BERLIN: The increasing popularity of smartphones should result in a surge of interest in both the mobile web and m-commerce among German consumers.

Google partnered with the Otto Group, Trendbüro and TNS Infratest to gain an insight into the services that people are accessing on their wireless handsets.

Based on a survey of 2,500 adults and a range of in-depth interviews, it was estimated that nine million people, or 11% of the population, own devices such as the iPhone at present.

Some 23% of this audience surf the mobile internet every day, and 71% of the panel as a whole expected to make greater use of this medium going forward.

Looking ahead, the number of smartphone subscribers in Germany was forecast to double from its current level by 2012.

More broadly, it was predicted that a quarter of Germans will regularly engage in retail activities via mobile phones by this date, requiring a multi-channel strategy on the part of brands.

Such a development also applies to media companies, as their customers want to be able to view and transfer content across a variety of platforms.

Logging on to social networking sites while on the move is also likely to gain further ground in the future, according to the study.

"It is natural for us to use mobile devices go online anytime and anywhere. What counts is speed simplicity and intuitive design," said Alastair Bruce, Google's retail director in Germany.

Data sourced from Meedia; additional content by Warc staff