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Thanks to its robust infrastructure, high levels of education and investment, and an enviable history of technical expertise, Germany was always likely to be a leading digital power in Western Europe. Adoption of digital technology is still somewhat uneven, though, according to a new report published by the insurance provider Gothaer Versicherungsbank. It commissioned the forsa institute to survey 1,000 people ages 16 to 69 in November 2015.
On the one hand, 51% of the sample said they were interested or very interested in digital developments, such as online advances or new gadgets. Moreover, electronic devices are now so widespread that only a small minority of respondents—most of them 60 or older—were without one.
Overall, 75% said they used a smartphone and 70% a laptop or notebook. With the rise of portable devices, PC penetration had fallen; in late November, just 52% of consumers currently used one—and the proportion using a tablet was nearly as high, at 44%.
At the same time, social networking remains less popular in Germany than in many European countries. Only 47% of those polled said they used Facebook, for example. At least six in every 10 respondents did access YouTube and WhatsApp, but penetration of Instagram and Twitter were both low, at 13% and 10%, respectively. (In the UK, by contrast, eMarketer estimates that 20.1% of the population used Twitter at least once a month last year.) In all these cases, usage was far higher among those 16 to 29, and declined in direct correlation with age.
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