest rates won’t change during this time.

According to the FMH, the average interest rate on real estate loans with a term of 10 years is 0.69 percent. With a term of 15 years, customers pay an average of 0.98 percent interest, with 20 years of fixed interest rates it is 1.20 percent.

compare offers

However, if young buyers with little savings decide to finance real estate, they should use a “sharp pencil” to avoid failure, explains Mai. The loan installment should be easily manageable even with falling income, for example when changing jobs or announcing a child.

In order to find suitable financing, it is important to obtain offers from several banks, explains Ernoult. The effective annual interest rate is used as a benchmark. However, so that this number is meaningful and comparable, the terms and fixed interest periods of the different offers should be the same.