On the occasion of the German Digital Day (‘Digitaltag’), the digital association Bitkom presented the results of recent consumer surveys on the attitudes towards digitization and technological progress in Germany.
The results show a differentiated picture: A majority of 54 percent of consumers criticized the pace of digitization as too slow, while on the other hand 15 percent criticized its speed as too fast. At 72 percent, the vast majority of Germans are nevertheless open to new technical devices and digital services.
For this study, Bitkom Research, on behalf of the German initiative ‘Digital for all’, interviewed a total of 1,004 people in Germany aged above 16 and above by telephone in April 2021 about their personal views on digitalization.
These are further insights:
- 15 percent of German consumers rated the pace of digitization as too fast, while for just under a third (29 percent) it is just right.
- Older people over 75 years in particular criticized the speed as too fast (37 percent) compared to only one tenth of 16- to 29-year-olds.
- Between the years 2020 and 2021, the share of respondents saying that digitization was progressing too slowly increased from 47 percent to 54 percent.
- Also, general interest and openness towards new technical devices and digital services significantly increased by 15 percent points to 72 percent compared to the year before.
- Moreover, 37 percent of consumers said they would use new technological devices and services if it was to their benefit – compared to 30 percent in 2020. Another 35 percent (37 percent in 2020) was very keen and wanted to use innovations as soon as they got released.
- 17 percent (21 percent in 2020) of respondents described themselves as rather reluctant to embrace innovations, and nine percent of respondents rejected the technologization of society.
- Interest in technological progress was particularly high among 16- to 29-year-olds, 56 percent of whom wanted to use new devices and services as soon as they appeared. But still, 48 percent of consumers over the age of 75 were open to innovations, and a further 13 percent even engaged extensively with new devices and technological offers.
Anna-Lena Hosenfeld, managing director of the initiative 'Digital for all' commented: "The fact that opinions on the pace of digitization of the economy and society diverge so much shows: We need to work much harder to ensure that everyone has access to the Digital World and can navigate their way around it. Our studies also show that digitalization is most understandable when people associate it with concrete applications and can make a personal connection. (...) The great openness to progress – across all age groups – is an important signal. Because generally, we are observing a digital divide in Germany. Many people are not yet able to move independently and confidently in the digital age."