Personal Links, Broadband Penetration Boost Net Usage In EU

European Internet users spend more than 11 hours a week online, up 11% from 2005. Forty-five percent of them go online every day.
European Internet users spend more than 11 hours a week online, according to survey results released Wednesday.

The European Interactive Advertising Association released a Mediascope Europe study of more than 1,500 people in Europe and the Netherlands. The fourth annual study of European media consumption showed that the average time spent on the Internet rose to 11 hours and 20 minutes a week, up 11% from 2005. Forty-five percent of the Internet users said they go online every day of the week.

In contrast, Chinese users spend almost 16 hours a week online, according to comScore Media Metrix. Earlier this year, comScore ranked Israel highest for monthly Internet use -- more than 57 hours per month on average. U.S. users spent half that amount of time, according to comScore. Those rankings excluded access via mobile phone and Internet cafes, which are popular among Chinese.

In the study released this week, European broadband penetration rose 14% year over year, according to the study. About 75% of users said they use broadband as their primary means of accessing the Internet, and 29% of European dial-up customers said they planned to upgrade to broadband within a year.

Respondents spend an average of 72% of their time online for personal reasons and 28% for work. The most popular online activities are Web searches, instant messaging, downloading music, and listening to the radio.

Around 89% said they search the Web, 37% use the Internet for instant messaging, and 31% download music at least once a month. Almost one quarter of the Internet users reported that they visit social networking sites at least once a month. Fifteen percent said they make voice calls over the Internet; that's up 50% from last year.

Forty-seven percent of respondents said they prefer the Internet to other media for quickly finding what they want, according to the report. Another recent study showed that Europeans spend more time online than they do reading print media. Those findings were backed up by results in the latest study, which revealed high appreciation for the Internet and television compared with newspapers and magazines.

Researchers said the study shows that broadband is linked to Internet growth, which also is being driven by personal connections. They also said that advertisers should pay attention to attitudes for more effective targeting.

Researchers conducted 25- to 30-minute interviews during September 2006. They weighted results according to populations in each of the countries polled.