Of the 295 million about 82 million European users have access to the internet from home with more than half, 56 per cent, living in the UK, Germany and Italy.
David Day, director of analytics at ACNielsen eRatings.com, said the US and Japan are widely recognised as having the largest internet populations in the world.
‘We see a European penetration figure of 82 million people, which equates to one household in five. The UK, Germany and Italy are well worth watching in the coming months as they continue to emerge on the global scene,’ he said.
The report also showed that Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore account for about 37 million people who have access to the internet from a home PC.
Day also pointed out that most households with internet access use only one method of access. In Europe overall, only 22 per cent of households have access by way of more than one source.
Multiple sources are more common in Switzerland, where close to half the households connect through more than one device. Approximately a quarter of New Zealand households have two or more devices with internet access.
Finland has had a marked decrease in fixed line telephone penetration over the past few years but, according to the report, will be well placed when the anticipated increase in internet access through Wap technology devices takes off.
The picture in France is also interesting, because compared with the rest of Europe, internet access both at home and at work are low. According to the report, growth in online access in France will continue to trail the rest of Europe while online users’ needs are being met elsewhere.
On the subject of ecommerce, the UK had the highest browse-to-purchase ratio of all the European countries, with 64 per cent of UK internet users who have browsed for information also having made purchases in the past six months.
The lowest levels of browsing activity come from internet users in Belgium/Luxembourg, Italy, France and Spain. In Asia Pacific, web browsing is done more by Australians and New Zealanders than Singaporeans.
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