Digitalization of Communication – Insights from the German Digitalization Consumer Report 2014

Digital phones, digital TV, digital newspapers, digital shopping – digitalization is omnipresent these days. But digitalization is far more than that. Digitalization induces serious changes in consumer behavior that managers should bear in mind to stay on track within the digitalization jungle. Thus, one special focus of our latest German Digitalization Consumer Report in  is on the digitalization of communication. Were you aware that already 37% of all our daily communication happens through digital devices? Neither were we.

Our underlying survey consists of a representative sample comprising almost 2,500 of German Internet users as participants and covers purchase decisions across 19 different industries.

Internet usage increased by 1 hour since 2012

With our report, we dedicate special attention to how digital technologies impact and change our lives. We learn that more than one-third of all our interpersonal communication is digitally mediated –whether private or business-related. One of the main reasons for this finding is the strong increase in the usage of Internet-based technologies. In only 1.5 years, the average daily Internet surfing time of our respondents has increased by one hour to 4 hours and 35 minutes per consumer per day!

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This rise is mainly due to today’s broad availability of mobile Internet and connected mobile devices: Mobile surfing increased by 27% and every fourth minute online is mobile now. Consumers are also using more Internet-ready devices. Already 43% of German consumers own two or more devices with Internet access – and 14% with more than four devices!

Google+, Twitter and Spotify are on the rise in Germany

When looking at social media, a lot has changed since our last report. Although often disregarded in the past, Google+ has grown 25% since 2012 and is now Germany’s third-largest social network in terms of active users. Twitter grew by 9% and is on rank 7 now – almost 12% of all German Internet users have a Twitter account. However, the hidden champion of this year’s social media ranking is music streaming platform Spotify. It gained 171% in terms of distribution within the last 1.5 years and nearly entered Germany’s social media top 10 virtually right away.

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Managers, do not fleece your consumers!

As digital communication becomes more and more important, investing in digital communication and marketing is a “must-do” for German businesses. But what is the best way to do so? One interesting finding from our report is what we call the “social media divide”: today, fewer people use more social media compared to 1.5 years ago. In fact, the total number of people using social media has decreased since 2012 and consequently the number of social media deniers has increased by 54% to 11.4% of the German population.

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This development should be a warning to all companies who practice a laissez-faire policy when it comes to data privacy and consumer trust. In all social media and Internet activities, managers need to stay humble, not fleece their customers, and not be intrusive. Customers will thank you for this through increased usage of your online outlets and, consequently, increasing all your favorable customer metrics, such as conversion rates, customer engagement, customer lifetime value and so forth.

Many companies are already on the right track. In fact, the average social media usage intensity of Germans who still use social media increased already by 6% and there is strong variance within the data depending on who the particular consumer is and where she shops. So managers should not fear digitalization, but rather unleash its potential and always stay humble.

If you want to read more you can download the full German Digitalization Consumer Report 2014 here.


  1. Pingback: Liste der wichtigsten Social Media- und Online Marketing-Studien 2014

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