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Statistics of the Internet: what is going on in Europe? Angele Kedaitiene, Associate professor Vilnius University, Faculty of Economics, Department of Marketing Sauletekio al. 9, 2 build, 819 room


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Table 1. Internet usage by individuals, in % of total population, in 2003








EU15

BE

DK

DE

EL

ES

FR

IE

IT

LU

NL

AT

PT

FI

SE

UK

IS

NO

Males

54

-

74

58

19

40

-

31

34

57

-

47

29

68

81

64

83

80

Females

46

-

68

49

13

34

-

30

24

48

-

36

23

64

72

57

80

69

Low education

26

-

57

40

4

15

-

12

10

26

-

22

15

64

62

27

74

47

Middle education

58

-

73

54

21

56

-

36

43

63

-

44

67

85

77

67

83

72

High education

76

-

85

72

45

69

-

57

63

85

-

79

78

95

90

87

96

90

Total

50

-

71

54

16

37

-

31

29

53

-

41

26

66

77

61

81

75

Source: Eurostat, 2004

Population and enterprise Internet penetration rates can be compared and combined in the so-called Population - Enterprises Internet penetration map (graph 4). The horizontal axis shows that in 2003 half the population (50%) between 16-74 used the Internet. The average percentage of enterprises using the Internet in the same year was 87%, as seen by the vertical axis.


Graph 4. Population – Enterprises Internet penetration map for EU countries, 2003, in %



Source: own designed based on the Eurostat, 2004
Evidently, the Internet penetration in the enterprises shows lesser diversity across EU countries than the penetration in the populations. In all countries, except the Portugal, over 80% of the enterprises were using the Internet in 2003. In Finland and Denmark the indicator was nearby the 100%. However, the Internet usage among the populations of EU countries shows the great divergence, ranging from 26% in Portugal to over 70% in Sweden and Denmark. Non-EU countries, depending to the Europe Economic Area, Norway and Island showed even greater penetration of the Internet among populations, respectively 75% and 81%.

Table 2. Internet usage by enterprises, in % of total population, in 2003





EU15

BE

DK

DE

EL

ES

FR

IE

IT

LU

NL

AT

PT

FI

SE

UK

IS

NO

10+

87

92

98

95

-

84

-

86

83

86

86

90

71

98

95

81

97

88

10-49

84

90

96

94

-

79

-

83

82

83

84

87

66

97

94

77

97

87

50-249

96

98

99

98

-

93

-

96

96

93

94

98

87

100

100

94

99

96

250+

99

98

99

98

-

99

-

99

98

99

97

100

97

100

100

99

100

99

Source: Eurostat, 2004
Penetration of the Internet generally increases with the size of the enterprise in all Member States (Table 2). EU-15 can report a saturation in Internet usage in their medium and large enterprises. In 2003 the penetration had reached 96% in medium and 99% in large enterprises of EU-15. The highest rate of growth over 2002 to 2003 period, was thus to be seen in small enterprises having 10-49 employees (were penetrated by 84% in 2003).

Nowadays, we talk already not exclusively on the quantitative indicators of the Internet development, but on the quality of the Internet also. The objective of the e-Europe 2005 Action Plan is to stimulate secure services, application of technologies and e-content, based on a widely available broadband infrastructure. Broadband is a service or connection allowing a considerable amount of information to be conveyed. In the Eurostat surveys, the broadband was defined through technology (xDSL, ADSL, SDSL, etc.) or a bandwidth greater than 2Mb/s. Broadband ensures a speeder transmission of the data than the traditional dial up phone connection.


Table 3. Use of broadband connection, in % of total population, in 2003





EU15

BE

DK

DE

EL

ES

FR

IE

IT

LU

NL

AT

PT

FI

SE

UK

IS

NO

Households

9

-

25

9

1

-

-

1

-

7

-

10

8

12

-

11

-

22

Enterprises

41

51

75

46

-

54

-

20

33

46

39

51

27

69

64

30

22

49


Source: Eurostat, 2004

In 2003, in average 9% of EU15 households and 41% of enterprises used the broadband connection (Table 3). However, the countries are divergent regarding this. In Denmark even 25% of the households and 75% of enterprises were using the technology.


6. Development of the e-commerce in countries of the European Union
Internet development is discussed taking different aspects of it – social as well as the economic. Initially, Internet was sought as the facility able to change the economics of the World, introducing new transactional and trade practices.

Internet commerce in its original sense is the purchase of goods and services via the World Wide Web and the Web shopper is somebody who has conducted Internet commerce within a certain period (for example - 3 month). To be counted as Internet commerce, a consumer purchase must be initiated from the Web. This means, that the specific offer to which the Web user reacts must have been found on the Web. The transaction need not, however, be completed purely via the Web.

E-commerce offers new models for buying, selling and providing customer service, which are redefining traditional relationships between buyers and sellers. There is a market preference by both enterprises and individuals to order and purchase rather than to sell goods and services over the Internet.

