BERLIN: More than half of young consumers in Germany now own a smartphone, with penetration rates likely to rise further this year.

BITKOM, the trade body, and Aris, the research firm, surveyed 1,000 people aged 14 years old and above. Overall, 34% of respondents possessed a smartphone, hitting 51% for under 30 year olds.

By contrast, the penetration of these gadgets fell to 27% for contributors in the 50–64 year old cohort, and tumbled to 6% for interviewees who were over 65 years old.

"Smartphones have transformed the mobile phone market in the last few years, and increasingly become the remote control of our lives," said René Schuster, of BITKOM.

During the course of 2011, some 11.8m smartphones were sold in Germany, a 31% improvement on an annual basis. More conventional feature phones, however, logged a 19% decline to 15.6m units.

For this year, BITKOM forecast that devices like the iPhone and alternatives powered by Google Android would take 55% of volume sales. "With some carriers, the proportion is already up to 90%," said Schuster.

In value terms, smartphone sales reached €4.1bn in Germany in 2012, an increase of 13% year on year. On this metric, they could take three-quarters of the mobile market in 2012, as they command higher prices than feature phones.

More broadly, the analysis revealed 88% of Germans own a mobile phone of some form by the end of 2011, with 98m handsets estimated to have been in use.

Within this, the average consumer had 1.3 active mobile phones, with 29m people utilising two such devices at one time, and 7m employing three or more in tandem.

Data sourced from BITKOM; additional content by Warc staff