Digitization in Germany: the state of the nation

“Digitalization is the megatrend of the 21st century: Through digital processes, products and offers, companies are shaping technological progress and making a major contribution to prosperity and growth in Germany,” said Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier on Tuesday, January 22, at the launch of the Study “D21 Digital Index 2018/2019” the initiative D21.

The study, conducted by Kantar TNS, provides a comprehensive picture of the digital society every year.

Digitalization has arrived in the middle of society.

On a scale of 0 to 100 points, the German company has achieved a mean index value of 55 points. The digital index thus rises by 2 points compared to the previous year. Reason for the increase are increases in access (+6 points) and in competence (+2 points). The user behavior decreases slightly (-1 point), the openness to digital topics remains the same.

84 percent of the German population are online, which is an increase of three percentage points. This stems in particular from the increasing popularity of the mobile Internet, which is now used by 68 percent of the population (+4 percentage points). The biggest growth – and with it
A key factor in the increase – the older generations are registering: 79 percent of the 60 to 69 year olds and now 45 percent of the over 70 year olds are online.


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Graphic: D21 Digital Index 2018/2019, a study by Initiative D21, Kantar TNS

Fewer people in the digital offside

The D21 Digital Index divides the population into different user groups and types with specific characteristics. A shift towards the more digital groups can be observed in comparison to previous years. The group of digital outsiders shrinks by four percentage points to 21 percent and thus still comprises about 13 million people. The largest group is still Digital Mithalteende with 42 percent (+1 percentage point), which corresponds to about 27 million people.

The largest increase was recorded by the group of digital pioneers, which now account for 37 percent of the German population (+3 percentage points). This group deals very openly and confidently with the requirements and achievements of digitization.

If one considers the degree of digitization in connection with various socio-economic factors, it becomes clear in which areas digital splitting takes place. Although parts of older generations are catching up, younger generations are still much more digitally digital. Higher educated people on average have a much higher degree of digitization than people with lower formal education.

Also interesting: the digital industry as a job engine

Likewise, professional activity in general, but especially desk work, leads to more points of contact and experience with digital technologies and applications and thus to a higher digital index. Most people bring their own digital skills through trial and error (58 percent) or get help from acquaintances. Almost one in five is not digitally educated (19 percent).

Hannes Schwaderer, President of the D21 Initiative, says: “More incentives need to be created to ensure that digitization does not bypass people with lower educational attainment and rural areas, and the only answer is to get more involved in people’s minds invest – this has to start especially in schools and to continue consistently in professional life. “

The professional world is becoming more digital, but flexible working remains the exception

Almost half of the employees assume that their profession will change noticeably in the near future as a result of digitization. 38 percent see this as an opportunity for new job developments in their work environment.

However, 41 percent feel that they are under constant pressure to learn and adapt through digitization. Because lifelong learning is the prerequisite for professional success, as 84 percent of the working population think so.

For half of the working people, temporally and spatially flexible working means an increase in their own quality of life. But mobile work remains the exception so far: Only 16 percent work according to their own information, occasionally regardless of location or time.

In a quarter of them, the company does not create the necessary conditions. Another quarter say they are not interested. For more than half, flexible working in one’s own field of activity is generally not possible.

Still little experience with e-health and smart home

Only a small minority of the German population has already gained personal experience with e-health or smart home applications. The most common is digital health applications, which have so far used twelve percent.

Half as many people have personal experience with smart home appliances or robots. So far, smart home and e-health applications remain niche products for technology enthusiasts.

Also interesting: Europe threatens to be subject in the technology race

Regardless of the actual usage, however, there is a certain openness to this technology: One in three can imagine the future use of household robots, surveillance cameras connected to the Internet or app-controlled lighting and heating systems.

The health consequences of digitalisation value more people positively than negative, both for themselves and for society as a whole. The majority, however, sees the impact as neutral. Looking to the future, people in Germany are optimistic: both on a personal and societal level, they believe that digitization will have more positive health effects in 15 years than they currently feel.

About the study:
The D21 Digital Index is a study by Initiative D21, conducted by Kantar TNS. It covers the German resident population from the age of 14 years. By means of a personal-oral survey, a so-called “face-to-face” survey (CAPI = computer-aided personal interview), 20,406 interviews were conducted in Germany, of which 2,052 were with in-depth questions. The study project is jointly funded by a grant from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as well as sponsoring.

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