Germany is increasingly a nation of mobile gadget users. An April 2013 survey from TNS Infratest found that penetration of mobile devices did vary between age groups, with younger consumers far more likely to use either a tablet or smartphone. While 78% of respondents ages 14 to 19 and 69% of those ages 20 to 29 used a mobile device, the proportion dropped to 15% among people 50 and older.
Though smartphones are more popular—with penetration in Germany estimated at 34.6% this year, according to eMarketer—tablets will also play a big role in the country’s digital habits as time goes on. eMarketer estimates that starting this year, Germany will see the second-highest tablet user penetration rate in the EU-5, behind only the UK. More than one-quarter of all residents are expected to use a tablet at least once a month this year, rising to 45.9% in 2017.
Older TNS respondents were clearly less engaged in the mobile culture in early 2013, but adoption of smartphones and tablets by this age bracket may well follow the pattern of internet adoption: Young people lead the way, and their elders are gradually won over by the many advantages these innovations offer.
Witness the fact that even the oldest respondents to the TNS study are now confirmed web users. When researchers asked whether respondents agreed that “a world without the internet is now unimaginable,” 71% of those 50 and older said they did. The proportion was only slightly higher—79%—among people in the 20-to-39 age bracket.
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