21.06.2004  -  München

Turnaround in the German information economy

Germany largest market in Western Europe / 64 million DSL connections
worldwide – 4.5 million in Germany / Japan top in UMTS

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Munich, 21 June 2004 – Germany has the potential to become one of the leading ICT markets worldwide. Even today more than half of the industrial production and more than 80 per cent of German exports rely on the implementation and use of information and communication technologies.

According to the current 7th Factual Report of the market research company TNS Infratest, the German information industry is recovering. After years with a weak economic background and difficult markets not just in Germany, but worldwide, in 2004 the information industry sees signs of recovery.

ICT market in an upward trend

After three years with flat or even declining sales in some regions the world market for information and communication technologies (ICT) is are starting to recover. Have the global ICT sales grown by a mere 0.7 per cent in 2002, this growth figure increased to 1.4 per cent in 2003. And for the current year the European Information Technology Observatory (EITO) estimates that the worldwide ICT sales will grow by another 4.3 per cent to 2,160 billion Euro.

The biggest ICT markets in the world are the United States with a share of the total worldwide sales of 32.4 per cent and Japan with 12.3 per cent (2003). Germany currently accounts for about six per cent (129.3 billion Euro, 2004). With this amount Germany continues to be the biggest ICT market in Europe, followed by the United Kingdom and France.

Broadband and mobile communications remain leaders of innovation and growth

Mobile communications and especially broadband Internet connection technology remain the leading technologies in the past year. Of all existing broadband technologies DSL was the clear leader in the past year, with the highest penetration as well as the highest growth rates. According to Point Topic the number of DSL connections grew by 79 per cent in 2003 to a total of 64 million connections worldwide. Alternative broadband connections such as cable modem grew with a comparatively small rate of 41 per cent to 37 million.

In absolute figures China is the leading DSL nation worldwide with more than 11 million DSL lines (December 2003), followed by the United States and Japan with 10.3 and 9.3 million DSL connections. With 4.5 million installed DSL lines Germany comes fifth, just after South Korea. This makes Germany the leading DSL market in Europe as well.

WLAN and Wimax competing with UMTS

In 2003 2.4 million people worldwide used the third generation mobile technology UMTS. Currently Japan is clearly dominating the world market with nearly 1.9 million users of the Japanese UMTS service called FOMA. Within Europe Italy currently is the leading UMTS market with about 300,000 registered users.

While at least in the next one to two years GSM and GPRS will remain the most important mobile technologies, some experts believe that Wimax, the enhanced version of WLAN, could become an important competitor for UMTS within a few years' time – right at a time when UMTS is meant to become the leading mobile standard.

Reduced costs for PCs and Internet connections lead to increased Internet usage

The European industry association EITO forecasts that the number of Internet users in Western Europe will grow by 43.2 per cent until 2007. From 190 million users in 2003, the number of Internet users is estimated to grow to 272 million by 2007, while the part of the Western European population that uses the Internet will grow from 48.9 per cent (2003) to 69.3 per cent in 2007.

With 45.3 million Internet users Germany currently has the largest Internet community in Western Europe, followed by the United Kingdom with 35.1 million users. Based on the number of Internet users per 100 inhabitants Germany is, with an Internet user rate of a little more than 50 per cent (2003), located above the Western European average of 40 per cent, but comes after the Scandinavian countries and the UK.

E-commerce with strong growth

Most experts agree that growth rates will remain high in electronic commerce. Global Industry Analysts calculated that in 2003 the volume of worldwide e-commerce activities rose to 1.6 trillion Euro. For the current year this figure is forecasted to increase to 2.3 trillion Euro to reach 3.5 trillion Euro in 2005.

Taking together the EU member countries plus the EFTA countries Norway and Switzerland, Western Europe is the one of the biggest e-commerce markets in the world, second only to the United States. In 2003 about 480 billion Euro of goods and services were sold in B2B and B2C e-commerce. This figure is estimated to more than double to 1,087 billion Euro until the year 2005. In the same time Western Europe's share of the global e-commerce volume will raise from 25 per cent in 2000 to more than 30 per cent in 2005.

With 138.1 billion Euro of e-commerce sales in 2003, Germany was by far the largest e-commerce market in Europe, followed by the UK (84.9 billion Euro) and France (65.9 billion Euro). EITO estimates that the annual e-commerce sales in Germany will increase to more than 730 billion Euro by 2007.

These are some of the key results of the seventh Factual Report, prepared and published by the market research institute TNS Infratest (Munich). In cooperation with the Institute for Information Economics (Hattingen) and on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour (BMWA), TNS Infratest conducts a research project on "Monitoring the Information Economy" since 2000. The status of the German information industry including all the major subsectors have been systematically examined and analysed through yearly quantitative Factual Reports, supported by annual qualitative trend reports. Included is not only the status of the industry in Germany, but extensive international comparisons, including the US, Japan and the Asia-Pacific region, enhance the report.

Background information on the seventh Factual Report

The Factual Report includes results on the following topics:

The seventh Factual Report is an international benchmark study, which describes the past, present and future position of the information economy in Germany, Europe the US and the rest of the world. The desk research analysis is, as a continuous tracking study on the information economy, a valuable source for everyone who wants to rely on detailed source and data material in order to make the right decisions for the future. In addition, the annually updated Trend Report complements this analysis by polling German experts to obtain a detailed and comprehensive picture of opinions and moods in the information industry and close-by industries. A combination of these reports does not only disclose an overview of current and future developments but also indicates severe deficiencies and a precise call for action.

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