KNOWLEDGE BASE Mobile - Internet Usage In Germany

The information on this page was current at the time it was published. Regulations, trends, statistics, and other information are constantly changing. While we strive to update our Knowledge Base, we strongly suggest you use these pages as a general guide and be sure to verify any regulations, statistics, guidelines, or other information that are important to your efforts.



Mobile and Internet Usage in Germany


With an 86% internet penetration rate, Germany is wired and online. Most Germans go online regularly, use all of their devices to do so, and have made the internet part of daily life. Four out of 10 Germans have social media accounts, and active users are on their accounts several hours per day. Almost a third of Germans have 4 or more connected devices, and 65% have smartphones.

There is plenty of data available to you to understand how your target customers can be reached, and what your online strategy should be. Learn more about the Germany's mobile and internet usage and get started on determining how you can most effectively reach the German market.


Germany ranked #15 out of 139 countries in Networked Readiness Index

The World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2016 features the latest iteration of the Networked Readiness Index, which assesses the factors, policies, and institutions that enable a country to fully leverage information and communication technologies (ICTs) for increased competitiveness and well-being. The Networked Readiness Index (NRI) reveals the correlation between a country’s level of ICT uptake and the economic and social impacts ICTs have on its economy and society.  On a 7 point scale, with 7 being the best, Germany was at an overall 5.6.

World Economic Forum's Global Information Technology Report - Germany

World Economic Forum's Global Information Technology Report - Full Report


Internet and Mobile Usage, Purchase Behavior, and Social Media in Germany


Internet usage in Germany

The internet has been embraced by the Germans, with laptops garnering 75% in share of web traffic and Google dominating as the preferred search engine. Most houses have internet, and not surprisingly, more young Germans than old are online, and do so more frequently.

Table with internet usage stats for Germany


Most households in Germany have internet access. The number of internet users continues to grow, with nearly all people ages 10 to 39 online. And while the penetration rate is still high for people up to the age of 59, there is a significant dropoff after age 60.  Not only do more young people go online, but the frequency with which they do so is higher at younger ages.  Within any age group, the majority of German internet users goes online daily, but that percentage drops off with age.

Chart showing the share of Germany households with internet access 2006-2014



Chart showing the number of internet users in Germany 1997-2015




Germany internet penetration by age group




Frequency of internet access by German internet users for personal use, by age range


In Germany, using search engines and checking email are the most common online activities, and there is a preference to do so with laptops and desktops.  In fact, laptops and desktops are used in 75% of page views in Germany.  Google essentially owns the search engine space, handling nearly 95% of searches. As you’ll see later on, this provides us with rich analytics to understand online behavior.


Chart showing weekly online activities by device in Germany




chart showing devices Germans most often use to go online




Chart showing share of web traffic by device for Germany




Chart showing market share of leading search engines in Germany 2014-2015


Firefox is the top browser in Germany, followed by Chrome. Between the two, they hold nearly 70% share. Chrome is on the rise, while Firefox and IE are losing ground. Be sure to test your site in the top browsers to ensure it presents well. 

Top 5 desktop, tablet, and console browsers in Germany



Table showing stats for daily use of media in Germany


Germany and its connected devices

Nearly 3 out of 10 Germans have at least 4 devices with which to go online, and 87% have at least one. With 77% owning computers and 65% owning smartphones, you’ll want to make sure that your sites present well for different screen sizes and consider having a mobile-friendly version or app for your site.

Table with stats on connected device ownership in Germany


For German teenagers at all ages, smartphones and sound systems are their most owned devices. And as you’ve already seen, they are definitely going online.

Ownership of consumer electronics among German teenagers by age group


The biggest differences in ownership by gender were for the gaming devices, most notably stationary games consoles (+13% for boys) and games consoles (+12% for boys).  There was a 5% difference favoring boys for portable games consoles, with the same percentage difference favoring girls for MP3 players.


Mobile usage in Germany

There are more cell phones than people in Germany, with 139 mobile connections for every 100 people. And the younger they are, the more likely they are to own a smartphone. All age groups tend to own some sort of mobile phone, but the older people get, the more likely they are to have a regular mobile instead of a smartphone.


