The Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA) has published results of a new European Internet survey. They report the average European Internet user now spends 10 hours and 15 minutes a week online, compared to only 8 hours and 45 minutes a week a year ago, a 17 percent increase. Looking back over a two year period reveals that Europeans are spending 56% more time online compared to 2003. The average European is also online 5 days a week.
The research also highlights the emergence of a new group of super internet users across Europe. Almost a quarter (24%) of those questioned spend more than 16 hours per week using the internet while 69% are online 5 or more days per week. The figures for broadband users are even more staggering with nearly a third (31%) spending more than 16 hours per week online.
With over 7,000 people across Europe interviewed, The EIAA Mediascope Europe Study, is one of the most comprehensive pieces of research available into how people allocate their time across media in Europe and how consumers use the internet. The research was conducted by SPA and Synovate.
Online Growth Outstrips Other Media
While total media consumption has generally increased across the board, the amount of time spent using the internet is growing at a faster rate than other media. In the same period that online saw a 17% increase, TV use increased by just 6%, radio by 14%, newspapers by 13% while magazines saw a 7% decrease in time spent using.
Europe’s Sophisticated Internet Users
The EIAA study also reveals the extent to which internet users are embracing the new technologies and services now available on the internet. Increasing broadband penetration across Europe is turning consumers into much more sophisticated internet users. 29% of those questioned download music at least once a month, most likely driven by the arrival of a wave of online music stores such as Apple’s iTunes.
Blogging is also becoming increasingly popular with 13% regularly contributing to online blogging sites while 12% are downloading podcasts at least once a month. Even very new technologies such as Voice over IP (VoIP) are proving popular with consumers with 10% of Europeans are already using the internet to make telephone calls.
People’s Favourite Media
The EIAA Mediascope Europe report also highlights the extent to which the internet has become the preferred media throughout the day. Consumer reliance on the internet as a source of information has made it the most consistent media for people during the day. With the exception of early mornings (6am – 10am), the internet is the second most used media throughout the rest of the day. Between 10am and 5.30pm, the internet comes just behind radio in terms of most used media. Then, during both the early and late evening periods (5.30pm – 9pm and 9pm – 6am), the internet is the second most used media after TV. So, in terms of audience reach, the internet represents one of the most reliable methods of targeting people throughout the day.
France tops Euro League
Surprisingly, the EIAA study reveals that French consumers are spending the most time online compared with users in the Nordics which have traditionally been seen as the most advanced internet users. The average French consumer spends 13 hours online a week with 32% of those questioned spending over 16 hours a week online. Both the UK and Spain spend an average of 11 hours online while consumers in the Nordic and Benelux countries spend 10 hours a week on average online. Italians spend the least amount of time online with an average of only 8 hours per week.
Country/Hours Spent Online per week/ % that spend more than 16 hours a week online
France: 13h / 32%
UK: 11h / 25%
Spain: 11h / 24%
Nordics: 10h / 23%
Benelux: 10h / 21%
Germany: 9h / 25%
Italy: 8h / 15%
“What is striking about this study is how quickly consumers are becoming such sophisticated internet users. It just goes to show that if you offer excellent content and services, the demand will be there,” said Michael Kleindl, Chairman of the EIAA and Managing Partner of Valkiria Network. “This is an important point for marketers to note as the internet is unlike any other media in terms of the sophistication of interaction is offers with consumers.”
“Just in case there is still anyone out there that doubts it, this study is yet more evidence showing the effectiveness of the internet as a channel for reaching and connecting with consumers,” said Nigel Morris, CEO, Isobar Worldwide.
The study involved 7,000 random telephone interviews with 1,000 respondents in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the Nordics and 500 respondents in Belgium and the Netherlands. Interviews were conducted between September and October 2005.