|Online Travel Market|
|Social Networking and UGC|
There were an estimated 518,512,109 internet users in Europe at mid-year 2012, representing 63.5% of the European population, according to statistics updated on June 30, 2012 by Internet World Stats.
European top 5 countries in number of internet users, mid-year 2012:
1. Germany: 67,364,898 (82.7% of the population in the country)
2. Russia: 61,472,011 (44.3%)
3. UK: 52,731,209 (84.1%)
4. France: 50,290,226 (77.2%)
5. Italy: 35,800,000 (58.7%)
(Internet World Stats, October 2012)
Due in large part to heavy investment by their respective governments, consumers in the Nordic countries enjoy some of the highest internet penetration rates in the world. eMarketer estimates that 2013 penetration rates will range from 88% in Denmark, 90% in Finland, and 94% in Sweden, and Norway. Access to the internet is almost uniform across age demographics, with only the very young and very old not at saturation levels. Schools, homes and offices in the Nordic countries are all very likely to provide consumers with internet access.
This region was also quick to adapt to the rise of the mobile web. According to February 2012 data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe (IAB Europe), TNS Infratest and Google, smartphone penetration in these countries was quite high, exceeding 50% of the population in both Norway and Sweden.
Smartphone users in select Nordic countries, February 2012 (% of population):
- Norway: 54%
- Sweden: 51%
- Denmark: 45%
- Finland: 38%
(eMarketer, May 2013)
Western Europe will boast more than 267 million internet users in 2012, according to eMarketer. By 2016, nearly 290 million will be online, representing 69% of the region's residents.
Internet users in Western Europe, 2011-2016:
- 2011: 259.6 million
- 2012: 267.2 million
- 2013: 274.6 million
- 2014: 281.0 million
- 2015: 286.0 million
- 2016: 289.7 million
Germany, with the largest population overall, also has the greatest number of web users: some 57 million in 2012, and 10 million more than the UK. In France, over 40 million people will be online this year. While in Italy and Spain, the internet population will be nearer to 30 million.
Many patterns of online behaviour are similar throughout the EU-5, according to eMarketer's report "Western Europe Internet Usage: Variations on a Theme." Email and search are universally popular. But there are notable differences, too. For example, Spain's web users are more likely than those in other countries to be active in social networking. In addition, the reach of social networks is rising faster in France, Germany and Italy than in the UK.
Internet users in Western Europe, by country, 2011-2016:
- Germany: 55.6 million in 2011 to rise to 59.6 million by 2016
- UK: 45.5 million in 2011 to rise to 50.4 million by 2016
- France: 39.8 million in 2011 to rise to 43.8 million by 2016
- Italy: 30.1 million in 2011 to rise to 36.0 million by 2016
- Spain: 28.9 million in 2011 to rise to 33.5 million by 2016
- Other Western countries: 59.6 million in 2011 to rise to 66.4 million by 2016
(eMarketer, May 2012)
There will be 210.9 million internet users in Central and Eastern Europe (including Russia) by the end of this 2012, according to eMarketer. The figure is forecast to reach 270.8 million in 2016. If current trends continue, a large portion of those users will access the web via a mobile device.
eMarketer's internet user estimate includes users of any age who access the internet from any location via any device, including mobile, at least once per month. (eMarketer, March 2012)
379.4 million Europeans went online in November 2011 for an average of 27.8 hours per person, according to an overview of internet usage in Europe by comScore. This overview highlights internet usage in 49 European markets aggregated into the European region and provides individual reporting on 18 markets.
The Russian internet audience continued to grow and surpass Germany as the largest online market in Europe. The UK continued to show the highest engagement, with users spending an average of 38.2 hours online during the month.
Overview of European Internet Usage by Country, November 2011 (Total Europe Audience, Age 15+, Home and Work Locations):
Worldwide: 1,438,877,000 unique visitors / 24.4 average hours per visitor / 2,353 average pages per visitor
Europe: 379,402,000 / 27.8 / 2,982
- Russian Federation: 52,486,000 / 24.5 / 2,730
- Germany: 50,856,000 / 25.8 / 2,977
- France: 42,939,000 / 28.6 / 2,903
- UK: 37,477,000 / 38.2 / 3,450
- Italy: 24,225,000 / 18.8 / 2,027
- Turkey: 23,302,000 / 32.2 / 3,845
- Spain: 21,612,000 / 27.4 / 2,401
- Poland: 18,194,000 / 27.4 / 3,208
- Netherlands: 11,992,000 / 34.3 / 3,398
- Sweden: 6,231,000 / 25.9 / 2,697
- Belgium: 6,068,000 / 20.8 / 2,286
- Switzerland: 4,790,000 / 19.0 / 2,027
- Austria: 4,745,000 / 15.1 / 1,648
- Portugal: 4,286,000 / 21.2 / 2,186
- Denmark: 3,682,000 / 23.3 / 2,411
- Finland: 3,387,000 / 26.0 / 2,591
- Norway: 3,272,000 / 28.9 / 2,627
- Ireland: 2,355,000 / 21.3 / 2,071
(comScore, January 2012)
In the EU27, almost three quarters of households had access to the internet in the first quarter of 2011, compared with almost half in the first quarter of 2006, according to the European Commission's Eurostat statistics arm.
The level of internet access increased in all Member States between 2006 and 2011, however differences remain significant. In 2011, shares of internet access of 90% and over were recorded in the Netherlands (94%), Luxembourg and Sweden (both 91%), and Denmark (90%); while shares of 50% and below were registered in Bulgaria (45%), Romania (47%), and Greece (50%).
Households with internet access in the EU27, 2011:
- Belgium: 77%
- Bulgaria: 45%
- Czech Republic: 67%
- Denmark: 90%
- Germany: 83%
- Estonia: 71%
- Ireland: 78%
- Greece: 50%
- Spain: 64%
- France: 76%
- Italy: 62%
- Cyprus: 57%
- Latvia: 64%
- Lithuania: 62%
- Luxembourg: 91%
- Hungary: 65%
- Malta: 75%
- Netherlands: 94%
- Austria: 75%
- Poland: 67%
- Portugal: 58%
- Romania: 47%
- Slovenia: 73%
- Slovakia: 71%
- Finland: 84%
- Sweden: 91%
- UK: 85%
- Iceland: 93%
- Norway: 92%
- Croatia: 61%
- Former Yug. Rep. of Macedonia: 46%
- Turkey: 43%
(Eurostat, December 2011)
A decreasing, but still significant, part of the EU population has never used the internet, according to the European Commission's Eurostat statistics arm. The share of individuals aged 16-74 in the EU27 who had never used the internet decreased from 42% in the first quarter of 2006 to 24% in the first quarter of 2011.
The target set for 2015 by the Digital Agenda for Europe is to reduce the share of individuals in the EU27 aged 16-74 who had never used the internet to 15%.
In 2011, the highest proportions of those having never used the internet were observed in Romania (54% of individuals aged 16-74), Bulgaria (46%), Greece (45%), Cyprus and Portugal (both 41%), and the lowest in Sweden (5%), Denmark and the Netherlands (both 7%), Luxembourg (8%) and Finland (9%).
Individuals aged 16-74 in EU27 who have never used the internet, 2011:
EU27 : 24%
- Belgium: 14%
- Bulgaria: 46%
- Czech Republic: 24%
- Denmark: 7%
- Germany: 16%
- Estonia: 20%
- Ireland: 21%
- Greece: 45%
- Spain: 29%
- France: 18%
- Italy: 39%
- Cyprus: 41%
- Latvia: 27%
- Lithuania: 33%
- Luxembourg: 8%
- Hungary: 28%
- Malta: 30%
- Netherlands: 7%
- Austria: 18%
- Poland: 33%
- Portugal: 41%
- Romania: 54%
- Slovenia : 29%
- Slovakia: 20%
- Finland: 9%
- Sweden: 5%
- UK: 11%
- Iceland: 4%
- Norway: 5%
- Croatia: 39%
- Turkey: 55%
(Eurostat, December 2011)
The Netherlands topped the list of European countries in terms of internet adoption in Spring 2010 with an adoption rate of 91%, according to the Portail des Statistiques du Grand- Duché de Luxembourg. Luxembourg came second with a level of 90%.
Former EU27 countries are all above the European average of 70% except for a few South European countries including Spain and Italy (59%), Portugal (54%) and Greece (46%) that are now lagging behind some of the new member states. At the bottom of the list are Romania (42%) and Bulgaria (33%). (Le Portail des Statistiques du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, February 2011)
There are an estimated 322.1 million internet users in Europe in 2009, according to eMarketer.
Internet users in Europe in 2008-2013:
- 2008: 303.8 million
- 2009: 322.1 million
- 2010: 338.2 million
- 2011: 351.9 million
- 2012: 364.3 million
- 2013: 374.9 million
(eMarketer, June 2009)
Searches and Search Engines
Europeans age 15 and older conducted 41 billion searches at an average of 116 searches per searcher in August 2010, according to comScore. Poland ranked highest in Europe with 157 searches per searcher, followed by the UK (144 searches per searcher) and Finland (141 searches per searcher).
Top 10 European countries by searches per searcher, August 2010 (Total Eurrope, Age 15+, Home & Work locations):
1. Poland: 156.8
2. UK: 143.8
3. Finland: 140.8
4. Turkey: 138.3
5. Ireland: 129.9
6. Belgium: 129.9
7. France: 129.4
8. Portugal: 118.0
9. Italy: 114.8
10. Sweden: 112.3
(comScore, September 2010)
70% of households in the EU27 had access to the internet in the first quarter of 2010, compared with 49% in the first quarter of 2006, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
The level of internet access increased in all Member States between 2006 and 2010, most notably in Romania where it tripled, and in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary and Slovakia, where it doubled or almost doubled. In 2010, the highest shares of internet access were recorded in the Netherlands (91%), Luxembourg (90%), Sweden (88%) and Denmark (86%), and the lowest in Bulgaria (33%), Romania (42%) and Greece (46%).
Households with internet access in 2010 compared to 2006 in EU27:
EU27: 70% in 2010, up from 49% in 2006
- Belgium: 73% / 54%
- Bulgaria: 33% / 17%
- Czech Rep.: 61% / 29%
- Denmark: 86% / 79%
- Germany: 82% / 67%
- Estonia: 68% / 46%
- Ireland: 72% / 50%
- Greece: 46% / 23%
- Spain: 59% / 39%
- France: 74% / 41%
- Italy: 59% / 40%
- Cyprus: 54% / 37%
- Latvia: 60% / 42%
- Lithuania: 61% / 35%
- Luxembourg: 90% / 70%
- Hungary: 60% / 32%
- Malta: 70% / 53%
- Netherlands: 91% / 80%
- Austria: 73% / 52%
- Poland: 63% / 36%
- Portugal: 54% / 35%
- Romania: 42% / 14%
- Slovenia: 68% / 54%
- Slovakia: 67% / 27%
- Finland: 81% / 65%
- Sweden: 88% / 77%
- UK: 80% / 63%
- Norway: 90% / 69%
- Croatia: 56%
- Turkey: 42%
In 2010, the level of internet access for households with children in the EU27 was significantly higher than for households without children (84% compared with 65%). This was the case in all Member States. The shares for households with children ranged from 50% in Romania to 99% in the Netherlands and Finland. In twelve Member States the share was 90% or more for households with children. (Eurostat, December 2010)
eMarketer, which published new forecasts for digital sales in January 2013, also has confidence in the medium-term future of regional ecommerce, anticipating that annual B2C ecommerce sales in Western Europe will reach $438.31 billion by 2016.
B2C eCommerce sales in Western Europe, 2011-2016:
- 2011: $250.48 billion (+16.5% change)
- 2012: $292.96 billion (+17.0%)
- 2013: $333.61 billion (+13.9%)
- 2014: $371.85 billion (+11.5%)
- 2015: $407.29 billion (+9.5%)
- 2016: $438.31 billion (+7.6%)
Forrester also predicted that more mature markets, such as the UK, France, Germany and the Scandinavian countries, will see momentum decline, while Italy and Spain will maintain a compound annual growth (CAGR) rate of 16% and 18%, respectively.
It's undeniable that expansion will be slower in northern European nations where digital buying is already well established, including in the UK. On the other hand, eMarketer estimates that double-digit growth will continue in every Western European country this year. Overall ecommerce growth in the region is expected to slip from nearly 14% in 2013 to 11.5% next year, and drop below 10% in 2015.
