The slump in orders in the German electrical and digital industries worsened again in March. At minus 17.8 percent, the decline in new orders in the month was the highest in almost four years, as the industry association ZVEI announced in Frankfurt.

In the entire first quarter, companies recorded 13.5 percent fewer new orders than in the same period last year. Sales in the period from January to March included 55.3 billion euros, 8.9 percent below the level of the first quarter of 2023.

According to ZVEI information, domestic demand in particular fell in March as well as in the first three months of the current year. In March, domestic orders fell short of the previous year’s value by a good quarter (minus 25.7 percent); in the first quarter, orders from domestic customers fell by 15.2 percent. Orders from business partners from abroad fell by 11.1 percent in March compared to the same month last year. For the first quarter, there was a minus of 12.1 percent in foreign business.

Looking ahead, pessimism is increasing again in the industry. “After four consecutive increases, the business climate in the German electrical and digital industry fell back somewhat in April 2024,” explained ZVEI chief economist Andreas Gontermann. “Both the assessment of the situation and the forward-looking general business expectations were less favorable than in March.” When it comes to exports, however, companies have become more confident overall.