Table showing stats on mobile phone usage in Germany


Chart showing smartphone usage rates by age group in Germany


With 17% of web traffic in Germany taking place over smartphones, most people are using their phones for social networking and accessing news.  Less than half as many Germans accessing social media use smartphones for online banking or shopping. And compared to Americans, the only thing that Germans do more online with their phones is read the news.  When it comes to online banking and online gaming, the penetration rate in the US is twice as high as in Germany.

Chart showing reach of mobile phone internet activities in the US and Germany


Chrome is gaining ground as the leading mobile browser, now at 50%. Safari comes in at close to 27% and Android close to 16%. 

Graph showing the top mobile browsers in  Germany

Social media usage in Germany

Nearly 41% of the German population has a social media account and they spend several hours per day accessing their accounts. Facebook is far and away the most popular social media platform, with nearly four times as many users as the next most popular, Blogger. Just over a third of the population has an active Facebook account, and just under a third has an active mobile Facebook account.

Not only does Facebook have the most users, but it also has the most activity, with more than double the next most active platform type, ‘forums’. Youtube came in third, with just over a third as much activity as Facebook. Be aware that Germans are much more protective of their privacy, personal data, and online personas than Americans. They are not as free with sharing information as Americans are, and keep their more personal postings and pictures for family and close friends. 


Table showing social media usage stats for Germany




Chart showing the leading social media platforms in Germany


Not surprisingly, the social media platforms with the most activity in Germany have users who are visiting several times per day. For instance, half of Facebook users do so. But because Facebook has such a commanding lead on reach and frequent visitors, it’s bound to be in its own category.  

In comparison, YouTube doesn’t appear on the top 10 sites for reach, but 75% of its users visit at least once per week, and 38% of its users visit at least once per day. And Twitter tells a similar story, with just a 4% reach and nearly a third of its users essentially inactive with less than even one visit per month. But of its users who are active, 40% visit at least once per day, with another 18% visiting at least once per week. And there are 3.2 million Twitter users.

It does matter to determine the kinds of social media your target audience uses.  By simply looking at the top sites, you may miss the fact that your group could very well be active on a platform that will specifically reach them and align with their usage behaviors. So even though Twitter has a 4% reach, of the 3.2 million people who have Twitter accounts, 1.3 million visit it at least once a day.


Chart showing social media platforms with the highest user activity in Germany




Chart showing frequency of social media usage in Germany, by social media site


Online purchase behavior in Germany

Germans are going online to do research for purchase decisions as well as to make purchases. The primary connected device they use to do their research is their computer, by a pretty significant margin.


Table with stats on German online purchase behavior




Chart showing devices used in Germany at any stage of online product research for recent purchase


When Germans do their research online, they are using the internet at all phases of the purchase process, mostly to look for inspiration and to compare options. They also like to go directly to a retailer's site for information.

Chart showing online/app activities by German internet users in relation to recent purchase decision




Chart showing product research channels prior to online purchases in Germany


The frequency of online purchases in Germany is going up year by year, with people shifting from fewer purchases to more and more purchases - and millions of people are buying things online.


Chart showing German internet purchase frequency by number of shoppers, 2013 and 2014



There is a preference for the sorts of things German people prefer to buy online versus through traditional retail.


Chart showing German preferences for online vs. traditional retail shopping by product group


And Germans do learn about products online, and of those who purchase online, 9 out of 10 use a computer to do so.

  • Of those who learned about a product via pre-purchase research, 57% first learned about a product that they later purchased online via websites or apps

  • 19% first learned about a product they later purchased through online advertising

  • 35% made their purchase online, with 91% using their computer, 3% using their smartphone, and 5% using their tablet


Globig Resources


World Economic Forum's Global Information Technology Report - Germany

World Economic Forum's Global Information Technology Report - Full Report

Statistisches Bundesamt (German Federal Office of Statistics)



KNOWLEDGE BASE Mobile - Internet Usage In Germany