In Western Europe, nearly 179 million people ages 14 and older will buy via digital channels in 2013, according to eMarketer predictions. Around one in four of these will be German residents. This too is good news for ecommerce, as the German economy will likely remain one of the most stable in Europe, and consumers there should enjoy, on average, a higher level of disposable income than in most other markets. (eMarketer, April 2013)
In 2011, 58% of internet users aged 16-74 in the EU27 had ordered goods or services over the internet (e-commerce) within the last 12 months, according to the European Commission's Eurostat statistics arm. The highest shares were observed in the UK (82%), Denmark and Germany (both 77%), and Sweden (75%). (Eurostat, December 2011)
Less than 1 in 5 online users in the CEE region actually shops online, according to the findings of the CEE Telco Industry Report 2011, an international study conducted in 15 CEE countries on a sample comprising more than 15,000 respondents.
In the Czech Republic, where online shopping is the most popular among CEE countries, as many as 54% of the online population use the web to hunt for bargains. Slovakia and Slovenia are also CEE leaders in terms of online shopping. In contrast, there is much space for growth in online shopping for countries such as Turkey, Ukraine and Kazakhstan that bring up the rear of the list.
Use of online shopping in CEE countries, 2011:
- Czech Republic: 53.6% of online population in the country
- Slovakia: 48.0%
- Slovenia: 47.8%
- Estonia: 40.8%
- Romania: 37.2%
- Lithuania: 35.8%
- Latvia: 35.1%
- Hungary: 28.4%
- Croatia: 19.9%
- Russia: 19.8%
- Serbia: 16.0%
- Bosnia-Herzegovina: 11.8%
- Turkey: 10.0%
- Ukraine: 8.5%
- Kazakhstan: 6.9%
(GfK Group, October 2011)
The UK has long dominated Western Europe's ecommerce landscape, accounting for well over half of annual sales in the EU-5. But France, Germany, Italy and Spain are increasingly vital markets in their own right. eMarketer estimates that in 2013, combined online sales in these countries will reach $121.5 billion and overtake the UK total for the first time.
By 2015, spending across the region will reach $343.5 billion, with 58.2% of the total, or $199.9 billion, coming from France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
The number of online buyers in Europe's four main continental markets is rising steadily as consumer confidence increases and online sellers provide an ever-wider range of goods and services.
B2C eCommerce sales in Western Europe, by country, 2010-2015:
- UK: US$91.5 billion in 2010 / US$143.6 billion
- Germany: US$33.7 billion / US$53.5 billion
- France: US$25.4 billion / US$41.8 billion
- Spain: US$12.3 billion / US$26.4 billion
- Italy: US$9.4 billion / US$26.7 billion
- Other: US$36.6 billion / US$51.6 billion
WESTERN EUROPE: US$208.8 billion / US$343.5 billion
Still, the number of online buyers in these countries as a percentage of internet users varies widely. In the UK and Germany, nearly three-quarters or more of the online population has made a purchase online in the past year, higher than the US rate of 72.6% for 2011. France is not far behind.
But in Spain and Italy, rates of online purchasing are much lower and climbing slowly. One reason is that Italy, like Spain, has no strong tradition of catalog-based home shopping, whereas France and Germany do. As a result, most consumers in Italy are not familiar with evaluating goods based on photos, or ordering and paying for items days before they are delivered. (eMarketer, August 2011)
EyeforTravel recently carried out in-depth research into the reality of what challenges travel companies across Europe are facing right now when it comes to online marketing and social media. EyeforTravel spoke to senior marketing representatives from leading hotels, online travel agents, tour operators, travel search sites, car hire and cruise companies.
The following topic areas were top of the ‘most quoted challenges list'.
Perhaps not surprisingly, social media tops the agenda of most travel marketers key challenges - and interests - right now. A large proportion of those spoken to however, felt that investing in social media has had a positive impact on customer engagement, brand awareness and in some cases directly led to increased sales. Engaging customers via the social media giants Facebook and Twitter was a key area of experimentation with ‘F-commerce' and how to ‘pimp your profile' of most interest when it comes to using these sites. For larger organisations, managing multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts as well as deciding whether to have a centralised or decentralised approach were problematic areas. This was complicated by the fact that most European brands operate across different countries and so different languages and cultural issues serve to further complicate issues.
2010 has widely been dubbed the year of mobile so it's not surprising that mobile scores highly on the list of challenges for this year. Travel brands are at hugely varying stages of preparing themselves for mobile engagement. From the initial stages of designing a mobile friendly website to the launch of mobile applications, innovation (and very insightful case studies) is widespread but so are the questions. Many travel brands realise the importance of investing in the area but marketing departments are struggling to get the budgets they need to start driving engagement via mobile or to launch a new mobile application. Many feel that 2010 is a tipping point however, and that mobile is too important an area to ignore.
Closely related to mobile, advances in social media and geo-location sites and applications were cited as key areas of opportunity for travel marketers to target their customers on the move and reward loyalty. Although American, sites such as Foursquare and Gowalla are fast gaining penetration in the UK and Europe. Google Goggles and Layar are driving the trend towards augmented reality. Travel companies are keen to find out more about this area of new technology and opportunities that it presents for their brand.
Creating the perfect travel website is by no means a new challenge for travel brands but the importance of ‘getting it right' (or not getting it wrong!) is all too clear. What content do customers look for when planning a trip? Should you include user reviews/video/photos etc? What content inspires, engages and actually converts consumers? What content can you do without? All these questions are pretty common but budget restraints, poor research and communication between departments mean travel websites are still underperforming in comparison to other industry verticals.
Last but not least, a somewhat more traditional marketing challenge for travel brands. Search continues to evolve at an alarming rate and still plays a vital role in acquiring new customers. The integration of real-time search results into search engine results as well as the continued evolution of search algorithms poses key challenges for travel companies. The introduction of hotel pricing into Google maps is a key concern for travel marketers as they feel that this is an unfair point of comparison as the ability to display the value of the product to the end consumer becomes limited.
(Eye for travel, June 2010)
Western Europe leads the world in retail e-commerce sales. The UK is the most mature market, but other countries increasingly contribute to the region's online buying share. Europe's dominance will continue through 2012, according to Collins Stewart, when online retail sales will cross the $200 billion threshold.
The population of online shoppers and buyers in the region is rising steadily, according to eMarketer. But there are key differences in these markets.
Retail eCommerce sales in Western Europe, 2008-2012:
- 2008: $145.9 billion
- 2009: $150.3 billion
- 2010: $162.3 billion
- 2011: $182.6 billion
- 2012: $202.7 billion
This is chiefly the result of long-standing differences between Northern and Southern infrastructures and buying habits. France and Germany have shown much higher online sales and greater e-commerce activity among Web users than Italy and Spain, where the internet still represents a fraction of total retail volume. In Germany, for example, internet purchases accounted for 6.9% of retail sales in 2009, according to Kelkoo, while in Italy the Web claimed just 0.8% of the total.
The recent economic downturn has compounded national differences, according to eMarketer. In France and Germany, as in the UK, e-commerce was well established before the recession hit. Budget-conscious shoppers turned to the internet in ever-larger numbers to compare products and prices and pick up deals.
Retail eCommerce sales in selected countries in Europe in 2009:
- UK: £38.0 billion (9.5% of total retail sales)
- Germany: £29.7 billion (6.9%)
- France: £22.0 billion (4.9%)
- Benelux: £7.4 billion (3.5%)
- Italy: £7.3 billion (0.8%)
- Spain: £5.6 billion (1.0%)
- Denmark: £3.5 billion (6.1%)
- Sweden: £3.4 billion (4.8%)
- Switzerland: £3.4 billion (4.8%)
- Norway: £2.9 billion (6.3%)
- Finland: £2.3 billion (4.9%)
- Poland: £2.2 billion (2.0%)
Total: £127.7 billion (4.7%)
Online retailers may gain incremental revenue by appealing to buyers in the smaller European markets. One big opportunity lies in Spain, where the total number of online buyers is still relatively low. But roughly two-thirds of internet users did buy something on the Web between July 2008 and July 2009, according to InSites Consulting. (eMarketer, May 2010)
Google is accelerating towards the European launch of its mobile "wallet" by forming a new marketing department to promote contactless payment. The Google mobile wallet, first unveiled by former CEO Eric Schmidt in November 2010, will allow consumers to swipe and pay for items and transfer money with their Android smartphones.
Nokia, which manufactures smartphones running Google rival operating systems by Windows and Symbian, and Blackberry-owner RIM have also stated intentions to launch versions of contactless payment technology their handsets in Europe. (MarketingWeek, May 2011)
62% of respondents purchased clothes and footwear online making this the largest category of spend in the survey, followed by more ‘traditional' online items such as books and magazines (59%), and online travel accounting at 47% of spend, according to a research from IDC commissioned by Akamai Technologies looking at trends in European consumer behaviour when buying goods and services online. The research comprised interviews with 1, 500 consumers in six European countries (France, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden).
The research shows a number of trends and findings that will be of interest to both retailers and e-commerce vendors. The findings included the fact that the majority of consumers expect a website to load in less than four seconds, and in some cases two seconds, otherwise (around 70%) will switch to another, probably competitive, website.
Other key findings in the research include:
- 30% of respondents indicated an increase in online spending during 2010, with the fastest growing e-commerce market in Europe being Spain, where 44% of consumers reported a willingness to spend more online.
- 62% of respondents purchased clothes and footwear online making this the largest category of spend in the survey (this was followed by more ‘traditional' online items such as books and magazines (59%), with online travel accounting at 47% of spend).
- The group of highest spenders online in Europe (each spending around Euro 1, 500 per year) tend to be aged between 35 to 54 years.
- Nearly 30% of respondents are using, or plan to use, mobile devices for some kind of e-commerce. Within this group there is a 10% core of respondents that are already using their mobile/smart phones for retail search, price comparison or online purchasing. In addition, another 20% of respondents are planning to do this in the future, so a full third of respondents will be using the mobile channel in the short-term for e-commerce.
- On average multichannel shoppers spend 15-30% more than someone who only uses one channel.
Martin Haering, VP of International Marketing at Akamai, said that these findings show that consumers in Europe are pushing the edges of e-commerce, demanding greater performance from their online shopping experience. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, November 2010)
19% of UK consumers were already participating in mobile commerce in April 2010, significantly more than in France (9%) or Germany (13%), according to MMA and Lightspeed. Buying via mobile was especially popular among 18- to 34-year-olds; 29% of UK consumers in this age group had carried out mobile transactions. UK residents also expressed greater interest in future mobile purchases than residents of Germany or France.
Data from eBay, released in July 2010, supports the view that UK mobile users are in the vanguard of European m-commerce. The site (which claims to have racked up £64 million ($90 million) in sales through its mobile app since 2009) reported that UK users bought more items with the app in a single month than those in France purchased in the whole of 2009.
The average transaction value remains quite low, according to figures from Bango, a mobile payment technology provider, cited by New Media Age magazine. More than three-quarters (79%) of transactions in early 2010 were valued at £5 ($7) or less, and 22% represented purchases of less than £2 ($2.80). Only 9% of all mobile transactions were worth £10 ($14) or more, Bango calculated. (eMarketer, September 2010)
Online Travel Market
Nearly 183 million internet users visited travel websites in Europe in March 2013, according to comScore.
Taking the top spot was Priceline.com with 31.4 million unique visitors, followed by TripAdvisor with 25.7 million and Odigeo with 14.1 million unique visitors that month.
Visitors to Deutsche Bahn and Groupe SNCF accessed the most pages during March 2013, namely 24 and 23 pages per visitor, respectively. TUI Group is not far behind with 21 average pages per visitor, followed by Travora Media with 17 pages per visitor.
Top websites in the travel category in Europe, March 2013, total unique visitors (000):
- Priceline.com Inc.: 31,419
- TripAdvisor Inc.: 25,684
- Odigeo: 14,084
- Expedia Inc.: 13,758
- Groupe SNCF: 10,083
- TUI Group: 8,580
- Ryanair: 7,977
- Deutsche Bahn: 7,385
- Easyjet.com: 6,271
- Travora Media: 5,967
(comScore Data Mine, April 2013)
42% of the European online population visited a travel site in November 2012, spending an average of 23.4 minutes on these sites, according to comScore Data Mine.
When looking at the individual countries, the UK took the top spot as internet users spent an average of 40 minutes per visitor per month on travel sites, almost double that of the European average. The Netherlands came in second place with visitors spending an average of 33 minutes on these sites, followed by France with 28.1 minutes and Belgium with 25.1 minutes during that month.
