While Facebook has achieved significant market penetration in both Switzerland and France this year, with over 14% of the Swiss population and 10% of the French population, growth has been significant but more measured in neighboring Germany. During 2008, the number of Facebook users in Germany grew 144% from just under 500,000 to nearly 1.2 million.
While this isn’t as high as the 400%+ growth in countries like France and Switzerland, Facebook is gaining ground on its German competitors. Facebook’s doppelganger in Germany, Berlin-based StudiVZ, has reached almost 13 million users, close to 16% of the population. Xing, another popular social network based in Hamburg has reached half of that with 6.5 million users. Both sites have a big lead over Facebook’s 1% penetration in the country.
Facebook’s legal battle with StudiVZ is still unresolved. Reports that Facebook was negotiating an acquisition of StudiVZ are also yet to materialize.
For its part, Facebook has been stepping up its efforts to market more to German users. Through their internationalization efforts, Facebook released the German language version of Facebook in March of 2008. And in October, we saw Facebook reach out to German developers by launching a Facebook German Application contest similar to the fbFund.
We’ll be continuing to track the growth of Facebook in Deutschland in 2009!