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Internet usage in Central and Eastern Europe - statistics & facts

Increased access to the internet played a crucial role in developing digital services and online behavior in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Internet penetration is lower in Eastern Europe than Western Europe; however, as the region's digital economy catches up with the rest of Europe, the share of enterprises and households using the internet has increased. The rate of digital adoption also recently grew due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as restrictions on in-person contact resulted in a higher demand for online services.

Internet access across the region varies

Two of the biggest internet markets in the CEE region are Estonia and Latvia. The penetration of internet users in the Baltics is also high for mobile internet and social media usage. However, in other countries such as Ukraine and Bulgaria, internet usage is among the lowest in Europe. In 2020, just 65 percent of the Ukrainian population was using the internet. Households with internet access grew rapidly across the region in the 2000s and into the 2010s; fewer than 20 percent of Bulgarian households had access to the internet in 2007, whereas now the majority of households are online.

What is the internet used for?

Individuals use the internet for various reasons - from social activities, such as messaging, voice calls, emails, and accessing social media, to online entertainment, including streaming videos, music, and gaming. Populations in the CEE region are no exception. Online purchasing of products and services of all types also makes the region's e-commerce market of particular interest. Before the pandemic, e-commerce made up 10 percent of the total retail market in Czechia – more than any other CEE economy. The country also ranked highest for mobile e-commerce, with most transactions conducted via mobile platforms.

Interesting statistics

In the following 9 chapters, you will quickly find the 93 most important statistics relating to "Internet usage in CEE".

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