European countries ranked by time spent on travel websites (average minutes per visitor age 15+), November 2012:
EUROPE: 23.4 minutes
1. UK: 40.0 minutes
2. Netherlands: 33.0 minutes
3. France: 28.1 minutes
4. Belgium: 25.1 minutes
5. Germany: 25.0 minutes
6. Spain: 23.5 minutes
7. Sweden: 21.8 minutes
8. Norway: 21.5 minutes
9. Austria: 20.4 minutes
10. Russian Federation: 19.9 minutes
(comScore Data Mine, January 2013)
Online travel shoppers in France, Germany and the UK trimmed down the number of websites they visited when shopping for travel in 2012, according to PhoCusWright's European Consumer Travel Report Third Edition.
The percentage of online travel shoppers who used only 1-2 websites to shop for travel products increased within the past year - to 41% in France, 30% in Germany and 37% in the UK. A smaller share of travellers in each market visited three sites or more compared to the previous year.
More European travellers opted to stay with friends and family in 2012, and less complex trips require a smaller amount of travel shopping. With relatively few options among airlines and rail providers on any given route, the range of transportation brand choices is far narrower than hotels. Increasingly savvy travelers begin to identify their favourite websites - and eliminate the rest from their shopping routine.
Research reveals that European travellers are aware of their habitual behaviour. An increasing portion of travellers (up 4% across the markets in 2012) indicate that they have formed travel planning routines. (PhoCusWright FYI, September 2012)
69% of UK and French travellers with mobile phones, followed by 57% in Germany, accessed the mobile web in the past year, about a 10% increase across markets from the prior year, according to PhoCusWright's European Consumer Travel Report Third Edition.
Travellers are connecting more frequently as well. Just about half in France and the UK, and over a third in Germany now log on at least daily. But in Germany, despite the increased appetite for smartphones, the percentage of mobile web users who engage in several travel-related activities, such as mobile check-ins and mobile booking, fell substantially.
Now, smartphones are conventional technology, increasingly in the hands of a mainstream audience with less inclination to explore complex mobile functions. Compared to the early adopters, consumers are nowhere near as eager to transform their smartphone into a boarding pass, or book a nearby hotel on the spot, for example. As more of these mainstream consumers swell the population of smartphone owners, they greatly reduce the relative proportion of cutting-edge users.
Among the three markets researched in Europe, the contrast in mobile behaviour between the early mobile adopters and the mainstream users was most prominent in Germany. Nevertheless, location-centric mobile web activities, such as viewing maps or looking up nearby activities, have surged over the last year in Germany. (PhoCusWright, August 2012)
The number of European visitors to the travel category in April 2011 grew 11% in the past year, according to comScore.
Travel properties, which include online travel agents, destination information sites, and transportation and accommodation sites, now attract 44% of the European internet audience, a 5% point increase. The UK continues to lead European markets in travel category penetration at 66.5%, up 8% points from a year ago. Ireland and Spain show similarly high penetration rates, with 58.7% reach and 57.3% reach, respectively. Although Russia currently has the lowest penetration rate for travel properties among the eighteen markets at 27.8%, it showed the highest growth in unique visitors over the past year with a 41% increase.
Top 10 European markets by % reach of travel properties, April 2011 (total Europe audience, Age 15+, home and work locations):
- UK: 66.5% reach (+8% compared to the previous year)
- Ireland: 58.7% (+5%)
- Spain: 57.3% (-5%)
- Netherlands: 56.6% (-3%)
- France: 56.0% (+3%)
- Switzerland: 50.9% (-2%)
- Germany: 50.5% (+12%)
- Sweden: 47.3% (-15%)
- Italy: 47.2% (-8%)
- Belgium: 45.4% (-15%)
Expedia Inc. (which includes TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Hotels.com sites), attracted the most unique visitors in April 2011 with 21.7 million. Priceline.com Inc. followed with 16.4 million unique visitors, up 10% versus last year - the highest growth rate among the top travel properties in Europe. Priceline's sizeable audience was fuelled in large part by hotel reservation site Booking.com, which attracted 15.8 million visitors. Groupe SNCF (French National Railway Corporation) was the third most heavily visited property in April with 9.3 million visitors.
Top ten travel properties in Europe by total unique visitors in April 2011 (Total Europe audience, Age 15+, Home and work locations):
1. Expedia Inc.: 21,669,000 (-4% compared to the previous year)
2. Priceline.com Inc.: 16,443,000 (+10%)
3. Groupe SNCF: 9,330,000 (+2%)
4. TUI Group: 8,587,000 (+2%)
5. Ryanair: 7,509,000 (-12%)
6. TravelAdNetwork: 7,302,000 (+7%)
7. Deutsche Bahn: 6,750,000 (+1%)
8. Travelocity: 6,148,000 (-25%)
9. Easyjet.com: 6,124,000 (+4%)
10. Thomas Cook Group PLC: 5,356,000 (-4%)
(TravelDailyNews June 2011)
Gross online travel bookings across Europe will account for 35% of the total in 2011, measuring 83.6 billion Euros compared to Euro 238 billion for the entire market, according to a study by the European Technology and Travel Services Association and PhoCusWright.
This will be a jump of 2% from the 33% share of gross bookings for online in 2010 (Euro 76.9 billion) and a continued steady track upwards from 21% in 2006.
The report also shows that the GDSs process around 254 million transactions a year (according to 2008 figures). The OTAs accounted for around Euro 24 billion in total travel sales in 2009 (6% growth year-on-year), compared to offline agencies which bring in Euro 23 billion in just air, hotel and car rental, before packages are taken into account.
OTAs in Europe, like those in Asia-Pacific, are growing (the sector has grown by 6% from 2008 to 2009, compared to the total travel market, which has declined by 10%). This was not mirrored in the US, with the total market dropping 16% and the OTA segment also falling by 3%. (tnooz talking travel tech, September 2010)
The latest study into trends in the European consumer travel marketplace indicates just 6% of French travellers and 5% of those from the UK will carry out the entire trip planning and buying process without using the internet.
Report author PhoCusWright reveals Germany, the other key market in Europe, had just 9% of internet-connected travellers running their travel arrangements offline.
Elsewhere in the report, PhoCusWright claims price is not the biggest motivator behind why web users visit a travel website. The most commonly cited reason is a positive experience on a previous occasion, say 51% of British, 50% of Germans and 38% of French consumers.
Perhaps most interestingly, and a slight reality check in the rush toward mobile and travel services, is news that fewer than 10% of travellers had performed a travel-related activity on their handsets in the past 12 months. This, PhoCusWright says, is likely to change as a third of travellers have web smartphones (38% in France, 37% in Germany and 47% in the UK) and the mobile travel audience is expected to double into 2011. (Tnooz.com, July 2010)
More than three quarters of European travellers book their holidays online
Wherever holiday-makers choose to go, the internet is their first port of call for both researching and booking travel. More than three quarters (76%) of European travellers now book their holidays online, according to research from British Airways. This compares to just 13% 10 years ago, when internet access was less widespread.
Only 18% of travellers will step over the threshold of a travel agency this year, while 5% said they would book by telephone. Back in 2003, 65% booked their holiday in person and 22% used the phone.
Methods used for booking travel by European travellers, 2013 vs. 2003:
- Internet: 76% (up from 13% in 2003)
- Travel agent: 18% (down from 65% in 2003)
- Phone: 5% (down from 22% in 2003)
(TravelDailyNews, April 2013)
An infographic from Affilinet (a European affiliate marketing site) puts together the latest online travel trends, highlighting where, when and why online holiday vacation are being made, and some best practices for travel suppliers.
According to the data (compliled from various sources such as Affilinet, EyeForTravel and Kuoni):
- 57% of European consumers are purchasing travel online, and 23% are still using travel agents (down from 28% a year ago).
- On the mobile side of travel purchase, 16% are using mobile devices to book trips. That increases to 18% among the 18 to 35 age group, and as much as 33% among business travelers.
- When it comes to influencing consumer choices, 66% follow deals and promotions, 55% are taken by photos and 33% are influenced by recommendations.
- The average consumer visits 22 websites before they make the final transaction.
(HOTELMARKETING.COM, March 2013)
The European online travel market will sustain double-digit gains in 2012, despite anemic growth for the region's travel industry, according to PhoCusWright's European Online Travel Overview Eighth Edition report. Amid ongoing economic turmoil, the European travel market will grow just 2.5% (half as fast as the previous year) to reach €242 billion.
The European online leisure/unmanaged business travel market will grow 10% in 2012, down from 17% the previous year. The rise in online sales has largely been driven by online travel agencies (OTAs), which present an appealing option for budget-minded consumers venturing online in search of deals. OTAs will grow 13% in 2012, with supplier websites gaining just 8%.
Although Europe's online travel market continues to outpace the overall market, growth will decelerate across all channels over the next two years, according to Carroll Rheem, PhoCusWright senior director, research. This is partly due to general economic challenges, but also the graduation of some markets to a mature online state. As economies of scale and network effects are meaningful in travel, the region's dominant players are better positioned than their smaller counterparts. The environment is ripe for consolidation among both suppliers and intermediaries.
Growth prospects vary for each regional market and industry segment. (PhoCusWright FYI, December 2012)
European business travellers book their hotels online, mostly directly via the hotel's website (43%) or through travel websites (33%), according to an Accor European Business Travel Research, targeting members of its loyalty program from France, the UK and Germany. Location is their primary concern when choosing a hotel (for 66%). And free Wi-Fi is now an absolute prerequisite for one in two business travellers.
The research reveals one major customer expectation, the reward or desire for acknowledgement. The notion of reward also reflects all aspects of business travellers' expectations: changing reservation methods, the desire for a good experience and know-how, the need for free Wi-Fi anytime, anywhere, for attentive establishments, for responsible hotels, all for a completely digital-savvy business traveller.
The research reveals differences between French, German and British business travellers. As far as online booking is concerned, the British are well ahead of the French and the Germans when reserving directly via the hotel's website (64% compared with 47% and 30% respectively). The Germans prefer to book via a travel website (48%).
The research, which was carried out for the first time in Europe, but which has already been conducted twice in Asia-Pacific, also compares the expectations of business travellers according to their country of origin and culture. For example, it revealed that travellers from the Asia Pacific region are more digital-savvy than Europeans. They consider free Wi-Fi more important (second hotel selection criterion after location vs. third criterion for Europeans after location and price) and also tend to share more their opinions online. (HOTELMARKETING, November 2012)
The online travel agency (OTA) market, with its scores of small, local players, is on the cusp of consolidation, according toPhoCusWright's Eastern Europe Online Travel Overview.
While supplier websites dominate in Eastern Europe, the region's OTAs are gaining as they evolve their technology and inventory offerings. By 2013, 10% of the region's travel bookings will be made via an OTA, up from 7% in 2011. The OTA market is growing more than 25% annually, snapping up inventory from the fragmented hotel market and maintaining a sizable share of air bookings despite competition from supplier websites.
Global powerhouses Booking.com (Priceline) and Hotels.com (Expedia) dominate outbound hotel bookings and together account for nearly 40% of OTA revenue in the region. The remainder is divided among a large number of local players that offer air or domestic hotel bookings.
The next few years will be key for Eastern Europe's OTA market, and international players will be watching closely to see how the local travel agent market shakes out, according to Lorraine Sileo, PhoCusWright's vice president, research. A few local OTAs will likely emerge as dominant in air and domestic hotel reservations, while the smallest among them will find it increasingly difficult to survive. (PhoCusWright, August 2012)
Online booking is finally gaining a foothold in Eastern Europe, one of online travel's last frontiers, according to PhoCusWright Global and European Edition report - Eastern Europe Online Travel Overview. Findings show that 16% of Eastern Europe's total travel market was booked online in 2011, but that figure will reach nearly one fourth (23%) by 2013.
The report is the first comprehensive study of this rapidly changing growth market, the first to examine the drivers and challenges in a region that tallied US$85.1 billion in travel bookings in 2011. By 2013, that number will expand to $92.5 billion, of which $20.9 billion will be transacted online. Online growth will dramatically outpace the single-digit uptick of the total market, jumping 27% and 26% in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
A major factor in that growth will be the online awakening of the Russia travel market, by far the region's largest. PhoCusWright projects Russia's online travel penetration will climb from 10% in 2011 to 18% by 2013. (PhoCusWright FYI, July 2012)
55% of all travel bookings in Europe were made online in 2011, up 15% on 2010, according to IPK International. However, many of the more than one-in-two online bookings were through the travel trade. IPK reported 49% of travel agent bookings were through an agency website.
IPK released the figures as part of its annual world travel trends survey at German trade show ITB in Berlin. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, March 2012)
72% of EU citizens travelled in 2011, and more than 80% said that they would do so in 2012, choosing to go either on short trips or longer holidays, according to the results of the Eurobarometer survey on the attitudes of Europeans towards tourism published in March 2012 and which also sheds light on the preferences and travel patterns of EU citizens.
