I'm struggeling to find a concrete explanation/differentiation for both terms, "Nutzungsverhalten" and "Nutzerverhalten". I've seen Nutzungsverhalten being used mostly in the context of online-/media-usage, mainly denoting usage frequency and duration. In contrast, Nutzerverhalten being mostly used in the context of efficient energy use.

Intuitively, generally I would say Nutzungsverhalten denotes how something is used and Nutzerverhalten denotes how someone uses something.

My question is, is there actually a difference in general or are these just two terms for the same thing that are established differently in various contexts?

  • Both words are not in the DUDEN. They first came up 50 years ago
    – Em1
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 8:48

2 Answers 2


The meaning of a composite noun (these may not all be listed in dictionaries) may become obvious when we split it. This should be done from right to left as the last noun defines the topic:

  • Verhalten = behaviour, manner, characteristics, performance,...
  • Nutzer = user
  • Nutzung = utilisation, type of use,...

From this we can put the parts together again to get the meaning e.g.

  • Nutzerverhalten = Behaviour a user shows
  • Nutzungsverhalten = Manner of utilisation

Note that in "Nutzungsverhalten" building this composition is somewhat redundant as "-verhalten" is already included in the meaning of "Nutzung".

  • I see, so Nutzerverhalten is somehow like a specific realization of the general Nutzungsverhalten: How someone specific uses something in contrast to How some population uses something(s) ? Or is the Nutzungsverhalten indeed a subset of the Nutzerverhalten (the user does other things besides utilizing this something)?
    – moooeeeep
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 9:50
  • 2
    @moooeeeep I don't think so. It's just a different point of view. Compare The mobile phone is used for phoning and texting. with The user places calls and writes messages with the mobile phone.
    – Em1
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 9:51
  • 1
    @Takkat Very good point. Verhalten in Nutzungsverhalten is somehow superfluous and unnecessary. Perhaps that's the reason why sometimes sentences sounds awkward.
    – Em1
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 10:07
  • hmm... I see why you would deem Verhalten redundant and yet, I think Nutzung is not HOW something is used. It is THAT something is used. The next example sounds a bit contrived: Die Nutzung der Toiletten kostet 50 Cent. or: Die Nutzung der Sonnenenergie muss ausgebaut werden. These Nutzungen cannot be replaced by Nutzungsverhalten. Thus Nutzungsverhalten may be seen as a subgroup of Nutzung but there is a Nutzung which is NOT euqal to Nutzungsverhalten, so why not have 2 terms to avoid confusion. It is not redundant, I think.
    – Emanuel
    Commented Jul 11, 2012 at 12:27

The usage of both words is common when talking about phones and Internet. As already mentioned in my comments the words came up about 1960.

Nutzerverhalten means "das Verhalten eines Nutzers", so how he acts when using something. That's what you already thought. You're also right for Nutzungsverhalten which means how something is used. Nonetheless I guess most people do not really differentiate those words.

Here are some usage examples from Die Zeit online, but I must say that a few sentences sounds odd to me. Sometimes, I think, it would be better to describe what the Nutzer- or Nutzungsverhalten actually is than just using that word.

YouTube habe eine sogenannte Störer-Haftung, sei also für das Nutzerverhalten verantwortlich. ZEIT

An ihren grundlegenden Konzepten wagte kein Hersteller mehr zu rütteln zu eingeschliffen schien das Nutzerverhalten zu sein. ZEIT

Der Grund dafür ist, dass sich das Nutzungsverhalten der Menschen änderte. ZEIT

Um das Nutzungsverhalten unserer User besser zu verstehen, können IP-Adressen in verschlüsselter Form gespeichert werden. ZEIT

Das erste iPhone kam 2007 auf den Markt, seitdem verändert sich das Nutzungsverhalten bei Internet und Mobiltelefonen massiv. ZEIT

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