The Internet in Europe

When it comes to email, UK Internet users are ahead of the European pack, according to research by BMRB International.

More than 50 percent of the UK’s Internet users are using email to chat with friends, BMRB found. The European average is 34 percent. The lowest proportion of email users in Europe live in Italy, where only 18 percent of the Internet users use email. BMRB reported that Sweden, Denmark, and Finland also come in above the European average in email usage.

It’s Sweden that dominates overall Internet usage in Europe. More than half of the Swedish population has used the Internet, BMRB found. Other European nations with high rates of Internet usage include Finland (50 percent) and Denmark (46 percent).

At the other end of the scale, BMRB found that only 19 percent of Italians have ever used the Internet. Less than one-third of the people in the UK, Austria, and The Netherlands have gone online.

In the UK, 52 percent of Internet users use email for personal reasons, compared to 47 percent that use it for work. Users in eight of the European nations in BMRB’s study, cite email as their top use for the Internet. The Belgians and Spanish like traveling to news and sports sites on the Web, while the Italians and Dutch use the Web to research hobbies and interests.

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Twenty-eight percent of European Internet users have visited entertainment sites, including adult sites. Internet users in Finland are the most likely to visit entertainment sites (50 percent have done so), followed by the Austrians (41 percent). In the UK, 28 percent of the Internet users have visited entertainment sites. Entertainment sites are least popular with German Internet users. Only 25 percent of German users have visited entertainment sites.

Home vs. Work Access

Internet users in most European countries are more likely to access the Internet from work than home or school. Internet users are more likely to access the Net from home in Sweden, Denmark, and Germany. Home and work access is equal in Belgium and Spain, BMRB reported, and school access is highest in France, Ireland, and Austria.

BMRB found that home users of the Internet in Europe connect more frequently than those that access the Net elsewhere. Finnish users connect almost everyday, according to BMRB, while only 29 percent of UK users and 15 percent of Spanish users do so. The Spanish, however, stay online longer, with an average of more than one hour on the Net for each day they connect. By comparison, UK users average about 50 minutes.

Online Banking & Shopping

In Europe, BMRB found that banking via the Internet is more popular than shopping online, except in the UK, Spain, and Austria. Internet users in Finland are the most active online bankers, with 44 percent of home users in that nation banking online, compared with just over one-fifth of the users in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and Sweden. Only 9 percent of the home Internet users in the UK bank online.

The top European nations for shopping from home via the Internet are Sweden, Spain, Austria, Finland, and the UK, BMRB found. Between 10 and 17 percent of the Internet users in those countries have purchased online.

“The European Internet market is highly diverse,” said BMRB’s Penny Sanders. “Development is, broadly speaking, more advanced in Scandinavia where the Internet is becoming part of everyday life at home as well as at work.”

More than one-third of UK Internet users are online advertising rejecters, according to BMRB. That means they are unlikely to interact with online advertising. UK users who have shopped online are more likely to reject online advertising than those that go online for other reasons.

Females now make up 39 percent of the Internet users in the UK, compared with 30 percent in 1995, BMRB found.

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