The majority of EU-residents are confident travellers, who prefer arranging their holidays by themselves: 53% of Europeans booked their holidays via internet. As informed and empowered consumers, 49% of those who went on holiday in 2011 organised the various elements of their trip separately, rather than booking them altogether in one package.
But they still rely on recommendations from family and friends about where to go. "Word of mouth" was relevant to 52% of EU travellers, more than internet websites (40%). (Flash Eurobarometer 334 "Attitudes of European Towards Tourism", March 2012)
The overall development of the online travel market in Europe has been very positive, according to yStats.com "Europe Online Travel Report 2012" report. Online travel agency bookings grew by almost 20% in Europe in 2011 compared to 2010. The UK is projected to remain the largest share of Europe's online travel market in 2013, followed by Germany and France. In 2011, the reach of online tour operators was also the highest in Great Britain, while the strongest growth was observed in Germany. In 2011, Expedia had the highest number of unique visitors in Europe, followed by Priceline.
Other key findings of the report show that:
- In Great Britain - more than half of all consumers avoid traditional travel agents altogether and book their holidays online instead. In line with this trend, more than half of all internet users used online services for travel and accommodation in 2011.
- In Germany - customers preferred traditional travel agents for expensive travel arrangements and online booking for cheaper tours. Online revenue has grown considerably in this sector, while offline revenue has decreased.
- In France - revenue generated with online travel bookings grew as well between January and September 2011, more than the total B2C E-Commerce revenue. Additionally, B2C E-Commerce revenue in the category "Travel and Holiday Accommodation" was higher in 2011 than in the next four categories combined.
- In Italy - almost half of all Italian online customers booked their accommodation online in 2011, making this the strongest category in Italian B2C E-Commerce.
- In the Netherlands - in 2011, online train travel planner "Nederlandse Spoorwegen" and public transport planner "9292OV.nl" were among the most frequently visited travel websites.
- In Denmark - in 2011, more than three quarters of all Danes booked their holidays online, while less than 10% used the services of a traditional travel agent.
- In Norway - "Travel and Holiday Accommodation" was the most popular online product category in the second quarter of 2011.
- In Russia - almost half of all passengers in Russia had purchased their flight on a travel website, while almost one quarter had booked tickets via phone.
- In Turkey - using the internet to buy travel arrangements or accommodation online was popular in Turkey in 2011.
(TravelDailyNews, March 2012)
When it comes to online travel penetration, not all European markets are created equal. Online leisure/unmanaged business travel share of the total travel market varies significantly by country, with the UK leading the pack, and Spain and Italy lagging far behind, according to PhoCusWright's European Online Travel Overview Seventh Edition.
The UK (47%) overtook Scandinavia (46%) in online travel penetration by a small margin in 2010. However, the size of the UK's total travel market makes it by far the largest online market in Europe, comprising 28% of total European online leisure/unmanaged business travel gross bookings in 2010. By 2013, its share of Europe's total online travel market will shrink to 26% as smaller markets experience rapid online growth and larger markets mature.
At the other end of the spectrum, Italy and Spain (smaller travel markets with low online travel penetration) will comprise just 5% and 7%, respectively, of European online leisure/unmanaged business bookings by 2013. Growth in these two markets continues to be inhibited by economic uncertainty, lower levels of internet access, and the presence of dominant offline travel distribution networks. (TravelDailyNews, February 2012)
The UK was the largest European online travel market in 2010 (28%), followed by Germany (20%) and France (18%), according to PhoCusWright. The country is expected to retain its place in 2013.
European online leisure/unmanaged business share of gross bookings, 2010 vs. 2013:
1. UK: 28% in 2010 / 26% by 2013
2. Germany: 20% / 20%
3. France: 18% / 17%
4. Scandinavia: 7% / 7%
5. Spain: 6% / 7%
6. Italy: 5% / 5%
Rest of EU: 15% / 19%
(L'ECHO TOURISTIQUE, January 2012)
Europe's online travel market is thriving, and the region's fastest-growing distribution channel is leading the way. Riding the crest of the market recovery, online travel agencies (OTAs) were projected to grow 19% in 2011 to reach €33.4 billion, according to PhoCusWright's European Online Travel Overview Seventh Edition. By comparison, supplier website bookings were expected to grow just 9%, giving OTAs a substantial edge.
Priceline's Booking.com was the main driver of OTA growth in Europe in 2011, with the company's share of all OTA gross bookings projected to rise to 27% in 2011, up from 22% the previous year. The top five pan-European OTAs - Priceline, Expedia, Lastminute.com, Ebookers and the newly formed ODIGEO - account for over 60% of European OTA bookings. Their collective market share continues to grow at the expense of smaller local OTAs, amidst ongoing consolidation. (PhoCusWright FYI, January 2012)
Bookings by smartphones have made no significant impact to date, according to the ITB World Travel Trends report by IPK International and commissioned by ITB Berlin. Only 3% of European travellers said they used mobile devices to make their travel reservations.
Ninety-seven percent of internet users booked their trips via a PC or laptop. As far as booking accommodation is concerned, online reservations (63%) have now already overtaken bookings by telephone or in person (37%). (ForImmediateRelease.Net - Travel News Distribution powered by eTurboNews, November 2011)
Four out of ten Europeans would consider booking a holiday or flight via mobile device, although Brits are the least mobile-friendly with less than a third keen on the idea, according to the annual travel trends survey by TripAdvisor of over 6,000 Europeans.
Just 31% of Brits say they will purchase a travel product on a mobile device, compared to a 39% average across Europe. Politics and economy troubled Italians have come in the highest in the annual survey, with 57% claiming they would book a travel product via a mobile.
Over half (54%) of Brits declined outright to purchase travel online, via a non-desktop, or laptop machine, according to the survey. (tnooz, November 2011)
The European online travel market is expected to grow 13% in 2011, as the overall travel market continues a moderate recovery, according to a PhoCusWright's European Online Travel Overview Seventh Edition report. Following a 2010 rebound, the total European travel market is projected to grow 3% in 2011, amidst ongoing economic uncertainty.
Following a substantial 17% jump in 2010, the European online leisure/unmanaged business travel market will maintain double-digit growth through 2012. The online market's gains are driven largely by online travel agencies (OTAs), which are projected to grow 19% in 2011.
With European online travelers continuing to shift to online channels, European online travel penetration will soon overtake that of the US. By 2013, Europe's online leisure/unmanaged business travel market will comprise 41% of the total travel market, versus 40% in the US. (PhoCusWright FYI, December 2011)
PhoCusWright estimates that in 2012, Europe will become the largest online travel sector, while Asia-Pacific will account for roughly 20% of the market worldwide, according to PhoCusWright analyst Clement Wong at the WebinTravel conference in Singapore. (tnooz talking travel tech, October 2011)
Booking.com has emerged overwhelmingly as the dominant distribution channel for European hotels according to the ‘Directly from the Trenches' survey of more than 200 properties conducted by Susquehanna Financial Group.
While hotels use an average of 3.5 online travel agencies for distribution, on average half of online reservations, are coming from Priceline-owned booking.com. A further 30% of reservations are from a combination of other OTAs, with Expedia and its sister brands featuring quite strongly, while the remaining 20% come from the hotels' own websites.
Three-quarters of respondents say they plan to drive more business via booking.com in the future recognising the strength of the brand and the volume of transactions it drives for them.
The survey also demonstrates optimism from the sector with 93% of respondents saying transactions are the same or better compared with Q3 last year. In addition, 89% anticipate the coming three to six months to be the same or better than expected compared with year-on-year figures.
The research was carried out over three weeks in September and October 2011, on more than 200 hotels with 100 respondents, to gauge the health of travel bookings in the third quarter of the year. (tnooz - talking travel tech, October 2011)
The number of European visitors to the travel category in April 2011 grew 11% compared to the previous year, according to comScore. Travel properties, which include online travel agents, destination information sites, and transportation and accommodation sites, are now visited by 44.0% of the European internet audience, a 5percentage point increase.
The UK continues to lead European markets in travel category penetration at 66.5%, up 8percentage points from a year ago. Ireland and Spain show similarly high penetration rates, with 58.7% reach and 57.3% reach, respectively. Although Russia currently has the lowest penetration rate for travel properties among the eighteen markets at 27.8%, it showed the highest growth in unique visitors over the past year with a 41% increase.
Top ten European markets by % reach of travel properties, April 2011 (Total Europe Audience, Age 15+, Home and work locations):
- UK: 66.5% reach (+8% compared to the previous year)
- Ireland: 58.7% (+5%)
- Spain: 57.3% (-5%)
- Netherlands: 56.6% (-3%)
- France: 56.0% (+3%)
- Switzerland: 50.9% (-2%)
- Germany: 50.5% (+12%)
- Sweden: 47.3% (-15%)
- Italy: 47.2% (-8%)
- Belgium: 45.4% (-15%)
Expedia Inc. (which includes TripAdvisor Sites, Expedia Sites, and Hotels.com Sites), attracted the most unique visitors in April 2011 with 21.7 million. Priceline.com Inc. followed with 16.4 million unique visitors, up 10% versus last year - the highest growth rate among the top Travel properties in Europe. Priceline's sizeable audience was fueled in large part by hotel reservation site Booking.com, which attracted 15.8 million visitors. Groupe SNCF (French National Railway Corporation) was the third most heavily visited property in April with 9.3 million visitors.
Top 10 travel properties in Europe by total unique visitors, April 2011 (Total Europe Audience, Age 15+, Home and work locations):
1. Expedia Inc.: 21,669,000 unique visitors (-4% compared to the previous year)
2. Priceline.com Inc.: 16,443,000 (+10%)
3. Groupe SNCF: 9,330,000 (+2%)
4. TUI Group: 8,587,000 (+2%)
5. Ryanair: 7,509,000 (-12%)
6. TravelAdNetwork: 7,302,000 (+7%)
7. Deutsche Bahn: 6,750,000 (+1%)
8. Travelocity: 6,148,000 (-25%)
9. Easyjet.com: 6,124,000 (+4%)
10. Thomas Cook Group PLC: 5,356,000 (-4%)
(comScore, June 2011)
When EU citizens were asked to define the primary information source they used when making decisions about travel and holiday plans, they opted for recommendations of friends and colleagues; as in 2010, roughly 3 in 10 (29%) respondents chose this source, according to the European Commission Eurobarometer Survey on the attitudes of Europeans towards tourism (Analytical report Wave 3).
Just over a quarter (27%) said they looked for information on the internet and 18% mentioned personal experience. About 1 in 10 (11%) EU citizens considered that travel/tourist agencies were the best sources. A smaller number of interviewees chose each of the other sources listed in the survey (all 4%-5%).
Respondents were also asked what they would choose as the second most important source. Adding up the percentages of the first and second selections, the above ranking of information sources remained the same at the EU level. Almost 6 in 10 (58%) EU citizens answered that recommendations of friends and colleagues would be the first or second most important source of information when making decisions about travel and holiday plans. Using the same logic, the internet was considered to be the main source by 45% of respondents, and a lower proportion (29%) mentioned personal experience. Other ratings were travel/tourist agencies (21%), non-commercial brochures (e.g. those of a regional tourism association, 13%), commercial guidebooks (13%) and the media (e.g. newspapers, TV or radio, 10%).
Information sources when deciding about holidays - EU27, (02/2011):
- Recommendations of friends and colleagues: 58% in total / 29% most important
- The internet: 45% in total / 27% most important
- Personal experience: 29% in total / 18% most important
- Travel / tourist agencies: 21% in total / 11% most important
- Catalogues, brochures (non-commercial): 13% in total / 5% most important
- Guidebooks and magazines (commercial): 13% in total / 5% most important
- Media (newspaper, radio, TV): 10% in total / 4% most important
- Don't Know / Not applicable: 3% most important
For most sources of information used when making decisions about travel and holiday plans, almost no change was seen when comparing the 2009, 2010 and 2011 results; nonetheless, an increase was observed in the proportion of respondents who considered the internet to be the main source of information (from 38% in 2009 to 42% in 2010 and 45% in 2011; +7 percentage points from 2009).
The survey showed that a majority of respondents in the Netherlands (65%), Finland (61%), Iceland and Norway (both 60%), Denmark (58%) and Sweden (55%) considered the internet to be a valuable asset. In Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, on the other hand, less than a third of respondents referred to Internet-based information (27%-32%).
