BERLIN: Consumers in Germany are undertaking an increasingly wide range of activities on their mobile phones, with social networking and apps among the categories seeing the fastest growth in usage.

BVDW, the digital trade body, and YouGov, the research firm, polled 1,000 web users in April 2012, and found 39.0% accessed sites like Facebook and Twitter from their phone, versus 31.7% in July 2011.

The proportion of consumers leveraging mobile chat applications such as WhatsApp also rose from 12.9% to 21.7% in this period, totals standing at 24.9% and 30.1% for making video calls.

"WhatsApp and similar tools have not had an impact on SMS use," Johannes Mirus, a project manager at YouGov, said.

Elsewhere, 38.1% of consumers now send and receive emails while on the move, a figure 7.3 percentage points higher than in July 2011.

The number of people streaming IPTV via the same route remains relatively modest by comparison, at 11.6%, an expansion of precisely three percentage points in this timeframe.

Olav Waschkies, deputy chairman of BVDW's mobile arm, predicted that social networks and emailing would surpass the 40% mark this year, as part of a broader long term shift.

"We expect significant growth," he added. "The mobile internet is still in its infancy among German consumers, but companies are recognising in advance that their digital content must urgently be optimized for mobile use."

Unsurprisingly, making voice calls is the primary function of mobile phones, with 94.9% of respondents engaging in such an activity during April 2012, up from 93.9% in July 2011.

Indeed, a greater number of people utilised these gadgets to make calls than landlines, which logged 94.6% in the latest study.

Despite the rapid growth of various mobile habits however, it lags behind more traditional alternatives in a variety of areas.

This is shown by the fact 94.6% of participants accessed email services on other devices like a laptop or PC. The gap shrunk for social networking, where penetration stood at 59.6%, and for making video calls, on 41.6%.

Warc subscribers can access the latest insights on mobile marketing in a new Trends Report on the subject, which is available here.

Data sourced from BVDW; additional content by Warc staff