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German mobile web use grows

News, 14 September 2015

DUSSELDORF: The number of "heavy users" of the mobile web in Germany has grown six-fold over the past five years to 24m, according to research.

Market researcher Nordlight Research polled 1,000 German consumers aged over 16 for its Mobile Internet Usage 2015 report and found that these "heavy users" made up the majority (86%) of the 28m people who used the mobile web daily or several times a week.

Overall, 42% of online Germans now go online via mobile as often as they do via desktop, but a year ago that figure was 31%.

Despite the advance of social media, more were using mobile to check personal emails (61%) than to look at friends' posts (48%).

Quick searches (60%) and news (51%) were also important reasons for using the mobile web, but far fewer were turning to it for banking (22%) or shopping (11%).

Internet radio (15%) and internet TV (9%) were also minority interests.

"The trend in the mobile internet is towards impulsive media consumption and private conversation in social networks," said Rafael Jaron, CEO at Nordlight Research.

"Classic surfing via hyperlinks to content-linked pages is practised much less frequently in the mobile internet," he added.

There was also widespread unhappiness with personalised advertising on mobile phones, with two thirds (65%) of respondents considering it "disturbing". This was just as true for digital natives aged under 35 (64%) as for "silver surfers" aged over 51 (68%).

A mere 8% had a positive view of such advertising while the remaining 27% were neutral on the subject. By comparison, just under one in two desktop users (47%) thought commercials were fundamentally disruptive to their internet experience.

Rather than have advertising thrust at them on their smartphones, German mobile users appeared to be increasingly ready to use tags like QR codes to retrieve information themselves; half (51%) had done this in 2015, up from 41% in 2014.

Data sourced from Nordlight Research; additional content by Warc staff