The most notable increases - from 2010 to 2011 - in the share of respondents who said that the internet was their most or second most important source of information when making holiday plans were seen in Croatia (from 27% in 2010 to 38% in 2011; +11 percentage points), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (from 32% to 42%; +10 points) and Latvia (from 33% to 42%: +9 points). In Luxembourg, on the other hand, the share of respondents mentioning the Internet dropped from 50% in 2010 to 41% in 2011 (-9 percentage points).
Information source - Internet (02/2011):
- Netherlands: 65% in total / 42% most important
- Finland: 61% / 43%
- Iceland: 60% / 42%
- Norway: 60% / 39%
- Denmark: 58% / 38%
- Sweden: 55% / 31%
- Ireland: 50% / 27%
- Germany: 49% / 31%
- Malta: 48% / 26%
- Italy: 48% / 32%
- Cyprus: 46% / 30%
- Austria: 46% / 28%
- France: 46% / 27%
- UK: 46% / 25%
- Greece: 45% / 26%
- EU27: 45% / 27%
- Belgium: 45% / 26%
- Estonia: 42% / 25%
- The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: 42% / 25%
- Latvia: 42% / 23%
- Luxembourg: 41% / 25%
- Spain: 41% / 23%
- Slovenia: 40% / 19%
- Poland: 39% / 22%
- Croatia: 38% / 21%
- Portugal: 36% / 21%
- Lithuania: 35% / 18%
- Romania: 35% / 19%
- Turkey: 35% / 21%
- Bulgaria: 32% / 16%
- Czech Republic: 28% / 13%
- Slovakia: 28% / 16%
- Hungary: 27% / 16%
The survey carried out among 3,500 people across Europe found that 57% of Europeans were now booking travel online, almost double from the 28% recorded in the same survey in 2005.
The survey also found that 57% again claim to use their phones less when on holiday than during the rest of the year, but a third would "find it useful" to have practical information made available to them on their mobiles. Such elements include directory of useful numbers (52%) and conversation guides (42%).
Other findings show that Europeans are increasingly looking to organise their own holidays rather than buying packages, with French consumers leading the charge with 78%, up 5% on last year.
The average budget amongst Europeans is now Euro 2,145, up 3% on 2010. The biggest increases market-by-market include Italy (up Euro 112), Belgium (up Euro 280) and Germany (up Euro 287).
The interviews were carried out via telephone, an important consideration as many surveys extolling the latest rates of online booking are often web-based. (tnooz talking travel tech, May 2011)
PhoCusWright presented at ITB Berlin in March 2011 key findings of its European Consumer Travel Report which provides an overview of the status of consumer travel in three individual markets - the UK, France and Germany.
Their research uncovers some surprises and important differences between these three markets. The European travel markets are extremely varied in nature. The report highlights include the following trends:
- Traffic Forecast: A strong ratio of French consumers plan to travel more versus those who intend to travel less. The German outlook is also positive, though more moderate. UK travellers, in contrast, show a very slight growth trajectory for the upcoming year.
- Proliferation of the Internet in making travel plans: Among those with internet access, just 6% of French travellers, 9% of German travellers and 5% of UK travellers plan and book their trips completely offline.
- Search engines hold the key: When shopping for leisure travel options, the majority of French, German and UK travellers typically use general search engines, which rank first among website categories.
- Price is merely a hygiene factor: Even in today's price-sensitive environment, the most commonly cited reason to visit a website is a prior positive experience. This was indicated by 38% of respondents in France, 50% in Germany and 51% in the UK.
- Hotels are not the main draw: Only 38% of French travellers surveyed enjoy staying in hotels, compared to 72% of German travellers and 82% of UK travellers.
- Smartphone adoption reaches critical mass: Over a third of travellers now carry mobile phones with web browsing capabilities; 38% do so in France, 37% in Germany and 47% in the UK.
- Mobile travel is small, but growing fast: Fewer than 10% of travellers have performed travel-related activities on their mobile phone in the past year. Yet intentions show that the mobile travel audience will be likely to double in the next 12 months.
Other findings show that the age group with the most leisure time in Europe were the 18 to 24 year-olds who are a very tech-savvy generation. (https://www.stbpassport.com/index.aspx?source=email, March 2011)
PhoCusWright has produced a bitesize snapshot of the key markets around Europe, outlining the impact of the global financial crisis and how each country is (or isn't) emerging from it:
- France: With 74 million visitors, international travel to France fell in 2009 as a result of the global economic crisis and the relative strength of the euro. However, the fall in international visitors was offset by growth in domestic tourism. Despite declining overall sales, the online component of the French travel market grew slightly in 2009. However, growth rates were not even across all sectors, as airline, rail, and car hire online sales dropped in line with revenue reductions in their respective sectors.
- Germany: Facing the aftermath of the financial crisis - which severely affected nearly all European economies - Germany was able to avoid high unemployment rates and maintain relative economic stability throughout 2009. Nevertheless, growth in all sectors of the travel industry slowed, dragging total gross bookings for the German travel market down.
- Italy: Italy's travel market is recovering from its 2009 low. However, this recovery is not like previous rebounds and will be characterized by particularly sluggish growth in the months to come. Even though total market revenues diminished in 2009, online direct bookings grew. Online travel agencies (OTAs) increased their market share, as their lower distribution costs provided better deals to consumers in search of a bargain.
- Scandinavia: The Scandinavian travel market's (encompassing Denmark, Norway and Sweden) total gross bookings declined in 2009. The downturn in bookings, however, is modest in comparison to the rest of Europe. In terms of online bookings, Scandinavian sales were flat for the first time. Nevertheless, online penetration jumped over four percentage points from 2008. This is the second highest online penetration in Europe after the UK.
- Spain: The economic and financial crises have deeply affected the Spanish travel industry. Demand has dropped, especially from international visitors, and credit to travel companies has become scarcer. The financial crisis affected some travel segments more than others. Despite the economic challenges, rail grew in 2009 and OTAs remained relatively stable. On the other hand, traditional airlines, low-cost carriers, car rental companies, tour operators and hotels all suffered strong declines.
- UK: In 2009, the UK was still reeling from the global financial crisis. Due to budget constraints, travellers took fewer trips, knocking outbound holidays and trips to visit friends and relatives down. All in all, however, the UK travel market is seeing light at the end of the tunnel. GDP is projected to grow in 2010 officially signaling the end of the recession, and travel will pick up again.
(tnooz - talking travel tech at , December 2010)
The European online travel market is expected to grow 10% in 2010, as the overall travel market begins a modest recovery, according to PhoCusWright Inc. Following an 11% decline in 2009, the total European travel market is projected to grow 2% in 2010.
For travellers who may have been hesitant to book online, the recession provided the extra push they needed, according to Carroll Rheem, director, research at PhoCusWright. Deal seekers turned to the internet, and online travel agencies in particular, to find affordable options.
The European online travel market managed to inch upwards in 2009, increasing 1% as the overall travel market suffered. The buoyancy of the online market is due largely to the strength of the online travel agency channel, which grew in 2009, while supplier websites slipped.
Hotel bookings are fueling online travel agency growth in Europe, with brands like Priceline's Booking.com maintaining extraordinarily high growth rates according to Rheem. Online travel agency bookings are on track for strong double-digit growth in 2010.
Macroeconomic factors have driven sluggish growth in the European travel market overall, with air travel restrictions spurred by volcanic ash from Iceland creating an additional setback to recovery.
The outlook for 2010 and beyond varies for each regional market and industry segment indicates PhoCusWright. (TravelDailyNews, November 2010)
Online travel and the technology that powers travel distribution have revolutionised the European travel industry, maintaining strong growth prospects despite tough economic conditions, according to a socio-economic study by PhoCusWright commissioned by the European Technology and Travel Services Association (ETTSA). The study assesses the role and impact of independent travel distribution services and technology across Europe and can be downloaded free of charge (pdf).
The first-of-its-kind report commissioned by ETTSA shows how independent travel distribution has stimulated pricing transparency and eased consumer access to travel product and pricing information for airfares, hotel rooms, car rental and other travel products, and promoted growth and innovation.
PhoCusWright found that internet bookings strongly outperformed the broader travel industry in 2009 and that sales by OTAs in the European Union topped €22 billion in 2008. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, September 2010)
European online travel agencies need to wean themselves away from the air business. That's one of the conclusions of an Amadeus-commissioned study conducted by Hermes Management Consulting.
The study, Understanding Online Travel Agencies' Cost Drivers and Ways to Optimise Business in Europe, examined five mid-size OTAs from Scandinavia, France, Germany and the Netherlands and found that non-air products account for only 14% of their gross bookings on average. European OTAs are grappling with a problem that leisure travel agencies, wracked by airline commissions cuts, understood years ago - there's little money in the flight business. The margins are much larger in hotels, dynamic packages and advertising.
The study cites PhoCusWright research showing that non-air inventory - i.e. hotels, vacations and cruises, for instance - represent about 76% of traditional agents' business and nearly 50% of U.S. OTAs' revenue. Regarding U.S.-based online travel companies, in the second quarter of 2010, Expedia Inc.'s hotel business accounted for 63% of its revenue, advertising and media represented 13%, air 12% and everything else 12%. And, in Q2 2010, Orbitz Worldwide took in 36.6% of its revenue from air, 26.9% from hotels, 16.1% from vacation packages, 6.4% from advertising and media, and 13.9% from "other" categories.
The Amadeus-Hermes study also concluded that European OTAs need to provide more relevant content to improve conversion, and can lower costs by better-automating call centers and fulfillment. Getting a handle on marketing costs should be a priority for the European OTAs, the study concludes. (Tnooz.com, August 2010)
Yahoo! and Expedia have teamed up to provide a travel booking engine on Yahoo!'s European sites. The partnership means Yahoo! Travel users will be able to access more deals for more than 123,000 hotels, 450 airlines as well as car hire.
Yahoo! Travel is currently seeing its users increase by 115%, month on month, and Yahoo! says this helps take it towards its strategic aim of being the hub for its users' online activity. The partnership will also incorporate hotel reviews from Expedia customers. (HOTELMARKETING.com, August 2010)
The European online travel market is predicted to be worth €91 billion by 2012, according to Eyefortravel's 3rd European Online Travel Report. Consumers are putting higher expectations on their online travel experiences and expect a high degree of service and selection. (eyefortravel, April 2010)
Travel Industry Online Developments
When asked about their plans to market their hotels through social networking sites, 58% of respondents confirmed that they have created a profile of their hotel on social networking sites compared to 47% of respondents in 2011, according to the findings of Choice Hotels Europe's second ‘European Hotelier Pulse-Check' which examined hotelier's 2013 business imperatives, growth plans and strategies for social networking sites.
43% regularly post news and information on these sites, an increase on the 2011 findings where a third reported doing so.
Each week 61% of European hotelier respondents estimate they spend between one to three hours reading and responding to online travel reviews about their hotel, whereas 35% spend less than half an hour. A small minority (3%) spend up to half a day each week on this task.
Individual market analysis revealed that Italy has the highest number of hotelier respondents (76%) who regularly monitor what people are saying about their hotels on online sites, followed by the UK (70%). German hotelier respondents post news and info less regularly than others (29%) and half (50%) of French hotelier respondents spend less than half an hour each week reading and responding to online reviews. 6% of UK hotelier respondents say they dedicate a whole afternoon each week in order to respond. (TravelDailyNews, February 2013)
Online distribution is of utmost importance for the hospitality industry in Europe, but the industry is dependent on a few major players. On average more than three out of ten hotel rooms are nowadays bought online and this market share is still growing rapidly. But more and more hoteliers consider online distribution to be imbalanced or unfair.
Rate, distribution and product sovereignty must remain with the hotel. Whereas this general market principle should be a matter of course, an increasing number of hotels is losing control of their genuine product as a consequence of emerging pressure by distribution partners. Therefore, HOTREC has produced Benchmarks of Fair Practises in Online-Distribution to keep the markets transparent, open and competitive for the benefit of guests, intermediates and hotels. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, May 2012)
The International Social Tourism Organisation (ISTO) and its partners have been chosen by the European Commission to promote social tourism in Europe through the development of a Calypso Web platform matching supply with demand. This decision follows a call for proposals launched in August 2011 by the Commission within the Calypso preparatory action.
