Fletcher Predicts 121 Million Europeans Online by 2004

Fletcher Research
has predicted in a new report that there will be 121 million
Europeans online by 2004 — representing 32 percent of the adult

The prediction, which appears in “Internet Europe: Connecting
the Consumer,” is likely to fuel still further the frenzy of
Internet investment currently taking place on this side of
the Atlantic.

However, Fletcher Research warns that despite around £25 billion
($40 billion) being spent online in 2004, Europe will be “many online
markets, not just one honey-pot.”

“Europe has the potential to become a larger Internet market
than the USA, but the complexity of creating successful Internet
business models across the continent will mean the marketplace
will develop very differently,” said Caroline Sceats, business
analyst at Fletcher Research.

“Established offline businesses have a real advantage in Europe.
They have the corporate funding and local distribution channels
to set up Internet businesses with truly localised services.
Providing a one-size fits all solution just won’t be enough to
compete effectively.”

Countries that are likely to have the lion’s share of the European
market are:

Country Users in 1999: Users in
Germany 10.4 million 30 million
UK 10.6 million 25 million
France 4 million 18 million
Italy 3 million 10 million
the Netherlands 2.6 million 6 million
Spain 2.7 million 8 million

Fletcher Research believes that Europeans in different countries will
use the Internet in different ways. The report suggests that
Italians and Scandinavians are more likely to use wireless
connectivity through mobile phones, whereas Benelux consumers
will use digital TV and cable access.

Localisation, says the report, is expensive but effective —
and it requires more than translation to make an Internet
business work in many countries. Businesses must take
differences in culture, law and payment systems into account.

“Operating across Europe is not for the faint-hearted or
shallow-pocketed,” says the report.

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