Western European Internet Usage Rockets, Says IDC

LONDON, APRIL 4, 2000 – 1999 showed tremendous growth rates in terms of Internet penetration in Western Europe. The total number of users almost doubled between the beginning and end of the year. At the turn of the millennium, IDC noted that Western Europe had an Internet population of 81 million users, spending approximately 10.3 billion euros online. The new research from IDC predicts growth of the region's online population to 215 million, or over half the population, spending over 125 billion euros by the end of 2003.

"Although the number of Internet users rocketed in 1999, the share of users that buy online is still relatively limited," said Stefan Elmer, research analyst for IDC's European Internet and eCommerce Strategies program. "Only 15% of the users purchase products or services online every quarter, which probably reflects the lack of trust in the shops and online purchasing processes." Fifteen percent, however, does represent, for the first time, a significant part of the entire population. While only just over 3% of Western Europeans buy online today, IDC expects 20% to regularly purchase products and services online by yearend 2003.

"Part of the reason for the forecasted growth is a rapidly increasing number of access devices," Elmer said. IDC estimates there are currently around 45 million Web access devices in Europe and that this number will triple over the course of the next four years. "Currently the PC is the main Internet access device, but we believe alternative access devices such as screen phones and set-top boxes will supplement the PC, to an increasing extent, over the coming years."

"There is, however, a great variation in terms of Internet usage and growth rates from country to country," Elmer added. "With Internet penetrations between 36% and 45%, the Nordic countries continue to be the most advanced and are around a year and a half ahead of the European average." The United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands are not far behind the Nordic leaders and are just ahead of the European average. "France and Italy have substantially lower rates but have fairly high growth rates. Portugal and Greece are Europe's laggards and are some four years behind the average," Elmer concluded.

Internet Usage and Commerce in Western Europe 1998-2003 (IDC #I03F) sizes and forecasts this market and includes the number of people accessing the World Wide Web, the number of Web-access devices, the number of users buying on the Web, and average spending rates per buyer. Data and forecasts are segmented by country and by access location (home, work, and school/public access). Internet commerce data and forecasts are segmented by business-to business and business-to-commerce and broken down by 19 product and services categories at the European level. This report is available to purchase from your local IDC office.

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, relevant, and high-impact data and insight on information technology to help organizations make sound business and technology decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide IT markets and technology trends and analyzes IT products and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC is committed to providing global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in 43 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at http://www.idc.com.

IDC is a division of International Data Group, the world's leading IT media, research, and exposition company.

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