This 1,014,525€ project with 75% EC funding mainly aims at facilitating trans-national tourism exchanges by matching supply with demand, allowing Calypso's target groups - youths, families facing difficulties, seniors and people with disabilities - to go on holiday particularly during the low season. The platform will also serve as a support to ensure the continuation of on-going Calypso pilot projects, it will take into account the principles of sustainability and accessibility that are applied to tourism centres and it will implement a dynamic presentation tool of school holiday calendars in European countries. (Jlag Tourism Around Europe Newsletter Issue N.3, March 2012)
The operator warned investors today that full profits would be at the lower end of market expectations, due to "softer" trading conditions as the economy continues to bite and hit consumer spending. But despite facing heavy costs (£81.9 million) as a result of the volcanic ash cloud saga in April this year and nervousness amongst holidaymakers, Thomas Cook is ploughing on with its widely plugged OTA.
Plans to launch the OTA are well underway the division is expected to be largely in place for the start of the company's next financial year, beginning October 2010.
Thomas Cook's decision to continue with the OTA strategy makes sense given other figures quoted in its interim management statement released today. The operator says bookings of mainstream and independent products over the web have increased by 11% year-on-year. (tnooz.com, August 2010)
Low-cost carrier Ryanair is to embrace social media for the first time by taking tentative and controlled steps, on its own website. The airline is to develop an online travel community looking to engage with travelers beyond simply providing a booking service.
Reported plans will see Ryanair developing its destination section allowing users to post comments recommending local attractions. It's a brave move for the airline but is still being made with reservations. The airline has announced that it will not be setting up official comms channels via Facebook or Twitter. Hosting the new platform at Ryanair.com will, of course, allow it to retain a degree of control.
It's unwillingness to offer itself over fully to consumers is understandable. While the airline calls itself, ‘the World's Favourite Airline', its relationship with consumers and the media has always been a rocky one, with its many fans matched by as many detractors. (eTN eTurboNews Global Travel Industry News, March 2010)
The share of households with broadband internet connections in the EU27 more than doubled between 2006 and 2011, to reach 68% in 2011 compared with 30% in 2006, according to the European Commission's Eurostat statistics arm.
The proportion of households with a broadband connection rose in all Member States in 2011 compared with 2006. Sweden (86%) registered the highest share of broadband connections in 2011, followed by Denmark (84%), the Netherlands and the UK (both 83%) and Finland (81%), while Romania (31%), Bulgaria (40%) and Greece (45%) had the lowest. (Eurostat, December 2011)
Rural broadband access could be about to get a boost thanks to a new satellite that was due for launch in November 2010. The first ever broadband satellite to be launched in Europe could benefit thousands of consumers living in secluded corners of the UK.
The £120 million satellite use KA-Band technology, a very high frequency radio spectrum, to deliver broadband services of up to 10Mbps, Avanti said.
European Space Agency and the UK Space Agency were also involved in funding the satellite.
HYLAS 1's most powerful beams will be focused on the UK, Avanti claimed.
The company is in the process of producing a second satellite, HYLAS 2, which is planned for a spring 2012 launch. Once completed, the combined capacity of the two satellites will be able to support a million consumers. The services will be sold through other telecoms companies. In the UK, Avanti is not partnered with any of the major ISPs such as BT or Virgin but with a number of smaller firms. (ITPRO FIT FOR BUSINESS, November 2010)
The European Parliament has approved a new digital strategy targeting widespread roll out of superfast internet services across the continent over the next five years, and proposing a European charter of consumer rights in the digital environment.
The 2015.eu strategy calls for every EU household to have access to broadband internet at a "competitive price" by 2013, and aims to ensure that three quarters of mobile subscribers are 3G users by 2015.
On an individual level, the resolution said widespread training was needed so all Europeans could participate fully in a digital society, and their rights should be laid out in a clear legal framework that provided meaningful protection to rights-holders while also safeguarding personal data.
Other ambitious targets set by 2015.eu include 50% of households having access to super-fast internet by 2015, and 100% by 2020, while all primary and secondary schools should have reliable internet access by 2013, and high-speed connections by 2015.
In addition, the strategy stated that ICT training and e-learning should become an integral part of lifelong learning activities, enabling better and accessible education and training programmes.
With Parliament endorsing the plan, the spotlight now shifts to the European Commission, which will be responsible for making the strategy a reality. (ITPRO FIT FOR BUSINESS, May 2010)
Narrowband still plays a significant role in some Western Balkan markets. Nevertheless, along with the low penetration rate of internet services and the falling number of dial-up users, we can expect broadband services to grow rapidly. Broadband is also expected to fuel the growth of the telecommunications market as a whole in the region. In Croatia, one of more mature markets, the number of broadband connections increased by 57% in Q1 2009 in comparison with the corresponding period of 2008.
Level of broadband access in Western Balkan countries, January 2009:
- Croatia: 11.8% of population
- Serbia: 6.3%
- Kosovo: 5.4%
- Montenegro: 5.3%
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: 4.9%
- Albania: 1.4%
(PMR monthly newsletter - Central and Eastern Europe, January 2010)
Mobile / Smartphones
QR codes may not yet have hit critical mass in Europe, but the audience size is still significant. There were 5.1 million QR code users in July 2012 in Germany, 3.3 million in the UK and another 3.4 million in Spain, according to comScore.
The study found that Germany also led in QR code market penetration-18.6% of smartphone owners there were QR code users, meaning that well over a majority of smartphone owners still have not yet embraced QR codes.
Smartphone users in the EU-5 who scan QR codes, by country, July 2012:
EU-5: 17.4 million (14.1% of total smartphone owners), +96% vs. July 2011
- Spain: 3.4 million (16.0% of total smartphone owners), +218% vs. July 2011
- Germany: 5.1 million (18.6% of total smartphone owners), +128% vs. July 2011
- Italy: 2.8 million (11.9% of total smartphone owners), +75% vs. July 2011
- France: 2.8 million (12.5% of total smartphone owners), +71% vs. July 2011
- UK: 3.3 million (11.4% of total smartphone owners), +43$ vs. July 2011
(eMarketer, January 2013)
European smartphone users scanning QR codes via their devices grew by 96% in the past year to 17.4 million users for the three month average period ending July 2012, according to a comScore overview of mobile commerce and QR code usage across the five leading European markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom).
Nearly 3 in every 4 QR code scans resulted in users receiving product information, making this the most popular type of result across Europe. Germany ranked first for usage of QR codes with 18.6% of smartphone users making use of the service, several percentage points higher than its European counterparts.
Smartphone audience scanning QR codes via their devices (3 month average ending July 2012), total EU5, Age 13+:
EU5: 17,390,000 (+96% year-on-year growth), representing 14.1% of smartphone audience
- France: 2,843,000 (+71%), 12.5%
- Germany: 5,084,000 (+128%), 18.6%
- Italy: 2,765,000 (+75%), 11.9%
- Spain: 3,381,000 (+218%), 16.0%
- UK: 3,316,000 (+43%), 11.4%
(comScore, September 2012)
More than a third of European holidaymakers say that good mobile data coverage is a determining factor when choosing a destination, with 86% expecting wireless connectivity at their hotels to feed their "online addiction." The finding comes from research conducted by leader in fabric networking, Brocade, which points to a sea change in the holidaying patterns of increasingly well-connected European travellers.
Research findings show that:
- On holiday, as at home, the temptation to work from mobile devices persists, with more than half of holidaymakers admitting to doing so.
- Some 95% of the respondents admitted taking their mobile devices on holiday, and they are as likely to use them for work as for personal use. More than half (56%) of respondents said that they used their mobile device for accessing work e-mail or downloading work documents, an increase over last year's figure of 48%.
- More than a third (37%) of respondents noted that good mobile data coverage (for example, 3G/4G) was a determining factor in their choice of destination. Furthermore, 86% expected hotels to provide free Wi-Fi access. A lack of available Wi-Fi was also the second most popular concern about accessing the Internet from abroad, behind only high roaming costs.
- Smartphones emerged as the most popular device for holidaymakers, with 91% of respondents taking one with them on holiday. This was followed closely by laptops and netbooks (49%), and tablet computers (42%).
(TravelDailyNews, July 2012)
90.4 million EU5 visitors accessed Maps sites via computer in March 2012, representing 49.6% of the internet audience. In comparison, 39.8 million smartphone users accessed maps via their device, representing 35% of the EU5 smartphone audience, according to comScore.
Across EU5 markets, the smartphone Map audience increased 55% over the past year while map access via computer grew just 8%. Hesham Al-Jehani, European mobile product manager at comScore indicates that Smartphones are quickly becoming the primary platform for on-the-go services such as maps and navigation. With apps such as Google Maps coming pre-installed on many phones it's becoming second nature for many to rely on the smart device to show the way. The days of checking routes in advance and printing maps will soon be past.
France ranked first for penetration of Maps sites via computer (53.4% reach) but ranked last when it came to smartphone map access (30.4% reach). The UK was the top market in terms of Map access via smartphones at 40.2%. The German smartphone map audience showed the greatest increase among EU5 markets at 89%, followed closely by Spain at 76%. Italy had the slimmest increase in smartphone map access at 35%, but showed the fastest growth rate on computers at 22%. (comScore, May 2012)
47.6% of mobile subscribers in the EU5 have used a smartphone in the 3 months ending March 2012, while 41.4% used a pre-installed application, according to an overview by comScore of the mobile and connected device landscape across five leading European markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK).
Mobile Benchmark Data for the EU5 Market, 3 Month Average Ending March 2012 (Total EU5 - DE, FR, IT, ES and UK - Age 13+):
- EU5: 47.6%
- France: 44.7%
- Germany: 41.0%
- Italy: 45.3%
- Spain: 55.2%
- UK: 55.0%
USED APPLICATION (excl. pre-installed)
- EU5: 41.4%
- France: 37.4%
- Germany: 37.1%
- Italy: 35.3%
- Spain: 47.1%
- UK: 52.2%
- EU: 41.1%
- France: 40.0%
- Germany: 34.7%
- Italy: 35.4%
- Spain: 44.8%
- UK: 52.7%
ACCESSED SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE OR BLOG
- EU: 28.0%
- France: 24.9%
- Germany: 22.1%
- Italy: 24.3%
- Spain: 31.3%
- UK: 39.2%
(comScore, May 2012)
Members of the European Parliament and representatives of the Council and the European Commission have reached a preliminary deal on new EU Roaming rules. It is being highlighted that these rules will lead to a structural and durable solution to the high cost of using mobile phones and other smart devices whilst travelling in the EU.
The European Parliament is expected to approve this agreement in May 2012 and the Council in June 2012, paving the way for the new rules to enter into force on 1st July 2012.
The rules will create more competition in the roaming market. In the meantime they impose new safeguard limits on consumer prices, including a new price cap for data roaming, which will progressively bring prices down from current high levels until the benefits of competition have fully kicked in. Under the new rules, which will enter into force on 1st July 2012, consumers will pay no more than:
- 29 cents per minute to make a call,
- 8 cents per minute to receive a call,
- 9 cents to send a text message
- 70 cents per Megabyte to download data or browse the Internet whilst travelling abroad (charged per Kilobyte used).
These regulated price caps will progressively go down so that by 1 July 2014, roaming consumers will be paying no more than 19 cents per minute to make a call, a maximum 5 cents per minute to receive a call, maximum 6 cents to send a text message and maximum 20 cents per Megabyte to download data or browse the Internet whilst travelling abroad (charged per Kilobyte used). (EyeForTravel, April 2012)
Mobile internet usage is surging in Central and Eastern Europe, with mobile accounting for 2% of total online page views in the Ukraine, 2.1% in the Czech Republic and 4.2% in Slovakia in October 2011, according to Gemius.
Gemius found that the majority of mobile internet page views in the countries in Central and Eastern Europe that it tracks-Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Ukraine-came from Apple's iPad and iPhone devices, while Samsung's Galaxy S and Galaxy S II devices came in third and fourth, respectively.
Top five mobile devices in Central and Eastern Europe, ranked by mobile internet page views, October 2011 (% of mobile page views):
1. Apple iPad: 21.1%
2. Apple iPhone: 13.9%
3. Samsung GT-i9000 (Galaxy S): 2.6%
4. Samsung GT-i9100 (Galaxy S II): 2.2%
5. HTC Desire: 1.9%
eMarketer estimates there will be 210.9 million internet users in Central and Eastern Europe, including Russia, by the end of this year. The figure is forecast to reach 270.8 million in 2016. If current trends continue, a large portion of those users will access the web via a mobile device.
eMarketer's internet user estimate includes users of any age who access the internet from any location via any device, including mobile, at least once per month. (eMarketer, March 2012)
Demand for mobile phones once again increased in Europe in 2011, largely as a result of the rising popularity of smartphones, according to GfK findings on the mobile phone market in 2011. In 2011, 258 million handsets were bought by European consumers, a 3.2% increase on 2010. This positive development was attributable above all to one segment in the mobile phone market: smartphones, sales of which shot up by 67%. (GfK, February 2012)
14.2% of mobile phone owners in the CEE region have a smartphone, according to the findings of the CEE Telco Industry Report 2011, an international study conducted in 15 CEE countries on a sample comprising more than 15,000 respondents.
