Carnival: Helau and Alaaf: Economic facts about the fifth season

Now it begins again: the colorful, wild celebration time.

Carnival: Helau and Alaaf: Economic facts about the fifth season

Now it begins again: the colorful, wild celebration time. At least in some parts of Germany. There the Jecken dig deep into their wallets: for costumes and make-up, for Berliners and beer. And the money goes somewhere. Due to its regional location, the German Economic Institute in Cologne looks closely at which sectors particularly benefit from carnival consumption and how overall sales develop.

“The carnival is a ray of hope for the regional economy. The catering and hotel industries in particular need these important impulses,” says IW director Michael Hüther about the figures. But the days are also important in addition to the economic effects - "especially in times when we are moving from one crisis to the next and have to learn to remain optimistic." Then a triple strong Helau and Alaaf!

The German Economic Institute (IW) forecasts sales of around 1.7 billion euros for the carnival industry in the 2023/24 session. The session starts on November 11th. Until Ash Wednesday, 2024 is February 14th. This means that the session is only 95 days long, exceptionally short, but sales are still increasing: in 2022/23, the IW estimate was still at 1.65 billion euros.

Bottom up! According to IW, the largest sales item (770 million euros) comes from the catering industry. Some restaurateurs even increase beer prices during Carnival. In Düsseldorf's Altbier breweries Schumacher, Schlüssel and Füchschen, for example, the price will rise by 20 cents to 3.10 euros by Rose Monday, according to media reports from Altweiber

According to IW, retailers earn 360 million euros from costumes and camels (i.e. the sweets that are thrown into the crowd during the parades). By the way: There is no legal right to come to the office dressed up at Carnival. At least those who have contact with customers or have to wear safety clothing cannot ignore it at carnival.

Where do the disguises come from? Mostly from China. According to the Federal Statistical Office, three quarters of the imported carnival items came from there in 2022. In total, Germany imported carnival items worth 114.9 million euros that year. For comparison: In the same year, Germany exported carnival items worth 50.3 million euros - primarily to Austria.

With so much product, there is also a lot of waste. According to the Cologne Carnival Festival Committee, 467 cubic meters of garbage were generated during the 2023 Cologne Rose Monday procession alone. That's why around 200 waste management employees worked that day, driving 95 vehicles.

The hotel industry can also look forward to Carnival, as many guests travel to the Carnival strongholds especially for the holidays. This is particularly expensive in Cologne: in 2023, according to IW, visitors there paid an average of 376 euros for two nights. A total of around 190 million euros is spent on overnight stays. And the transport industry also benefits: in 2024, the IW expects sales of 260 million euros from train tickets and taxi rides.

The often political floats on the Rose Monday parades are also part of the carnival. The material for this was added up during the Cologne move in 2023: 16,000 meters of binding wire and 2,000 square meters of wire mesh were used.