American Brands Lead in Belgium

Belgian Internet brands need to work on their online and off-line promotion in order to increase their awareness, because American brands are stronger, according to a report by Belgian research agency InSites.

InSites asked 745 Belgian Internet users to indicate their unaided brand awareness for 30 different product categories, their brand usage, and their aided brand awareness.

The strongest Internet brands among Belgian users appear to be American. Yahoo is known by 99 percent of the users, and 98 percent visit the site. Infoseek rang a bell with 87 percent of the respondents, 72 percent of them visit the site.

The strongest Internet brand among Belgian companies appears to be AdValvas, a search engine, which had an aided awareness of 93 percent and a visit percentage of 89 percent among the Belgian Internet audience, according to InSites.

Online music and bookstores in Belgium appear to be trailing their American counterparts in terms of brand awareness and visit behavior, InSites found. is recognized by 59 percent of the Belgian surfers, 40 percent have visited the site. The best-known Belgian brand in this arena is Proxis, which has a 38 percent brand awareness according to InSites. Companies with a strong offline presence have a better top-of-line brand awareness than Internet companies according to InSites. For example, in the online music category, Belgian company Fnac generates a better spontaneous awareness than and CDnow.

InSites also asked which product categories drive people to the Internet for more information. Belgian surfers took to the Web for search engines, television, newspapers, radio, and magazines. The least popular categories for Net surfing include furniture, interior home decoration, electrical home appliances, political parties, and audio/video appliances.

InSites found that there are product categories for which Belgian surfers have a relatively high interest, but that do not have a strong URL brand awareness and for which there exists very fragmented brand awareness. Examples include travel, clothing, and automobiles.

The users questioned by InSites had a minimum level of Internet experience and were questioned online during the last week of March, 1999.

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