Why can people live without a telephone

Bitkom: 71 percent cannot imagine life without a smartphone

Stephan Wiesend

The number of smartphone users has continued to rise, and the proportion of older smartphone users is falling.

EnlargeSmartphones make everyday life easier.

For many, smartphones have become an indispensable part of everyday life; according to Bitkom, this has even increased in the last year. For 80 percent of the Germans surveyed, smartphones are currently a great relief in everyday life, compared with 67 percent last year. Today only 29 percent of German citizens can imagine a life without a smartphone, last year it was 39 percent. It is also no longer just young people who own a smartphone. The proportion of iPhone and Android users has grown rapidly, especially among those over 65, from 28 percent in the previous year to 39 percent. 78 percent of all over 14-year-olds owned a smartphone in 2017, making a total of 54 million users. One can therefore assume that the mobile despisers are mainly older citizens.

Internet of Things is still a side issue

The Internet of Things is the big media topic, which is why Bitkom asked the respondents which devices they have already connected their smartphone to. The winner is the German's favorite everyday device: the car with 36 percent. Smartwatch and audio devices follow with 19 and 15 percent respectively. A short distance behind are fitness armbands, games consoles and smart TVs. Household appliances come in last, less than a tenth have already connected their smartphone to a household appliance such as a Philips Hue or an intelligent coffee machine.

Camera and google

EnlargeThe most common wish for the next smartphone is better battery life.

What is the smartphone used for? A whopping hundred percent continue to use it for phone calls, and 90 percent use it as a camera. Search engines and Google query 79 percent with it, other main uses are listening to music, reading the news and social networks. With 46 percent and 43 percent, the banking and shopping functions are rather lagging behind. But dating via smartphone is also limited to certain age groups at 22 percent.

When it comes to the question of what people bought with a smartphone in the past year, online shopping (for example via Amazon and Zalando) is the front runner with 51 percent. After all, 28 percent bought games and 22 percent booked trips or train rides. Bad for publishers: only 19 percent of Germans bought news texts, music just 17 percent and a meager 13 percent films and videos.

Interesting: The number of users has increased, but the revenues and sales figures for smartphones are stagnating at a high level. Compared to the previous year, sales in Germany grew from 10 to 10.1 billion, the number of devices sold fell from 25.2 to 24.8 million devices. In 2015, sales were 10.6 billion euros, with 26.2 billion devices. A buyer spent around 400 euros per smartphone, just like in previous years. Apparently, Germans are also well supplied with up-to-date devices: Most of the respondents own a relatively new model, and only 37 percent have the device older than twelve months.

The data volume, on the other hand, has increased rapidly and is currently 1200 million gigabytes. A year ago it was 860 million, ten years ago it was 11 million.

Wishes for the next smartphone

When asked what the respondents want for their new smartphone, the focus is on quality and performance. 55 percent would like a longer battery life, 42 percent more storage capacity. One in three would also like to have a better camera in the next device, and one in four would also like more computing power. Only three entries were possible here; only a few choose further requests such as a larger display, 3D functionality and water resistance. The respondents apparently place little value on the appearance, only 5 percent value a more beautiful design and only 4 percent value a curved or flexible screen.