Western Europeans Developing Their Own Internet Style

One out of four Western Europeans used the Internet in the previous three months, and 5% of the total adult population (over 15 years old) made online purchases during the same period, according to a study by International Data Corp. (IDC), Framingham, Mass. The study also noted that women represented 41% of European Internet users. The study is based on fall-1999 survey results of 10,600 households in the 12 largest European Internet markets (Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, and Austria). Only one in four Internet users stayed online for more than half an hour a day, reflecting different intent and the higher cost of usage than in the United States. "Europe seems to be developing a different online culture than the United States, with more focused Internet usage and less spontaneous surfing," says IDC Internet analyst Stefan Elmer. "One of the reasons for this is, despite the free Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the European Internet users incur relatively high telecommunications charges." Begun in the smaller Nordic countries, e-commerce has now spread to the large Northern and Central European economies, with Germany and the UK currently accounting for more than half of all European Internet buyers. Internet use ranges from 58% in Sweden, the most advanced country, to 16% in France, the European laggard in terms of Internet penetration. Eleven percent of the British adult population said they have purchased online in the last three months, while less than 2% have done the same in Spain.

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