According to Insites Consulting, a European market researcher, in most European countries at least half the internet users — the company refers to them as "internauts" — have experience with e-commerce, but in the Scandinavian countries an impressive three out of four users have purchased goods or services online.
In the lead, more than 70% of Swedish and Danish surfers are experienced e-commerce consumers. The Netherlands and France, at 67% and 64% respectively, are close behind.
Southern European countries, however, do lag their northern neighbors with an average 44% e-commerce penetration rate.
Overall, European e-shoppers average seven to eight online purchases a year. The range varies from country to country. The French, English and Germans make roughly one online transaction a month. While online shoppers from Belgium and the Netherlands make only about five web purchases a year.
No matter what the country, though, Europeans are consistent in what they buy on the Internet. The top three categories of products that are purchased online across the continent are transport tickets, clothing and books, although the order does vary in different countries.
In a good sign for many categories of e-commerce, entertainment and content, Europeans are getting used to the idea of legally downloading music.
Approximately one in every five European internauts has paid to download music online. Germany leads with 42% of its online users claiming to have downloaded — and paid — for music, followed Demark (39%) and the UK (36%).
The most popular site for paid-music downloads in Europe is iTunes.