Benchmarking the EU’s Digital Engagement: Germany

In this third edition of a five-part series on digital transformation in the European Union, PYMNTS will be looking at data from Germany to uncover how digitally engaged people are in the country.

Read the report: Benchmarking World’s Digital Transformation

Following the previous two articles on the state of the digital transformation in Spain and the Netherlands, the “Benchmarking The World’s Digital Transformation” report showed that of the five EU countries surveyed — others are France and Italy — Germany has the third-largest share of the population connected to the internet at 89.8%.

On a global scale, this places the country just behind the U.S., where the report found that 90.8% of people had regular access to the internet.

Related: Benchmarking the EU’s Digital Engagement: Spain

Also related: Benchmarking the EU’s Digital Engagement: the Netherlands

Published in collaboration with Stripe, the report, which assesses digital engagement using PYMNTS’ ConnectedEconomy™ Index (CE Index), also found that 81% of the Germans surveyed owned a smartphone. This is less than was found in Spain (87%) but more than in the Netherlands (77%).

In terms of the different levels of engagement found among the German population, the picture was similar to that observed in the Netherlands, with a high level of digital engagement for 14.7% of respondents, 31.6% on a medium level, and 43.5% on a low level.

Delving into the generational breakdown of engagement levels, once again the German data depict similar patterns to what was observed in the Netherlands.

The Gen Z group (18 to 25 years) scored the highest with a CE Index of 43. This is higher than Dutch Gen Zs but not as high as what was found in Spain, where Gen Zs were the most digitally engaged of all groups, scoring 46.

Read more: How the World Does Digital: More Millennials Than Boomers

After Gen Z, Germany’s millennials (26 to 41 years) scored 37, bridge millennials (34 to 43 years) scored 34, the Gen X group 25, and the Baby Boomers/Seniors scored just 15, slightly higher than the equivalent age group in the Netherlands, who scored 14.

Payment Preferences

The Connected Economy Report also considered the different payment preferences and behaviors found in each country.

The report found that PayPal is the most commonly used digital wallet in Germany, where it accounts for 37% of all online transactions.

Germans also have a high preference for digital wallets compared to the rest of the EU-5 respondents, with 43.9% of all domestic online transactions in the country using digital wallets. Among the EU-5, only Italy at 42.1% comes close to Germany in preference for digital wallets.

Related: Germany’s Ratepay Partners With PayPal Checkout

Apart from mobile wallets, card-based payments and bank transfers were reported as the most popular means of paying online, with each one representing a little over 26% of all online transactions.

When it comes to shopping in-store, Germany has the highest preference for cash of any country studied, with 37.9% of all in-store transactions being cash-based.

And that preference for hard currency is not new.

A 2016 PYMNTS Global Cash Index study found that Germany had some of the highest cash usage in Western Europe with a cash share of 20%. To put that into perspective, in that same report the Netherlands was observed to have a cash share of just 7.1%.

Further reading: Read the Global Cash Index


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