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Smartphones are increasingly the digital device of choice for many consumers in Germany, according to a Bitkom survey on smartphone usage and buying patterns. More than 1,000 consumers ages 14 and older, including 749 smartphone users, were polled in late January 2016. Survey results were released together with new forecasts of smartphone market growth in Germany, courtesy of the European Information Technology Observatory (EITO) —a Bitkom Research initiative in collaboration with International Data Corporation (IDC) and GfK.
The number of smartphones sold will rise 7.5% in 2016, to 28.2 million, based on trends evident in the past two years, according to EITO and IDC. In 2015, 26.2 million advanced handsets were sold in Germany, with sales value up 22%, to €10.3 billion ($11.43 billion). This year, receipts are expected to be marginally (0.7%) higher, at €10.4 billion ($11.54 billion).
With tens of millions of units sold, smartphone penetration in Germany has risen sharply in recent years, and 74% of respondents polled in January 2016 said they now used a smartphone, at least occasionally—a percentage equivalent to 51 million residents, and a gain of 9 percentage points compared with May 2015.
Smartphones have also emerged as a major route to the internet for Germany’s web users. While 43% of survey respondents said they mainly used a laptop to go online for private purposes, one in five said the smartphone was the device they used most frequently to access the web.
For consumers embracing the internet of things, the smartphone was also the key device—the “control center,” as Bitkom termed it. One-third of consumers polled said they had already connected their smartphone to their car, for example, and one in 10 had connected it to a sound system.
No more than 8% of Bitkom respondents had connected their phone to a game console, fitness tracker or smart TV, but at least some of these options are bound to become more popular. According to the September 2015 Deloitte report, 42% of internet users in Germany already owned a smart TV in July 2015—and many users will likely welcome the chance to use a smartphone as a smart TV controller.
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