E-paper readers and their habits.

MEDIA REPUBLIK > news media > E-PAPER digital newspapers usage and habits GERMANY 2021

With steady growth in e-paper readership, Germany is one of the countries where the digital editions of daily and weekly newspapers have more success. 2020 was a peak year, but the trend is stable across all age groups. Some data about habits and motivations.










The steady growth of e-newspapers.

Some consider e-paper a transitional technology between the news on paper and the digital-first newspapers. Others see the e-paper as a digital edition, a curated selection that helps readers navigate the vast sea of uninterrupted news flow. The e-paper is no longer a “pdf version” of a paper layout but a habit-forming product and popular even among the younger generation.

Germany is a case in point, with steady growth in e-paper readership. In 2010, the sold e-paper circulation of newspapers in Germany was around 95,000 copies. Ten years later, the total digital circulation was already over two million copies.

Source: German Audit Bureau of Circulation (IVW), quarterly data


26% of Germans read e-papers.

Today, one in four Germans uses the e-paper edition of a newspaper. That percentage translates into over 2,15 million copies of digital newspapers and weekly newspapers sold (3Q 2021), and 2,24 million copies of periodic e-paper magazines, most of them part of a monthly subscription (which includes all subscription types: hybrid – paper and e-paper -; all digital plus e-paper; only e-paper).

Habits and motivations.

The study “E-Paper – Qualities 2021” by the German Association of Digital and News Publishers (BDZV) and the Zeitungsmarktforschung Gesellschaft (ZMG) delivers insights into the motives and usage habits of German e-papers – and readers.

It shows the younger and more educated, the higher the e-paper use. Digital reading is a conscious decision for 46 per cent, based on the several advantages, starting from the location-independent portability.

However, the vast majority of e-paper readers read digital editions at home: whether on the couch at home (71%), at the dining table (41%) or in bed (39%).

consumption epaper 2021

Basis: Leser E-Paper in den letzten vier Wochen (WLK)

Source: E-Paper-Qualitäten 2021 BDZV

Intense use of e-papers.

The digital edition is not a “gadget” that you own but not use. E-papers are used just as intensively as the paper edition: 73 per cent read at least half of all devote 37 minutes of reading time to their e-paper every day.

E-papers are a challenging product.

For product managers, the growing popularity of e-papers among all age groups represents a design challenge, too: the younger are mobile-first consumers, and not all digital editions are yet 100% made-for-mobile, or suffer some navigational issues (click, swipe, select not always optimal); the older groups prefer reading on a tablet or laptop/desktop.

Young people tend to use their mobile phones the most, older people tend to use tablet or desktop/laptop.
schermata 2021 12 15 alle 12.50.02

Source: : IVW 2020-4

For each reading experience, which is also transforming into a listening (narrated articles, both on-the-go and at home) and watching experience (embedded videos), the e-paper must experiment and develop accordingly.

The most popular e-papers in Germany, Bild, Handelsblatt, FAZ and Der Spiegel, are also examples of constant reworking to optimise user experience based on data signals and, especially Der Spiegel, frequent user surveys.

Go deeper: Germany and the e-newspapers.

A twelve page-summary, in German (but easy to read).

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