Comparing Web Use Within Europe


If you think all Europeans use the Internet the same, you’re wrong.

As an American who’s worked a fair amount in Europe, I love studying the variations in among how the various European nationalities use the Internet. Lately, I’ve been comparing social media use within Europe (more about that at a later date). However, this week comScore Media Metrix released a survey comparing how the various European nationalities use the World Wide Web during March.

Overview of European Internet Usage by Country

Ranked by Total Unique Visitors (000)

March 2011

Total Europe Audience, Age 15+, Home and Work Locations
Source: comScore Media Metrix

Location Total Unique Visitors (000) Average Hours per Visitor Average Pages per Visitor
World-Wide 1,350,539 23.1 2,094
Europe 363,697 26.0 2,678
Germany 49,729 23.4 2,643
Russian Federation 47,417 22.8 2,532
France 42,251 27.5 2,644
United Kingdom 36,244 33.0 2,953
Italy 22,981 17.9 1,688
Turkey 22,768 29.4 3,098
Spain 21,317 26.3 2,404
Poland 18,192 25.9 2,976
Netherlands 11,953 34.4 3,515
Sweden 6,138 25.0 2,369
Belgium 5,903 19.7 2,016
Austria 4,654 13.8 1,456
Switzerland 4,646 18.4 1,794
Portugal 4,099 20.2 1,878
Denmark 3,638 20.8 2,138
Finland 3,336 24.7 2,359
Norway 3,212 25.1 2,019
Ireland 2,048 18.8 1,720

These aren’t exact figures. Many other reputable companies estimate that there are nearly 2 billion Internet users worldwide; comScore estimates that there are only 1.35 billion. Many other companies show different European national usage estimates than comScore’s. However, whatever the differences, comScore’s figures are an OK filter for seeing national variations.

Europe is home to 731 million people. comScore estimates that at least 363.7 million of them used the Web during March 2011, and that the average users spent 26 hours doing so. The table above ranks some European nations by the numbers of Web users that comScores estimates each nation has.

Numbers of Users versus Web Penetration

That the  Russian Federation now has the third largest number of Web users in Europe shouldn’t be surprising. This table lists sheer numbers of users, not each country’s Web penetration. that the. There are 149 million people in the Russian Federation, and comScore estimates that at least 47 million (32 percent population penetration) used the Web in March. Germany‘s population is 82 million and comScore’s estimate is that nearly 50 million of them (61 percent) used the Web during that month. France has a population of 66 million and comScore says 42 million (64 percent) of the French browsed the Web during March.

Likewise, comScore estimates that nearly 23 million Turks used the Web in March, more users than Spain, Sweden, or Poland. But that’ s likely because Turkey has a population of 73 million people (compared to 43 million Spaniards).

If all the countries in the table ranked were by by Web penetration, the Netherlands would be atop with 71 percent of its population.

Duration of Use (‘Engagement’)

Indeed, the Dutch spent the most time online, according to comScore. They spent an average of 34.4 hours on Web during March, a third more time than the average European. People in the United Kingdom were next, spending 33.0 hours on average. Turks spent the third most time on the Web in March.

Austrians spent the least time on the Web, only 13.8 hours in March, which seems odd because Swiss, with approximately the same number of Web users, spent 50 percent more time. Italians spent the second lowest time on the Web, nearly 18 hours per month.

It’s unsurprising that people in the Netherlands saw the most Web pages that month (3,515), but it’s remarkable that people in Turkey were second (3,098). The Austrians and Italians saw the least (1,456 and 1,688 respectively).

My Conclusions

  • Turkish usage of the Internet is booming.
  • The Netherlands and United Kingdom are mature Internet markets.
  • Despite people from other parts of the world believing that Scandinavians make the world’s highest usage of the Internet, comScore’s per capital usage figures dispute that belief.
  • As Internet penetration in the Russian Federation increases, that country will likely become the world’s third largest national group of users.


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