BERLIN: The number of German consumers accessing the mobile internet has almost doubled during the last 12 months, new figures show.

Trade body BITKOM and research firm Aris surveyed a representative sample of 1,003 adults to gauge current habits in this area.

Overall, 18% of the panel had logged on to the internet via a cellphone, equivalent to 9m people, and nearly twice the score of 10% posted in similar analysis published in 2010.

At present, penetration is slightly higher among women, on 20%, than men, registering 16%, the study added.

"The future of internet use is mobile, and women are the trendsetters," said Rene Schuster, a BITKOM board member. "The number of mobile surfers will continue to grow rapidly."

Smartphones like Apple's iPhone and alternatives powered by Google's Android operating system are driving this trend, and BITKOM believes 10m of these gadgets will be sold in Germany in 2011.

Rising uptake of other portable devices is also encouraging users to view online content on the move, with 24% now utilising laptops, notebooks or tablets for such a purpose.

This marked an improvement on the level of 20% secured in 2010, as female participants delivered a surge from 15% to 24% across the same period.

The revenues generated by mobile data services are expected to hit €7bn ($9.9bn; £6.1bn) in 2011, a 12% annual lift, as volumes reach 70m gigabytes, equating to 15m DVDs, BITKOM added.

Data sourced from BITKOM; additional content by Warc staff