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Internet usage in Europe - Statistics & Facts

Russia is the European country with the largest internet market as of 2020, at over 110 million users. Germany on the other hand, the second largest market had nearly 73 million users followed by Turkey and the United Kingdom. In terms of growth however, EU countries Bulgaria, Cyprus and Latvia saw the biggest uptake in home internet between 2017 and 2020. Comparatively Iceland and the Netherlands, both already having some of the highest internet penetration rates in Europe did not see much change in uptake during the same period. Having embraced digitalization (particularly E-commerce) later than the rest of the continent, southern Europe has also been forecast to have the best potential for growth when it comes to internet use over the next five years. Here, an increase of nearly 18 million users is expected from 2020 to 2025. Meanwhile, northern Europe – already highly saturated - is expected to nonetheless see an increase of roughly 1.6 million users.

More connected via mobile vs. at home

Mobile internet uptake has surged in Europe over the past ten years. With only 15 percent of the population subscribed in 2010, penetration had hit 73 percent by 2020 - likely due to the increased accessibility and affordability of on-the-go technology. Although uptake has begun to slow down, there is still room for growth with a further 10 percent increase in market share expected by 2025. The UK is the biggest spender on Apple’s App Store, while Germans spend the most on Google Play. Notably, the latter was the only nation among five European countries that had purchased more on Google Play than on the App Store in 2020. Overall, with mobile social media penetration rates much higher than that of household internet across Europe these platforms have become increasingly popular for news-sharing and in recent years, political advertising. Skepticism toward social network news however remains relatively high, particularly in Germany, Austria and Italy.

E-commerce is booming

With the internet being cheaper, faster, and more widely available than ever before, the E-commerce market has grown rapidly in Europe. While less than 10 percent of consumers in selected European countries had purchased food and groceries online in 2006, figures had increased significantly by 2019 with the Netherlands and the UK leading the pack. The sector saw yet another boost with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, as individuals were driven to shop online more than ever before.


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