German web users get social

09 February 2012

BERLIN: Over 70% of German web users are now active on social networks, and members of this group are sharing information via an increasingly wide range of channels, a study has found.

BITKOM, the trade body, reported that 80% of online consumers had a profile page on at least one website containing their thoughts, pictures, details about their interests or other personal information.

More specifically, 72% of users belonged to a social network, well ahead of games platforms on 19%, dating services on 16% and personal websites on 13%. Blogs and professional sites both logged 8%.

When sharing information, 71% of the panel did so with a general audience, 51% did so with friends, 22% did so on professional networks, and 20% did so on blogs or websites.

But 59% of interviewees were either "quite" or "very" uncertain concerning the safety of their online data, whereas 39% were more positive.

Despite this, some 30% of participants "never" read the privacy policies of companies, while 50% "seldom" or "rarely" did so. Just 12% "often" read the policies and 7% "always" did so.

BITKOM's analysis further suggested that consumers were likely to begin sharing more and more information on the mobile web in the future.

It estimated that 43% of mobile phones sold in Germany are now smartphones, with over 15m people utilising apps. The typical smartphone owner using such tools had 17 installed on their handset at any one time.

"With smartphones and apps, consumers should pay attention to their safety as carefully as on a PC," Dieter Kempf, president of BITKOM, warned.

Data sourced from BITKOM; additional content by Warc staff