In 2003, the Eurostat enterprise survey collected responses from those enterprises, which estimated that e-commerce accounted for more than 1% of theirs business transactions in the previous year. The household survey, on the other hand, had no such threshold, but respondents were asked to give the information on buying and selling over the period of three month. As the consequence of this methodology, population showed the greater penetration with the e-commerce than the enterprises. In 2003, in EU-15 19% of the population used to purchase/order goods and services on the Net, and only 12% of enterprises did so (Table 4). Countries are divergent regarding this. The greatest e-commerce indicator followed in United Kingdom (31%) and Sweden (23%), Denmark and Luxembourg (22% each).


Table 4. E-commerce by individuals (2003) and enterprises (2002), in % of total population





EU15

BE

DK

DE

EL

ES

FR

IE

IT

LU

NL

AT

PT

FI

SE

UK

IS

NO

Individuals used the Internet for buying/ordering, except shares and financial services

19

-

16

22

1

6

-

6

-

22

-

9

3

16

23

31

20

27

Individuals used the internet for selling

5

-

6

10

0

2

-

1

-

6

-

2

1

5

5

4

8

3

Enterprises used the Internet for buying/ordering

12

20

21

11

-

3

-

22

3

14

21

21

8

15

23

19

12

20

Enterprises used the Internet for selling

7

15

15

9

-

1

-

11

2

11

19

10

3

15

10

9

7

13


Source: Eurostat, 2004

What do the Europeans prefer to buy on the Net? Numerous goods (Table 5). Films and music, books, clothes are the traditional leaders of Web buying. Another category, the computer soft and hardware, being among the most bought categories since the beginning of Web commerce, recently giving up the leadership but still remains on the top. Currently, selling the holiday and travel accommodation as well as the event tickets to the individuals gaining the force and took the leadership in Europe in 2002. Tourist agencies elsewhere have the well-developed Web sites and paying enough attention to theirs functionality. Even in Lithuania, the first usability study (protocol interview) of the Web page was done by the holiday and ticket selling Web site www.greitai.lt. in 2003.



To compare the Internet and e-commerce penetration among the populations of EU countries the Web commerce concentration map is used (graph 5). A web concentration map is a graphic demonstration of the relation between web penetration and web-commerce (share of buyers) for given countries at a given time. The computed figures are organized in ordered pairs, where the first number captures penetration and the second - share of buyers. In computing the web concentration map, the available data from Eurostat were used for the year 2003.

Table 5. Purchases of specific goods and services by individuals, in % of Web buyers, in 2002





EU15

BE

DK

DE

EL

ES

FR

IE

IT

LU

NL

AT

PT

FI

SE

UK

Food/groceries

-

-

7

6

0

-

-

-

-

11

-

6

-

-

3

18

Films/music

-

-

22

19

33

-

-

-

-

39

-

16

24

22

36

33

Books/magazines/e-learning material

-

-

30

48

41

-

-

-

-

73

-

39

44

29

34

32

Clothes, sport goods

-

-

32

30

6

-

-

-

-

21

-

18

-

33

28

19

Computer software

-

-

22

14

11

-

-

-

-

20

-

14

17

-

15

16

Computer hardware

-

-

23

12

26

-

-

-

-

12

-

7

11

14

17

8

Electronic equipment

-

-

10

12

11

-

-

-

-

9

-

8

-

12

11

11

Shares/financial services, insurance

-

-

6

6

3

-

-

-

-

15

-

5

-

-

21

9

Travel and holiday accommodation

-

-

34

15

5

-

-

-

-

38

-

20

11

19

34

46

Tickets for events

-

-

35

10

0

-

-

-

-

24

-

17

17

17

30

32

Lotteries

-

-

3

5

0

-

-

-

-

1

-

3

-

-

6

-

Other

-

-

18

25

12

-

-

-

-

5

-

12

16

-

18

-


Source: Eurostat, 2004
Analysts from many research companies in numerous countries agree that the share of web-buyers is lower than it previously forecasted. Thus, the question of “what the obstacles for the web-commerce to grow faster are” appears. These obstacles and barriers have since been considered by numerous marketing professionals. One group of researchers considers these limitations in a general way, mainly pointing to the theory of consumer behaviour and shopping preferences. Another group, the minority, measures the concrete barriers for shopping on the web. First of all, it is worth having a look at the first group, the majority.

The known advertising consultant, Larry Percy, author of several books, defined the following obstacles for further web shopping increase in his article in Admap (2001) “Marketing communication in evolution”:



  • Shopping is often much more than simply acquiring goods at the best price. For some, shopping is addictive, for others it is therapy; and for many people, shopping is an important part of socialization.

  • The wide range of information and choice available to the consumer was supposed to be the strength of e-commerce and the Internet. However, as the number of sites expands exponentially, Internet users are concentrating the number of sites they visit. Why is this happening? People are looking to simplify their lives and can be overwhelmed by the choices offered by the Internet. People seek a simplifying strategy that reducers the number of options they must consider. This is a point made by many researchers who study consumer behaviour (Edvard Hall). Hall talked about how we have “formal” and “informal” systems in place, and that one of the primary functions of our formal systems is to provide stability in our lives by setting areas where we are not required to continually make the choices.

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