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German digitalization consumer report 2014

Portrait of Björn Bloching
Senior Advisor
Hamburg Office, Central Europe
January 14, 2014

A growing digital society

When the German Federal Government proclaimed 2014 the year of the “Digitale Gesellschaft” (“Digital Society”), we considered it one more reason to extend our research into digital change and attempt to quantify the impact of digitization on German society in a broader way than ever before. The method we chose was to focus on three key areas of digital life: communication, consumption, and social media.

We found that 37% of daily communication in Germany is done digitally, and that the average German now surfs one hour longer every day than just a year and a half before. This is most likely due to increasing mobile internet time, which now accounts for 1 in every 4 minutes spent online. We also discovered that while overall numbers of social media users are decreasing—11.4% of internet users currently do not have any social media accounts—those who do use social media do so more intensely than ever before. We also discovered that 25% of all purchase-relevant information is now sourced online, with 39% of users considering digital word-of-mouth equally or more important than traditional face-to-face recommendations. Computers win out against both mobile and tablet platforms as the preferred medium for online shopping, but this will likely change as these platforms mature.

Most importantly, we examined the German public’s attitudes towards new and emerging technologies. With respect to actual usage, four technologies stand out as having been used by more than 10 % of consumers: voice recognition and command, cloud computing and storage, mobile payment, and life-logging fitness devices. At the lower end, data glasses have been tried by fewer than 1 % of German consumers. Augmented reality also stands out. Although only 14 % of consumers have heard of this technology, virtually all of them consider it relevant.

These insights—and many others contained in this in-depth survey—reveal that Germany is a growing digital society, one that has been quick to adopt new technologies and has valuable information to share about how digitization has penetrated nearly every level of daily life in just two decades.


German Digitalization Consumer Report


The impact of digitization on German society: communication, consumption, and social media

Published January 2014. Available in