TechnologieRegion Karlsruhe TechnologieRegion Karlsruhe

The Karlsruhe Technology Region offers a wide range of shopping opportunities: From the most prominent fashion chains and individual owner-run businesses to boutiques, furniture stores, outlets, and shops selling luxury items made right here in Germany. Information on business hours and what you should keep in mind when paying are just a few of the tips this section provides.

Business hours

In downtown areas, larger stores are typically open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Some supermarkets do not close until 10:00 p.m. or even midnight. Smaller businesses, boutiques, and individual specialty shops usually close at 6:30 or 7:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and at 2:00 or 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays. A number of train station shops, gas stations, and kiosks sell the most essential foods and beverages around the clock – even on Sundays and holidays.

The sale of goods is generally prohibited in Germany on the following days:

  • Sundays and public holidays
  • December 24 (if this date falls on a business day, stores close at 2:00 p.m.)

When December 24 falls on a Sunday, stores that sell mainly food and beverages (or Christmas trees) are allowed to open for up to three hours that day, but must close by 2:00 p.m.

Many cities also schedule Sundays on which stores are open for business, which is possible up to four times per year. On these Sundays, shoppers can often enjoy live music and arts and crafts as they stroll from store to store downtown. You will usually find out about these special Sundays on the radio, through posted advertisements, or in regional newspapers.  

Please note that hair salons, restaurants, and various other service providers are often closed on Mondays. Doctors' practices, meanwhile, are typically closed on Wednesday afternoons.

Paying for goods and services

In Germany, you can pay with cash, EC cards, or credit cards in most businesses. The use of credit cards, however, is not as conventional here as it is in other European countries or the United States. Smaller shops often accept only cash, while others require a minimum purchase amount for EC card payments. Checks, meanwhile, are uncommon and rarely accepted.  

When shopping online, you can choose from a variety of payment options. Along with the usual methods (such as credit cards or money transfer services like PayPal), you can transfer money directly from your bank account or pay in cash upon delivery. 

 

Tip

In Germany, negotiating prices is not a common practice. Most advertised prices are actually suggested retail prices. This does not include books or food products - those prices are binding. 

Sales tax

Most things available for purchase in Germany are subject to the federal sales tax (19%). For certain products – basic food items like milk and bread, for example, as well as books, newspapers, flowers, and works of art – a lower rate (7%) applies. You don’t need to crunch the numbers in your head while shopping, however: The prices indicated in stores and restaurants already include the applicable sales tax. 

Shopping facilities

Shops and stores

Supermarkets and smaller businesses like bakeries and butcher shops are available to meet local citizens' daily needs in most residential areas. To buy fashionable clothing, household items, and electrical appliances, however, many Germans opt for nearby downtown areas for the greater selection their shopping thoroughfares provide. Large furniture stores, consumer electronics stores, and shopping centers, on the other hand, can often be found on the outskirts of cities. They usually feature large parking lots and good bus and train connections. Supermarkets that sell food and other important everyday items can be located both within cities and in the surrounding areas.

 

Online shops

Buying items online is becoming increasingly popular in Germany. Indeed, more than half of the country's Internet users order goods and services online. If you ever receive a delivery of something that is damaged or otherwise not what you were expecting, don't worry: When you order something from an online shop in Germany, you have the right to send it back within 14 days, no questions asked. For your own security, you should always check the "Impressum" section of any online shop you are visiting for the first time for information on the site's owner. 

 

Weekly Farmer's markets

Our region is a paradise for connoisseurs of food and drink! This is true of the products offered outside of local supermarkets, as well. If you appreciate the value of regional and seasonal items, there is a wide selection of farmer's markets to visit in the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion. This gives you the chance to buy local – and often exotic – specialties that have spent very little time in storage and transport. Why not take a stroll through a farmer's market near you? The colors and aromas of the goods on sale might just inspire your next great meal.

Tip

If you buy certain foods when they are in season, the prices typically range between fair and very reasonable (depending on supply conditions, of course). However, Germany differs from many other countries in that buying food at an open market is not always cheaper than at a supermarket or discount store.

 

Flea markets

Flea markets are enjoying ever-greater popularity, as well. Whether you're looking for an antique piece of furniture, jewelry from generations past, or whatever might catch your eye, they present a colorful alternative to conventional shops and products. After registering with the organizers, you can also make a bit of money yourself selling used furniture and other items, unused toys, or clothing your children have outgrown.

You can find current information on the flea markets in the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion on the Internet and in local and regional newspapers.

 

Outlet stores

If you're a fan of high-quality brands and don't insist on keeping up with the latest trends, shopping at an outlet store can be well worth your while. These businesses offer discounts of up to 70% on the original prices of items from seasons past. In the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion, an outlet in Roppenheim (France, just under 20 kilometers from Baden-Baden) sells a diverse selection of international products. 

Consumer protection

German companies set great store by the quality of their products and are also required to heed the country's consumer protection laws. Carcinogenic or otherwise toxic materials are either subject to strict controls or simply banned. In the case of toys, tattoo products, and cosmetics, particular attention is paid to harmful substances. For this reason, companies must verify that their goods are free of such materials and otherwise comply with the relevant quality requirements. These measures are primarily designed to protect consumers. 

There are also dedicated consumer centers that can provide you with independent, unbiased information and advice on a wide variety of topics. Verbraucherzentrale Baden-Württemberg e.V., for example, provides guidance on the following subjects: 

  • Retirement plans, banks, and loans
  • Home construction and maintenance
  • Energy
  • Health and care services
  • Food and nutrition
  • Telecommunications, recreation, and household matters
  • Insurance

You can take advantage of such consumer protection services if you meet one of the following criteria: 

  • You are a private end consumer.
  • Your question concerns an existing contractual relationship (or the preparation thereof) with a commercial entity.
  • A provider is falsely claiming to have a contractual relationship with you. 
  • Your query relates to one of the areas in which advice is provided.


Please note: 

These consultations are subject to fees that vary by the subject at hand and the time they require.   

Bottle deposit system

In Germany, many beverage containers are subject to a deposit. This means that you pay a small surcharge on each container and receive your money back upon returning it. Such deposits are required by law on most disposable beverage containers, including cans and bottles made of glass or PET plastic. The amount is typically 25 cents, or eight or 15 cents in the case of multi-use containers. Empty containers can usually be returned to any store that sells the same type of containers. 

Shopping carts

Most supermarkets and some smaller stores make shopping carts available to their customers. Some years ago, a system was introduced to prevent these carts from being stolen. Shopping carts are thus now part of another deposit system: To unchain a cart from the others in the stack, you will need to insert a one-euro or 50-cent coin (or a corresponding plastic chip). After finishing your shopping, you only need to return your shopping cart to the stack and reattach the chain to get your deposit back.