Study by ARD and ZDF: This is how the Internet is used in Germany

The online study 2020 by ARD and ZDF came to some exciting results. For the first time, Instagram is more popular than Facebook, and video offers are also enjoying increasing popularity.

The online study by ARD and ZDF has been collecting data on Internet use in Germany every year since 1997. About 1,500 representative German-speaking people aged 14 and over were interviewed. According to the study, the already high number of Internet users increased again this year – by 3.5 million. 94 percent of all people aged 14 and over use the Internet occasionally or more often. That is 66.4 million people in Germany.

People under the age of 30 spend over six hours on the Internet

The high number of new Internet users is primarily due to the growing interest of the older population aged 60 and over. Because this has an ever increasing online presence. But when it comes to length of time they have been using the Internet, the youngest respondents are clearly ahead. While the average spends around 3.5 hours a day online – two of them using media offers – the group of 14 to 29 year olds already spends 6.5 hours. More than four hours of this are spent consuming media offers. That is almost an hour more than in 2019. The rest of the time, people shop, play or chat online.

Instagram more popular than Facebook for the first time

Users in Germany have lost a lot of interest in Facebook this year. While 21 percent were active on the social network every day in 2019, it will be only 14 percent in 2020. It also means that Instagram has overtaken Facebook in terms of daily usage this year. With 15 percent, the platform recorded one percentage point more than Facebook and gained two percent compared to 2019. Respondents use other social media platforms significantly less often. This is likely to change in the future, at least for the younger generation with regard to TikTok, because the platform is also becoming increasingly popular in Germany.

Different age groups use different video offers

Video offers from television stations, which can be accessed via the ARD or ZDF media libraries and YouTube, with a total of 65 percent of users, were ahead of streaming services such as Netflix. 47 percent of those surveyed use this. However, daily use was higher in the latter. There are clear differences between the age groups in terms of weekly consumption. The youngest users are increasingly using Netflix and Co., while the 30- to 49-year-olds use streaming services and offers from TV stations about the same frequency. ZDF head of planning Dr. Florian Kumb said of the results of the study:

Internet use is now the standard for the elderly as well. Being able to use media offerings with confidence continues to be a central growth driver. I am pleased that the public service offers benefit particularly strongly from this dynamic and that they have greater potential for use than streaming services.

Great interest in music streaming and podcasts

Audio offers on the Internet were also used a lot in 2020. Music streaming in particular is very popular. 35 percent use music streaming services at least once a week and 31 percent listen to music via YouTube. Podcasts are of particular interest to the younger target group. 24 percent listen to podcasts every week. The overall average was twelve percent.

Overall, the online activity of the German population has increased again. One of the reasons for this is the current situation. Because many people spent a large part of 2020 at home due to the corona pandemic, and probably used this time more to be active on the Internet and take advantage of online offers.


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