Last year saw more than 9 million new Internet users in the UK, Germany and France, according to a survey published by NOP this week.
After a couple of years of relative stagnation, the French market is showing the fastest rate of adoption, with 47 per cent market growth in the past year. This compares with 33 per cent in the UK and 22 per cent in Germany. Based on current trends, the total online population across the three countries should reach at least 52 million by the end of 2000.
The Euro.Net survey also found that satisfaction with Net service providers was significantly higher in the UK than in the other two leading EU countries. Some 38 per cent of UK users declared themselves to be “very satisfied” with their provider, compared with 20 per cent in France and 17 per cent in Germany.
UK users are more likely to be early adopters of new Net access devices, with 23 per cent planning to access through Digital TV and 15 per cent through mobile phones by the end of the year.
All three countries saw significant growth in online shopping in 1999, between them generating 6.5 million online shoppers. With 3.1 million Web users having shopped online in the past four weeks to December.
The UK again took the lead, closely followed by Germany’s 2.9 million online shoppers. France saw a marked increase in online shoppers, but is still a way behind, with fewer than 700,000 people shopping in the past four weeks.
The average spend for online shopping is expected to increase between now and the end of the year – by a factor of three for British shoppers.
NOP Net research director Richard Jameson predicts a continued period of “good, steady growth”. UK consumers are likely to remain the early adopters of new Net access devices, such as digital TV and mobile phones, he says.
But awareness of wireless application protocol (WAP) technology is growing rapidly on the Continent, which could translate into 5 million mobile Net users by the end of the year.
Jameson believes content providers will “need to redefine their strategies for this new audience.”
The Euro.Net survey screened nationally representative samples of 23,000 adults, aged 15-plus, in Britain, France and Germany. More than 2,700 follow-up telephone interviews with Web users were conducted in the first three weeks of December 1999.
Early indications from global Net audience measurement service Nielsen/NetRatings reveal that in the UK in February there were more than 16 million “at-home” Net users.