TV reaches 99% of the population, but social network penetration in the country isn't diminished by traditional media
Germany is receiving a lot of attention in the media, with many of the headlines focused on the country’s strong economy compared to its neighbors. But the country is not only Europe’s largest exporter, it is also home to the largest base of consumers in Western Europe—consumers who are increasingly connected and who interact with a wide variety of media, ranging from TV to social networks.
According to BITKOM, the Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media in Germany, traditional media still has a long reach in the country. In March 2012, 99% of the population ages 14 and older watched TV, followed by usage of radio, magazines and newspapers at 94% penetration each. However, the internet was not far behind, with more than three-quarters of consumers in the country using it during the month.
BITKOM put social network usage at 55% of the 14-and-older population in Germany. eMarketer’s estimate for social network penetration for 2012 is a bit lower, coming in at 35.9% of the total population. However, eMarketer measures users of any age, and the inclusion of children under 14 would naturally depress this figure. In addition, eMarketer includes social network users who visit the sites at least once per month throughout the year, while BITKOM’s survey was of a single month’s usage.
Regardless, social networks in Germany show no signs of slowing down. eMarketer forecasts total social network users in Germany to reach 34.7 million in 2014, almost 43% of the total population.
Facebook was the most popular social network in the country, surpassing local incumbents StudiVZ sites and Wer-Kennt-Wen.de, according to October 2011 data from comScore. eMarketer estimates that 20 million people in Germany will access Facebook at least once per month during 2012, nearly a quarter of the total population and 68.5% of total social network users in the country.
Socialbakers.com, an analytics firm that reports data directly from Facebook’s API, estimated Facebook users in Germany at 23.2 million in April 2012, but this may have included duplicate accounts. The firm found that users in Germany skew slightly more female, and that most users were between 18 to 34 years old.
The demographic data is not particularly surprising. Germany has a significant population of young, urban professionals who are plugged in to the internet and can access via mobile devices. Also, many in the 18-to-34 age group have switched from StudiVZ, which marketed heavily to primary school and college students at the time of their founding but has been unable to maintain momentum as users migrated to the global network of Facebook. As a result, eMarketer expects Facebook to maintain a majority share, at 68% of all social network users, through 2014.
Traditional media may be entrenched in Germany, but digital media is catching on fast among highly desirable demographic segments. Digital media, social networks and Facebook are all benefitting from universal growth.
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Check out today’s other articles, “Are Brands Seeing More Engagement on Google+?” and “Social Video Grows by Leaps and Bounds.”