Almost 10% of Europeans Are Now Buying Online, IDC Says

LONDON, MARCH 16, 2001 – According to IDC's latest consumer study, almost half of the population in 14 European countries surfed the Internet over the last three months. In addition, one-fifth of this number, equating to 10% of the total adult population, have purchased something online over the same period.


"While the number of Web users has increased over last year, there is no massive increase in time or money spent online," said Daniel O’Boyle Kelly, program manager of IDC's European Internet expertise center. 29% of Internet users are now spending over 3-4 hours a week online, compared with 24% last year, and 52% spent less than EUR100 online in the last three months, which is the same as last year's result.

The European Internet population is moving closer to equal proportions of men and women. 43% of European Internet users are women, which is up 3% over the previous year. "However, men are more enthusiastic Internet users than women, spend more time surfing, and are much more likely to shop online," said O’Boyle Kelly.

Web users and buyers are still mostly found among young people, with more than half of all adult users being under 35 years old and only 10% over 55. "This result mirrors last year's and shows that the Internet population is not becoming noticeably younger or older," O’Boyle Kelly said.

In addition, IDC's eConsumer study looked at people's reasons for not using the Internet and not buying online. "With the proliferation of free ISPs, it seems that expense is not an inhibitor to people surfing the Web," said O'Boyle Kelly. Only 7% of non-users blamed the cost associated with using the Internet as one of their primary concerns and even less – only 1% – blamed slow connections and instability of the Internet. "In fact, the study showed that it is hard to explain why non-users don't surf," O’Boyle Kelly said. According to the study, one-third of all respondents were just not interested, around 15% said it was too difficult, 3% don't trust it, and the remainder could not be categorized.

The core reasons surfers don't purchase online center around inconvenience or risk – 16% do not trust the shops themselves and almost a quarter have doubts about the payment system. "Another quarter of respondents found it impersonal to shop online and preferred the social contact inherent in traditional shopping. Overcoming these barriers will be one of the key challenges for European etailers over the coming years," concluded O’Boyle Kelly.

IDC's Annual eConsumer Survey: European Internet Economy – Ready for 2001? (IDC #I02G) provides a comprehensive view of Internet usage and online purchasing patterns within Western Europe. In particular, the study covers Internet usage patterns, purchasing behavior and barriers, and opportunities in both of these areas. The results are presented at a country-level and analyzed according to a number of demographic variables such as sex, age, household size, education level, and city size. This study is available to purchase from your local IDC office.

About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

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


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