German media habits evolve

02 February 2011

MUNICH: Smartphones and social networks are attracting increasing numbers of German consumers, but loyalty to print media also remains comparatively strong.

A survey of 1,930 people by consultancy Deloitte found smartphone ownership has reached a quarter of German households, doubling the rate of a year before.

Generally, the activities undertaken on these devices still "lag behind" the technical possibilities, with people preferring to make calls and text rather than go online.

But younger subscribers are keen on online activities such as m-commerce, scanning barcodes and receiving additional product information.

Elsewhere, 37% of Germans now belong to social networks like Facebook or StudiVZ, a figure hitting 69% of 14–27 year olds.

Around 57% of individuals who have joined such platforms employ them to engage in real-time interaction with their contacts.

"Millennials are the most active in the use of new media, and are much more active on social networks than their older counterparts," said Klaus Boehm, director of media at Deloitte.

"A new play based on recommendations as a form of advertising could be an increasingly important role as a source of revenue."

Despite this, over a third of the sample attempted to spend the same amount of time with friends offline and online.

More broadly, 46% of interviewees either already own, or may buy, hybrid TV sets combining television and internet access.

The panel considered video-on-demand and "click-to-buy" tools for products featured on-screen as especially appealing options offered by such appliances.

For print, the outlook appears less challenging than in many markets, as 69% of contributors have continued to read physical copies of their favourite magazines, rising to 70% for newspapers.

Just 23% of participants has switched to enjoying these news publications on the web, and a 20% minority could imagine a world where paper versions of popular titles were not available.

Although 55% of those polled agreed they devoted more attention to print than internet ads, this trend is moving towards online.

Among the digital formats carrying particular interest are paid-for search, word of mouth marketing, social network ads and targeted campaigns.

While 74% were willing to accept higher levels of web advertising for value-added services, like discounts, only 17% would pay to block brand messages.

Data sourced from Deloitte; additional content by Warc staff