BERLIN: Two-thirds of internet users in Germany now regularly log on to social networks, a new study has revealed.

BITKOM, the trade body, partnered with Forsa, the research firm, to conduct a representative survey of 1,023 netizens aged 14 years old and above.

It found that 74% of participants had signed up to a social network, and 66% actively utilised these properties rather than leaving their accounts effectively dormant.

Uptake levels reached a 92% peak among 14–29 year olds, compared with 72% for 30–49 year olds and 55% for individuals who were at least 50 years of age.

Differences also emerged by gender, as 78% of female web users are members of these platforms, a total standing at 70% for their male counterparts.

Facebook was the most popular social network, having attracted 51% of respondents, and assumed a lead role across all the age-groups assessed.

StayFriends claimed second position on 27%, and held a particular appeal for contributors aged 30 years and above. Wer-Kennt-Wen was third with 19%, ahead of StudiVZ on 12%, rising to 30% for 14–29 year olds.

Some 59% of the social network population accessed their favourite site every day. More specifically, 28% of the current audience logged in each day, but remained so for less than an hour.

This figure stood at between one and two hours for another 20% of active users, and topped two hours for 11% of the sample. By contrast, 41% utilised the same sites for less than an hour a week.

In all, 78% of 14–29 year olds visited every day, coming in at just 46% for the over-50 year old cohort.

The most widespread pastimes undertaken on these sites were sending messages on 79%, chatting with friends on 60%, uploading and sharing information on 46% and watching video on 44%.

Dieter Kempf, BITKOM's president, said: "Social networks have emerged as central contact point on the web. They combine several functions such as e-mail, chat and content-sharing on one platform, and thus have a strong draw for the user."

Data sourced from BITKOM; additional content by Warc staff