European Internet Use vs. Online Shopping Habits
Europe lags behind the United States in terms of number of online shoppers, but is catching up to, and could top US customers in terms of online spending power in the near future, data suggests. And especially as the 2011 IFA Conference rounds the corner, many manufacturers and product developers are demanding: What is the online market forecast for EU online markets?
So far, a few things are clear. Europe is a heavy-hitter in terms of Internet usage representing 22.7% of total world Internet use, second only to Asia which brings in a lofty 44%. North America trails behind Europe bringing in the third place Internet use with only 13% of world use. However, those 13% of North Americans, and primarily those living in the US, comprise a whopping $145 billion dollars in e-commerce sales in 2009, up 2.1% from 2008, according to eMarketer and the United States Census Bureau.
Many Europeans, however, are fully on-board the online shopping vessel. Germany, the United Kingdom and France lead the EU in terms of percentage of Internet users within the total population with 65.1%, 51.4%, and 45.3% of their respective populations according to eCommera, a leading source of independent advice and insight on digital marketing and ecommerce. Germany has the most online buyers with 27.2 million annual shoppers, but 42.6% of UK shoppers buy something online at least once a week, racketing sales nationwide and pan-Europe.
If this online-shopping mentality catches on in rest of the EU, Europe could easily become one of the top burgeoning online marketplaces in the world, much like parts of Asia.
United States Dollar Domination
For one thing language and borders issues within Europe makes it hard for retailers and distributors to market products cross-culturally. A product for sale in Ireland may not be mentioned in Italy or Scandinavia because of cultural barriers. On the US hand, a product marketed in California will quickly make its way to Louisiana, Ohio and Maine through word-of-mouth connections and social media markets.
Another point is that many US-based products are often sold both online and in bricks and mortar stores, whereas EU products tend to be sold either online or in shops. The cost of duel advertising, when online marketing only travels as far as your country’s borders, seems daunting.
Still, because Europeans are so involved with the Internet, forecasters predict that European e-commerce will increase into the $200 millions, and continue growth at about 16% through 2011.
IFA Brings Innovators, Companies
With this information, many companies and innovators are flocking to the 2011 IFA Conference this year ready to tout new products to potential investors. Last year, roughly 235,000 people representing 1,423 companies from 75 countries trekked to Berlin to be a part of the annual conference. This year, program coordinators expect more especially as signs for international online-based consumerism look positive.
“IFA is a remarkable platform that inspires people and moves global markets,” said Steve Leon, a partner of ShowStoppers, an invite-only trade show for journalists and media. Roughly 3.5 billion Euros in sales directly resulted in partnerships established at IFA, he said.
- write to Jean@Agloves.com