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Paying for Digital Content Ever More Commonplace in Germany

Double-digit growth in share of internet users who pay for digital content, with games and music the most popular

February 1, 2017 | Advertising & Marketing

The share of internet users in Germany who have paid for digital content or services is modest but growing, across all adult age groups, according to recent survey data.

Internet Users in Germany Who Purchase Digital Services/Content, by Age, Jan 2017 (% of respondents in each group)

January 2017 polling by DCI Institute and Hochschule Fresenius found that 17.6% of internet users ages 18 and older pay for digital services or content, a 37.5% increase from the 12.8% who said the same in a February 2016 version of the study.

Moreover, this increase was spread across age groups. The biggest jumps this year were among older internet users, led by those ages 45 to 54 and 55 to 64. Both groups saw the share of respondents paying for digital content or services increase by 86.0%—to 18.6% and 16.0%, respectively. The proportion of those ages 65 and older who had paid for content rose nearly 85%, to 13.3%.

Leading Digital Content/Service Categories Purchased by Internet Users in Germany, Jan 2017 (% of respondents)

Among 18- to 44-year-olds, that behavior rose an average of 25.6%. Overall, 25-to-34-year-old respondents were the most likely to have paid for digital content or services, with 21.7% having done so last month.

Games were the leading content category purchased by those internet users who had paid for digital content or services, at 54.3% of respondents, followed by music (53.1%). Those rankings are the reverse of last year’s, due to a nearly 14% increase in response rate for games, and a drop of almost 3% for music.

Movies and TV series, trade and specialized information, and news all saw gains this year in the share of internet users who paid for those content types. However, the share of respondents who had purchased ebooks fell approximately 6%, to 26.2%.

This study follows a report by Germany’s music industry trade group Bundesverband Musikindustrie (BVMI), which found that sales of digital formats represented a record-high 38.0% of the country’s music sales last year, with streaming subscriptions responsible for the largest portion of that number.

—Cliff Annicelli

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