Looking at specific countries, the largest share of consumers who own -one of these high-end mobile devices can be found in Slovenia, Turkey and Lithuania, whilst Slovakia, Ukraine and Romania bring up the rear of the league chart. Accessing the internet from one's own handset is a trend that goes hand in hand with the expansion of smartphones. This progressive group of consumers is also very appealing for retailers because smartphone owners account for 31% of the CEE online-shopping population.
Use of Smartphones in CEE countries, 2011:
- Slovenia: 27.6% of mobile phone owners in the country
- Turkey: 23.7%
- Lithuania: 18.5%
- Kazakhstan: 15.7%
- Croatia: 15.5%
- Bosnia-Herzegovina: 15.5%
- Czech Republic: 14.3%
- Serbia: 13.3%
- Hungary: 12.9%
- Estonia: 12.7%
- Russia: 11.8%
- Latvia: 10.7%
- Slovakia: 9.3%
- Ukraine: 8.9%
- Romania: 8.4%
Men slightly dominate among smartphone owners; however this does not imply that these handsets are a purely male preserve in the CEE region. It is quite the other way round - males lead in smartphone penetration by only 3%. Moreover, in countries like Lithuania, Latvia and Russia, the penetration of smartphones between men and women is comparable. Conversely, the most substantial differences in male/female smartphone ownership can be seen in Slovenia and the Czech Republic, where this type of handset is more often found among males.
Owners of smartphones represent an attractive target audience for the advertising industry because the likelihood of reaching them via online marketing is considerably higher compared to owners of regular handsets. In contrast to users of mobile phones that do not fall into the smartphone category, they are much more intensive in accessing the internet from their handset and they are more avid uses of web-based services, such as online shopping and internet banking. Smartphone owners also access the internet in order to use social networks. It is certainly of interest, that as many as 75% of smartphone users in the CEE use social networks to communicate with other individuals. (GfK Group, October 2011)
Mobile adoption among European travellers continues to grow, with intentions for travel-related mobile activity in the next twelve months surging. Yet not all travelers are equally "mad for mobile" across the French, German and UK markets, according to PhoCusWright's European Consumer Travel Report Second Edition.
On average, over half of travelers with mobile phones in the three markets use them to access the internet. German travellers, however, are significantly less inclined to have smartphones (45%) than French and UK travellers (58% for both). Yet when they do access the internet on their mobile devices, Germans do not lag far in performing travel-related activities - 13% of French mobile users have made a booking compared to 11% of Germans.
All three markets saw a huge rise in intentions for travel-related mobile activity in the next 12 months, with travellers keen to research and purchase travel products via mobile, as well as to use their phones for real-time in-destination functions. Despite a growing desire to connect while on-the-go, gaps in mobile engagement persist. While 32% of French mobile users and 28% of those in the UK plan to book on their phone in the next year, just 20% of Germans anticipate doing so. (PhoCusWright FYI, October 2011)
More than half of all Europeans take at least one holiday each year, which means some 250 million people are well versed in planning what essential items to squeeze into their luggage. New research from Brocade shows that, along with sun cream and swimsuits, 95% of European holidaymakers take at least one internet-enabled device with them and are simply not prepared to "switch off" from e-mail (work or personal), online entertainment or social media sites.
Half of those surveyed plan to access the internet at least once a day while more than 40% actively seek destinations that offer always-on connectivity, from anywhere at anytime, placing a huge burden on service providers and leisure facilities to ensure adequate coverage in even the most remote of locations. For example, a quarter of these sun-seekers reported that they have accessed content from the beach, and, amazingly, four percent have found time to log on in the jungle.
Internet penetration in Europe far exceeds the global average - 67% versus 27% - and the number of users has grown almost 260% since 2000. Users today demand ubiquitous access to content, from wherever they might be, which has seen use of mobile devices soar in recent years; IDC, for example, states that smartphone sales more than doubled year-over-year in the first three months of 2011, seeing almost 100 million devices sold. Add to this the fact that video and TV streaming will soon surpass Web and internet traffic, and it is easy to see how modern consumer habits are changing, even in terms of planning vacations around internet connectivity.
According to the research, typical holidaymakers take at least one mobile device with them, such as a laptop, tablet or smartphone. The majority of respondents rely on these devices to stay in touch with friends and family at home, with 40% freely admitting that they cannot be separated from their social media tools.
Surprisingly, nearly a third of respondents use their devices on holiday for work reasons - such as checking e-mails, downloading documents or just being available to customers and co-workers - despite almost 60% admitting that it occasionally causes friction with their fellow relaxation seekers.
Other key findings included:
- 64% of respondents were aged between 25 and 44, indicating that the professional age group is driving the need for always-on connectivity
- Of the respondents, 84% relied on smartphones while on holiday, favouring ultra-portable devices over bulkier devices, such as laptops
- Half of those surveyed continued to use their devices (personal or work) abroad just as if they were at home, with more than three quarters regularly downloading personal e-mail and 48% accessing work e-mail/documents
- Only seven percent never accessed the internet while on holiday.
(TravelDailyNews, July 2011)
34.5% of mobile subscribers in the EU5 used a smartphone in the 3 month average ending March 2011, according to comScore. The findings also show that 31.0% went online via their mobile device and 30.3% used an App (excluding pre-installed App).
Mobile benchmark data for the European Market, 3 month average ending March 2011 - Total EU5 (UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy), Age 13+:
EU5: 34.5% of mobile subscribers used smartphone / 31.0% used browser / 30.3% used App
- France: 30.4% / 31.3% / 28.1%
- Germany: 27.6% / 24.6% / 26.5%
- Italy: 37.9% / 27.8% / 28.4%
- Spain: 39.8% / 28.7% / 29.6%
- UK: 39.2% / 42.7% / 39.3%
(comScore, May 2011)
The number of mobile web users in the EU-5 (UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain) is expected to double between 2010 and 2015, according to eMarketer.
More than 58 million residents of the EU-5 will use the mobile internet at least monthly in 2011, according to eMarketer estimates. That will represent less than a quarter of the population.
Mobile internet users and penetration in the EU-5, 2009-2015:
- 2009: 34.7 million (14.7% of mobile phone users)
- 2010: 47.6 million (19.7%)
- 2011: 58.3 million (23.5%)
- 2012: 67.9 million (26.8%)
- 2013: 77.2 million (29.9%)
- 2014: 85.7 million (32.5%)
- 2015: 94.0 million (35.1%)
The willingness of consumers in Europe to interact with brands on their mobile phones (and their growing appetite for perks such as coupons and special offer alerts) have jump-started a new phase in mobile marketing, according to eMarketer. (eMarketer, April 2011)
It is estimated that 87% of mobile phones now being manufactured are smart phones, and by next year 85% of all handsets will access the mobile internet. To keep ahead of the game, European Cities Marketing is launching an Android application - a mobile tool enabling tourists to experience 35 European Cities spread over 20 European countries.
Wendy Sieger-Kintzen, Chairperson of the European City Card Group and Manager at Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board said that this is the great end-product of 35 cities sharing knowledge and working together constructively. In future, other cities will hopefully follow and acknowledge the added value for visitors through this unique cooperation. With the forecasted growth of Android in the forthcoming years, they hope to reach and serve many more visitors. (European Cities Marketing, December 2010)
Mobile phone manufacturers are poised to take over from Google as the most powerful technological players in the European travel and tourism industry, according to the WTM Global Trends Report.
The report, in association with Euromonitor international, predicts increasing smartphone penetration across Europe will drive a shift in power from search giants such as Google to smartphone developers and manufacturers.
Devices such as the iPhone and the development of location-based applications are already revolutionising the travel industry, with smartphone penetration expected to reach 92% in Europe by 2014, according to Ovum, and mobile web browsing set to overtake PC internet access in the same year.
The increasing importance of mobile is likely to displace giants such as Google as consumers increasingly view social media such as Facebook as a portal to access all their information as well as seek to access travel via purpose built applications.
Smartphone Travel Usage Research from 2010 reveals 34% used their mobile device to find travel information, 29% to check reservations and 25% to book accommodation according to compete.com.
In addition, the European Commission has promised action on high international roaming costs, seen as the biggest obstacle to the trend, if mobile networks do not take steps to bring down costs themselves.
Euromonitor International Head of Global Travel and Tourism Research Caroline Bremner said that by 2015, 50% of European travellers are forecast to use a smartphone to find travel information and/or make reservations. Mobile developers and manufacturers are well placed to get a slice of the pie. (eTN eTurboNews - Global Travel Industry News, November 2010)
Mobile marketing in the EU5 countries UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy reached 100 million mobile phone subscribers via SMS ads, according to comScore.
Conversely, more than 57 million subscribers recalled seeing an ad on their mobile phone when browsing the internet or accessing an application. Smartphone owners accounted for more than half of the subscribers who received and recalled seeing Web/App ads.
Across the EU5 countries, SMS ads reached 43.6% of the 230.5 million mobile users in September 2010, while Web/App ads were seen and recalled by nearly a quarter of the total mobile audience. The most common type of SMS advert recalled was product, service or brand information, which more than 60 million mobile phone owners received, equalling a 26.3% reach across the EU5 countries.
EU5 mobile advertising (3 month average ending September 2010) - Total EU5 UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, Age 13+:
Total Audience (13+ yrs old): 230,500,000
- Recall seeing Web/App Ads: 57,264,000 (24.8% reach)
- Received SMS Ads: 100,456,000 (43.6%)
- Received info about product/service/brand SMS Ads: 60,665,000 (26.3%)
- Received contest SMS Ads: 33,369,000 (14.5%)
- Received coupon or discount SMS Ads: 20,520,000 (8.9%)
- Received donation to charity/non-profit SMS Ads: 9,672,000 (4.2%)
In September 2010, 24.8% of all mobile users in the EU5 countries (UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy) recalled seeing ads within an app or when browsing online via their mobile device. Smartphone users were twice as likely to be exposed to mobile advertising as the average mobile subscriber, with 50% of all 64.3 million smartphone users recalled seeing a web or app ad. The UK topped the ranking with nearly two out of three smartphone users having recalled seeing an ad while browsing or using an app, followed by French smartphone owners, of which more than half saw a web or app ad.
Recall Seeing Web/App Ads by Country (3 month average ending September 2010) - Total EU5 (UK, DE, FR, ES and IT), Age 13+:
EU5: 24.8 % share of mobile subscribers who recall seeing Web/App Ads / 50.0 % share of smartphone owners who recall seeing Web/App Ads
- UK: 32.0% / 62.7%
- Italy: 24.9% / 41.9%
- France: 23.6% / 54.5%
- Germany: 20.3% / 48.0%
- Spain: 23.5% / 43.3%
In September 2010, 82.1% of EU5 mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device, while applications (excluding pre-installed games) were used by 26.2% and browsers by 27.7% of subscribers. More than a quarter (25.2%) of European mobile phone owners listened to music on their mobile phone, while 16.7% accessed social networking sites or blogs. 38.2% of the EU5 mobile audience accessed news and information and 24.9% played games. 30.2% of mobile subscribers across the five European countries own a smartphone. (comScore, November 2010)
An increase in mobile ad spending in the EU-5 is forecasted from $122.6 million in 2010 to $1.29 billion in 2015, according to Mobile ad network aggregator Smaato and research firm mobileSQUARED. In the same period, mobile display spending alone is expected to rise from $52.8 million to $339.1 million. (eMarketer, December 2010)
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on how to improve competition in mobile phone roaming services in the 27-nation European Union bloc. European citizens should pay the same mobile phone charges no matter what European Union country they may find themselves in, stressed the Commission.
The EU Commissioner for Europe's digital agenda, Neelie Kroes, said the price gap between domestic mobile charges and roaming rates remains unjustifiably high. Consequently, she said her ultimate aim is to reduce the gap to nothing by 2015.
To date, the Commission has legislated to bring down the cost of making calls and sending texts while visiting other member states. In future, it plans to do more to reduce the extortionate cost of using smartphones to surf the web or download data when abroad in Europe.
The new model, if adopted, would allow customers attached to a single network in their home country to pick from a range of operators as they travelled to other European countries. It would be a move away from price caps, which was a high-profile piece of regulation that resonated with consumers far more than most other EU legislation. The caps reduced roaming prices to a maximum of 39 cents a minute to make calls and 15 cents a minute to receive calls, with text messages costing 11 cents each. Data download prices are also controlled, albeit less stringently. (eyefortravel, December 2010)
45% of consumers in the UK, France and Germany noticed mobile advertising, and of these, 29% responded to it, according to figures released by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA). Over a third (39%) then went on to make a purchase.
