Using digital media is already a normal part of life for many Germans today. Experts predict that the future will bring further digitization and networking, with broader bandwidths, faster download speeds and more widespread use of mobile broadband connections further influencing and shaping the way we communicate. The survey also highlights the key issues for consumers today and in the future: superior data security, intuitive user interfaces, greater ease of use of consumer devices, and high-speed services.
Device ownership and communications behavior
The study shows that most of the consumers surveyed have long been comfortable with using digital media. Around 86 percent of Germans questioned stated that interacting with digital media was an important part of their daily life. As such, Germany ranks first among all the nations included in the study when it comes to digital media use. Hungary is in second place, with 85 percent, while the USA brings up the rear with 70 percent (see Figure 5).
64% of the Germans surveyed believe that modern technical devices and Internet services make everyday life easier and improve their quality of life. What’s more, these benefits are not just limited to younger target groups, with 54 percent of respondents thinking that the Internet also makes life easier for older people.
Mobile access is also important to Germans, with over half of the respondents (51 percent) using their devices on the move. This figure is even higher among the digital avant-garde, reaching 85 percent (see Figure 6). The design of consumer devices appears to be gaining in importance. Although only just under a quarter of Germans agree with the statement “It is important that I own and use stylish consumer devices,” at 42 percent nearly twice as many South Koreans attach importance to design. As a comparison, 66 percent of the digital avant-garde reference group believes it is important to own stylish devices, with 62 percent of the same group even saying that design was as important as technical functionality. As such, design is expected to increase in importance among the general German population over time (see Figure 7).
A further indication of today’s high level of networking is the respondents’ desire to be constantly contactable. Around 53 percent of all Germans surveyed said it was important or very important to always be available, while this figure was even higher in the remaining countries. For example, this opinion is shared by 85 percent of respondents in South Korea, and 75 percent in France.
Looking at device ownership shows that mobile phones and desktop computers are already standard items in the home today: 96 percent of German respondents own a mobile phone, and 84 percent a PC. Around 68 percent own an MP3 player, 60 percent a laptop, and almost half of everyone surveyed had a games console at home or planned to buy one in the next 12 months.
And the market for set-top boxes is another area where the future has already begun: in Great Britain, one in two respondents owns a set-top box, while in Germany the digital avant-garde give an indication of the future trend. 21 percent of this trend-setting group already own a set-top box, with a further 24 percent planning to buy one over the next 12 months. An additional indication for the increasing importance of networking is consumer willingness to spend money on quality: Around 68 percent of the digital avant-garde in Germany agree with the statement, “For good quality in communications technology and media services I am willing to pay a little more.” (see Figure 8).