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RealTime IT News

Study: Europeans Shying Away From Online Buying

A study of Internet users in seven European countries shows there's a significant reluctance on the part of users to shop on the Web, with just 12.1% saying they log on to purchase products or services.

The "European Internet Household Survey," conducted in May by International Data Corp.(IDC), examined the volume of Europeans shopping online, their demographics, and the demographic data of overall Internet traffic. In addition, the report segmented locations from which Netizens access the Internet, such as home and work.

Of the 7,103 households surveyed in Germany, France, UK, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, online purchases are strongest in Germany, which recorded 18.7%, followed by Italy and the UK. Denmark was at the bottom of the buying barrel with just 4.7% of its users embracing electronic commerce.

The study also found that the European Internet purchaser profile is significantly different to that of the general user. According to the report, e-commerce users are more likely to be mature and frequent Net users who usually log on from both home and work. Of that group, men are more disposed to buying via the Web than women.

Among the Europeans queried, IDC said 47.9% revealed they most often log on from home. The workplace follows in Internet access locations accounting for 40.7%, and schools and universities trail in third place with 28.8%.

The study said that Europeans also tend to connect to the Net from more than one location. Younger users in particular--those with less income--said they go online from school, from the homes of friends and relatives, and from Internet cafes.

"As Europeans start to depend on the Internet for completing important daily tasks such as bank account transfers, ticket booking, and timetable lookups, Internet access will have to become more ubiquitous," said Carsten Hejndorf, research manager of IDC's European Internet program.

Gains in new Internet access locations are being made, with hotels, public Internet pay stations on the street, post offices, airports, and train stations being added so that users can surf and check e-mail.

IDC said Sweden accounts for the largest Internet usage, followed by Norway and Germany. France and Denmark rank at the bottom of the usage-list. Of all users surveyed, 59% say they are logging on more than once a week, while the other 41% report semi-regular usage.

"The availability of Internet access will also be heavily affected by the possibility of accessing the Web from many types of devices other than PCs," said Hejndorf. "These devices include TV set top boxes, smart screen phones, smart hand held devices, mobile phones, and even cars."