Facts and figures on mobile use in Germany

A glance at current studies and surveys shows how important smartphones have become. An overview.

Facts and figures on mobile use in Germany

Germany is a smartphone country. The figures prove this gut feeling to be true: according to the agency Zenith, 81 percent of Germans own a smartphone. “In the advertising-relevant target groups, we are already talking about full coverage,” says Zenith CEO Dirk Lux. The 70+ group is the only one pushing the statistics down. Only 17 percent of them use a mobile phone at all. But the rest of the population has more or less become one with the always on, omnipotent pocket computer. This applies above all to the age group up to 35, as we will show in this article.


Mobile is not just on the go

The mobile advertising network Adcolony has prepared some findings in an info graphic. One interesting fact it shows is that mobile no longer means on the go. People also love to use their smartphones and tablets at home on the couch (see second screen topic below). In concrete terms, 69 percent of all advertising is displayed via Wi-Fi and only 23 percent via a cellular network. In eight percent of the cases examined, this changed during a session.

Smartphones lead these statistics at 82 percent compared to tablets. Other studies come to similar conclusions. Mobile primetime is not on people’s way to work in the morning or on their way back in the afternoon. It is at 9 p.m.

The BVDW study “Digital Use in Germany 2018” confirms the frequently cited trend towards second screens. 54 percent of respondents stated that they were online with a laptop, tablet or smartphone while watching TV. The figure is 74 percent for 14- to 24-year-olds and 69 percent for 25- to 34-year-olds. A study by Deloitte even estimates 75 percent for the total population. According to these figures, one’s own smartphone is only used in one place even more: at work. 85 percent said so.


Smartphones on the way to number 1

According to the BVDW study, mobile use has increased over the last three years, especially on the weekends. Most Internet use still takes place via a PC (laptop or desktop): 77 percent during the week, 72 percent at weekends. However, this number has fallen steadily since 2015, while smartphone use has increased. In the meantime, 69 percent use the internet on weekdays and 60 percent on weekends with their mobile devices. So it seems to be only a matter of time before smartphones becomes the No. 1 internet device.

Ultimately, experts like Zenith CEO Dirk Lux expect that there will continue to be a division of labor between smartphones and PCs. In particular, computers at the workplace would be “used for more complex activities like researching and booking vacations”.

If you look not only at internet usage, but at “digital activities” in general, smartphones are already well ahead. These figures also include apps, for example. For example, 47 percent of respondents said they “actually always” use their smartphone and 30 percent checked “regularly”. Among 14- to 24-year-olds, a whopping 74 percent stated that they “actually always” use it.

The ARD/ZDF online study 2018 arrives at similar conclusions. It notes a rapid increase in internet usage on the move, especially after the question was changed. It turns out that some users apparently underestimate how often they pick up their smartphones. If you also ask them about specific applications like WhatsApp, the figures rise. “The daily reach of 70 percent is highest among 14- to 29-year-olds, but at 49 percent the 30- to 49-year-olds are also above the daily average of 37 percent for mobile use,” the results summarize. At the same time, if you are online a lot while on the go, you are also online a lot the rest of the time. Mobile internet use does not replace any other use, but complements it.


New usage scenarios and applications

The Deloitte study proves that smartphones are hardly just mobile phones anymore. 61 percent of respondents use a messenger like WhatsApp at least daily, whereas 43 percent use email. Good old voice telephony was only indicated by 32 percent and text messaging 16 percent. One sees an increasing use of video telephony, which is already used by eight percent daily at least.

Asked about the future opportunities of various digital topics, 39 percent of those surveyed in the BVDW study predict a good future for mobile payment. This came in third behind online shopping (66 percent) and smart home (51 percent).


Closing remarks

Wherever users are, advertising is close behind. Mobile had already overtaken desktop internet use in 2017. According to Zenith, the share of online advertising spending for mobile will rise to 62 percent this year. And even if saturation is in sight, a statement from Jonathan Barnard, Head of Forecasting and Director of Global Intelligence at Zenith, is important: “For most consumers and advertisers today, mobile internet is the normal internet.”