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Germany's consumers are fast becoming "mobile first", according to the most recent “Global Mobile Consumer Survey” from consultancy Deloitte. The firm sampled 49,000 consumers around the world for the fifth annual edition of this survey. In Germany, researchers canvassed 2,000 internet users ages 18 to 75 in July 2015.
For the first time, penetration of smartphones in Germany surpassed that of laptops, Deloitte reported. Fully 75% of internet users polled said they had access to an advanced handset in their household, compared with 72% who had a laptop. Tablets ranked third, with 45% of respondents saying they had one at home—a gain of 11 percentage points in one year.
Like laptops, standard mobile phones have lost favor as Germany's consumers trade up to smartphones and tablets. Between 2014 and 2015, penetration of feature phones dropped from 42% to 29%, Deloitte found.
Meanwhile, the internet of things (IoT) still appears to be “at the starting line.” Admittedly, 42% of respondents in Germany already had a smart TV. But very few had items such as connected cars, smart lighting or a smart thermostat. And no more than 5% were planning to invest in any of these during the next year. Even security cameras were not high on the shopping list; only 3% of the sample already had a web-enabled camera at home, and just 6% thought they would buy one in the coming 12 months.
Deloitte also asked consumers about wearables—specifically, whether they owned a fitness tracker or smart watch—and got similar results. The market for both devices is embryonic in Germany; just 4% of respondents had a fitness tracker and 3% had a smart watch.
While mainstream adoption seems rather distant, interest in such accessories is growing. Some 7% of web users polled by Deloitte said they’d consider buying a fitness tracker in the next year, and 8% would consider purchasing a smart watch. That proportion had more than doubled since 2014.
Purchase intention was highest in the 25-to-34-year-old age group, Deloitte indicated, and among iPhone users. In that particular cohort, 15% said they planned to buy a smart watch within a year. As the report noted, the launch of the Apple Watch has raised awareness and curiosity, especially in the ranks of Apple's famously loyal customers. But Deloitte advised all makers of smart watches to capitalize on the current momentum, in order to drive purchase beyond early adopters.
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