German Mobile Browsing Behavior

Goals

To understand how Germans decide which mobile browser to use, which factors makes them switch the default mobile browser on their smartphone to an alternative, what they think about browsing, and/or if they are aware that their browser choice can have an impact on how much data gets collected while surfing the web. This is to understand German behavior when it comes to mobile browsing.

Early Findings

Mobile and Desktop Browser Usage in Germany

  • The most popular mobile browsers in Germany are Chrome Mobile (41.30% ), followed by Safari (32.93%), Samsung Browser (20.08%), then Firefox (2.10%).
  • The most popular desktop browsers in Germany are Chrome and Firefox. Chrome 79.0 is the most used internet browser at 34.85%, followed by Firefox 72.0 at 13.85%.
  • According to a 2018 study, mobile use has increased over the last three years, however, most Internet use still takes place via a PC (laptop or desktop; 77% on weekdays and 72% on weekends) compared to mobile phones (69% on weekdays and 60% on weekends).

Google vs. Firefox

  • In 2019, the German Federal Office for Information Security (Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik, or BSI) made an audit of five desktop web browsers (Google Chrome, Apple’s Safari, Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer, and Mozilla’s Firefox).
  • Firefox was the only browser to pass the audit, as it was the only one that supported a true master password. It was also the only browser that allows users or administrators to disable the collection of usage data and was noted to have better transparency on how user data is handled.
  • Firefox use in Germany is about "10 points higher than its global average and has been a popular browser in Germany for some time. Despite this, Google Chrome currently occupies the number one spot in Germany.
  • 90% of general search requests in Germany go through Google. The concentrated number of users on Google gives it a considerable advantage in improving search results, especially since it gives users better results the more often it is used (since it learns from the search behavior of its users). This is possibly why it is a popular browser in Germany.

German Perception of Data Collection

  • A 2015 survey of 33,000 Germans, found that "69% of German users were aware that data can be collected on all devices (e.g. TV or game console) connected to the internet."
  • 87% of respondents noted that they did not agree with applications or services automatically accessing their data.
  • 60% of German respondents generally did not trust private companies in properly handling their data.
  • 84% of German respondents did not agree with service providers getting access to their personal data.

Summary

  • For this hour, we tried identifying as much of the requested information as possible. We were able to identify some findings on mobile browser usage in Germany, as well as their perception of data collection.
  • There did not appear to be any data, surveys, or studies on how Germans decide which mobile browser to use, what factors make them switch the default mobile browser on their smartphones, or what they think about browsing in general. But our findings indicate that they are aware of how much data gets collecting while surfing the web.
  • The statistics above were based on a 2015 D21 Digital Index report. More recent surveys were available, but did not appear to include information specific to German perception of data collection and focused on other digital themes. Additionally, the findings needed to be translated using Google translate, since it was written in German.
  • In the course of our research, we also found some insights on the use of social media in Germany (in general), as well as insights on a German investigation of Facebook data-gathering practices, which might also be of interest.
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