Mobile advertising that included time sensitive special offers or discounts was cited as the most important factor leading to a purchase (35% in the UK, 31% in Germany and 27% in France). While coupons accessible from phones also proved to be highly popular (34% in the UK, 29% in Germany and 24% in France.
The MMA polled 1,000 consumers from each country mentioned. (telecoms.com, October 2010)
Smartphone adoption in the EU5 (UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy) has grown 41% in the past year to 60.8 million subscribers, according to comScore. Currently, more than one out of every two smartphones is a Nokia manufactured device, although Nokia accounted for more than two out of every three smartphones a year ago.
Nokia is still the clear leader in the European smartphone market and as the eagerly anticipated N8 launches, all eyes are on Nokia, according to comScore European VP Mobile, Jeremy Copp.
Below is comScore's July 2010 benchmark data, including a review of mobile consumption behaviours and device penetration for five EU countries.
Mobile benchmark data for the European market, 3 Month Average Ending July 2010 (Total EU5: UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy), Age 13+:
- Sent text message to another phone: 82.5% (EU5) / 90.6% (UK) / 80.7% (France) / 80.7% (Germany) / 78.6% (Italy) / 81.4% (Spain)
- Used application (including games): 35.7% / 41.8% / 25.9% / 35.3% / 38.6% / 37.1%
- Used browser: 26.2% / 37.4% / 25.1% / 21.1% / 23.7% / 23.6%
- Listened to music on mobile phone: 24.6% / 23.6% / 21.1% / 26.8% / 22.2% / 30.5%
- Accessed Social Networking Site or Blog: 15.3% / 24.6% / 14.0% / 9.3% / 15.0% / 13.6%
- Accessed news and information: 29.9% / 37.1% / 27.9% / 24.1% / 32.6% / 27.8%
- Smartphone (Platform): 26.4% / 28.5% / 19.3% / 20.3% / 34.1% / 31.9%
- 3G Subscribers (Device Generation): 45.3% / 44.6% / 40.8% / 41.8% / 46.6% / 56.0%
(comScore, September 2010)
Despite the hype around mobile apps, only a minority of consumers download them on a monthly basis. Research released this week based on a survey of more than 25,000 European adults shows that only 4% of all mobile users and 15% of smartphone users download apps at least once per month.
According to Forrester, the researcher which carried out the survey, the fact that 21% of all European mobile users consider apps to be an important feature when choosing a new mobile handset highlights a large gap between the limited actual usage of apps and consumer awareness.
This limited usage is primarily due to the combination of two factors: identified as the small number of exhaustive offerings available, and the fact that only recently shipped smartphones come with native application stores embedded.
The exception to this rule, unsurprisingly, is Apple, with 64% of European iPhone users downloading apps on a monthly basis. But while the numbers look impressive - more than five billion downloads and $1bn paid to developers in the two years since the launch of the Apple App Store - Forrester expects that the limited number of paid apps means it is likely that a significant number of independent developers have not recouped their investments.
The recent launch of Apple's iAd platform is a way for Apple to maintain attractiveness, allowing third parties that provide free apps to develop sustainable business models. But he also notes that in the longer run - with around 80 would-be application stores available worldwide as of June 2010 - few players will be able to address the key factors that will make them a success.
In this respect, Husson argued that the market opportunity for app stores is somewhat
Successful market players will be those capable of creating a viable business model for third parties and developers; providing third parties with marketing and merchandizing tools; and those offering a wide choice of payment and pricing options along the lines of in-application billing, operator billing, and subscription models. (Telecoms.com, July 2010)
Smartphone adoption in the EU5 (UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy) has grown 32% versus a year ago to 51.6 million subscribers, according to a study by comScore of the smartphone market in Europe.
The UK market strongly leads in growth of smartphone adoption over the past year, growing 70% to more than 11 million subscribers. France ranks second in growth with the number of smartphone subscribers up 48% to 7 million. Meanwhile, Italy boasts the largest number of smartphone subscribers overall (15 million) but showed the softest growth in this market at 11%.
Smartphone subscribers - 3 month average ending January 2010 (total EU5), Age 13+:
EU5: 51,623,000 (+32% compared to January 2009)
- UK: 11,109,000 (+70%)
- France: 7,140,000 (+48%)
- Germany: 8,429,000 (+34%)
- Spain: 9,907,000 (+27%)
- Italy: 15,037,000 (+11%)
comScore's January 2010 benchmark data includes a review of mobile consumption behaviours and device penetration for five EU countries.
Mobile benchmark data for the European market - 3 month average ending January 2010 (Total EU5):
- Sent a SMS/text: 83.5% of mobile subscribers in EU5 / 90.3% (UK) / 81.6% (Germany) / 81.7% (France) / 84.5% (Spain) / 79.5% (Italy)
- Used application (including games): 33.4% / 37.6% / 33.3% / 23.6% / 36.1% / 37.0%
- Listened to music: 22.7% / 21.4% / 24.6% / 19.9% / 28.7% / 20.4%
- Mobile browsing: 22.2% / 30.8% / 17.4% / 21.7% / 19.9% / 20.7%
- Accessed social networking site or blog: 11.3% / 18.2% / 6.5% / 10.2% / 9.5% / 11.7%
- Accessed news: 9.6% / 13.7% / 7.5% / 9.0% / 6.7% / 10.4%
- 3G Device: 42.4% / 41.7% / 38.3% / 36.7% / 53.3% / 45.2%
- Smartphone: 22.6% / 22.9% / 16.5% / 15.2% / 28.3% / 32.0%
(comScore, March 2010)
iPad and other tablets
Germany will boast nearly 13.4 million tablet users in 2013, eMarketer forecasts, to match the UK, which registered the largest user base in the EU-5 until this year. (Ownership figures are likely lower because tablets are often shared among several consumers.)
Together, the UK and Germany will account for nearly half of all tablet users in the EU-5 through 2016.
Tablet users in the EU-5, by country, 2010-2016:
- 2010: 7.3 million
- 2011: 17.1 million
- 2012: 39.1 million
- 2013: 56.7 million
- 2014: 72.7 million
- 2015: 87.0 million
- 2016: 97.8 million
(eMarketer, March 2013)
The tablet market got a slightly later start in Europe compared to the US, but as new models and discounted older models have become available, tablet uptake has risen substantially, with much of that growth happening in Germany and the UK. Germany, Europe's largest economy, and the UK, the country in Western Europe with the highest smartphone penetration, lead the EU-5 in tablet adoption, with nearly 10 million tablet users each expected at the end of 2012, according to eMarketer estimates.
Together, the UK and Germany will account for nearly half of all tablet users in the EU-5 through 2016.
Tablet user share in the EU-5, by country, 2010 and 2016:
- UK: 24.0% in 2010 / 23.7% by 2016
- Germany: 21.7% in 2010 / 24.4% by 2016
- France: 15.9% in 2010 / 19.3% by 2016
- Italy: 19.6% in 2010 / 16.9% by 2016
- Spain: 18.8% in 2010 / 15.8% by 2016
For both 2011 and 2012, the number of tablet users in the EU-5 grew at an average rate of approximately 130% annually. Both Germany and the UK exceeded those growth rates in each year, with Germany posting the highest growth at 144% in 2011 and 149% in 2012.
Although growth with taper in 2013, and France, Italy and Spain will each pass Germany and the UK's pace of uptake, the two countries will still maintain their position as tops in terms of their tablet user base, though their positions will flip, with Germany just barely surpassing the UK in 2015. By 2016, the UK will be home to 23.2 million tablet users and Germany will be home to 23.8 million.
The UK will have a higher penetration rate of tablet users among its total population than any other country in the EU-5 throughout the forecast period. By 2015, one in three people in the UK will use a tablet.
Germany will maintain third position, just below Spain, in terms of penetration among its population. However, Spain has the smallest population in the EU-5, which helps boost its position. One in three people in Germany will use a tablet in 2016.
Tablet user penetration in the EU-5, by country 2010 and 2016 (% of population):
EU-5: 2.3% in 2010 / 30.3% by 2016
- UK: 2.8% in 2010 / 36.0% by 2016
- Spain: 3.0% in 2010 / 31.7% by 2016
- Germany: 2.0% in 2010 / 29.5% by 2016
- France: 1.8% in 2010 / 28.3% by 2016
- Italy: 2.4% in 2010 / 26.7% by 2016
Compared to Italy and Spain, where tablets are more likely to be used outside the home, eMarketer believes tablet usage is more akin to PC usage in the UK and Germany, where the devices are often used at home. Similarly, while online video viewing via tablets is not as common in Europe compared to the US, due to less available content, users in Germany and the UK are still more likely to watch online videos on their devices than those in Spain, Italy and France. (eMarketer, November 2012)
The two countries in the EU-5 hit hardest by the financial turmoil in the region are understandably posting the slowest uptake of tablet devices, a high-priced item. Although tablet growth in each country was above 100% in 2011, according to eMarketer estimates, and users will double again in 2012, that's meager compared to their neighbours in Western Europe.
In 2011, France grew its tablet user base by 173%. In 2012, Germany's base will grow 149%, after growing 144% last year. Although the UK will not post the highest growth in either year, it will still outpace Italy and Spain, despite already having the highest raw number of users and the highest tablet penetration.
Tablet user growth in the EU-5, 2011-2016 (% change):
- 2011: 132.6%
- 2012: 128.9%
- 2013: 45.1%
- 2014: 28.1%
- 2015: 19.6%
- 2016: 12.5%
Tablet user growth in the EU-5, by country, 2011 and 2012 (% change):
- Germany: 144.7% in 2011 / 149.1% in 2012
- UK: 132.1% in 2011 / 140.0% in 2012
- France: 178.4% in 2011 / 129.4% in 2012
- Italy: 109.4% in 2011 / 108.5% in 2012
- Spain: 108.8% in 2011 / 106.4% in 2012
Still, the emergence of lower-priced tablets on the market will boost tablet uptake somewhat in the depressed southern European countries. In 2013, Italy and Spain will see tablet users grow by 56% each, the fastest growth among the EU-5. Italy will rise from 6.3 million users in 2012 to 9.8 million in 2013, and Spain will similarly jump from 6 million users this year to 9.3 million next year.
That will be enough to grow their share of the market just 2 percentage points in 2013, to account for 33.7% of total users in the EU-5, but still down from Italy and Spain's 2010 share of 38.4%.
Tablet user share in the EU-5, by country, 2010 and 2016 (% of total):
- UK: 24.0% in 2010 to 23.7% by 2016
- Germany: 21.7% in 2010 to 24.4% by 2016
- France: 15.9% in 2010 to 19.3% by 2016
- Italy: 19.6% in 2010 to 19.3% by 2016
- Spain: 18.8% in 2010 to 15.8% by 2016
Surprisingly, there is one tablet user metric by which the countries are actually among the front-runners in the EU-5. Italy and Spain will post the second- and third-highest tablet user penetration, respectively, in terms of internet users this year. In 2013, they will be No. 1 and No. 2, a mantle they will maintain throughout the forecast period. This is not a straightforward metric, however. Tablets tend to be shared among users in households. While a specific user may "own" the device, it is likely that two to three other people in the household use it.
eMarketer believes that sharing is less common in countries with higher income levels such as Germany and the UK. So while user penetration levels suggest Italy and Spain lead in tablet usage among internet users, ownership numbers are likely higher in the UK and Germany. In addition, particularly low internet penetration in Italy and mid-level penetration in Spain help drive up tablet penetration among internet users. In terms of the population as a whole, tablet penetration in Spain will rank second this year, while Italy will rank last. (eMarketer, November 2012)
Apple's iOS platform (which resides on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches) has a combined platform reach of 28.9 million users in the five European markets making up the EU5, according to the results of an EU5 (UK, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy) study of media tablet owners by comScore.
With 16.1 million users across these five markets, the installed base of iPhones by far exceeded that of iPod Touches and iPads. The combined 28.9 million iOS users is 116% greater than the 13.4 million combined Android OS installed base, which includes users of both phones and connected media devices running on Google's operating system, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
The research also suggests that iPad ownership extends well beyond Apple's most loyal consumers. Although a perception may exist that iPad owners tend to be those with a very strong affinity for Apple products, an analysis of the mobile devices of iPad owners indicates that may not be the case. Though iPhone users are well represented among iPad owners in Europe, a substantial percentage of this group uses other phones as their primary mobile devices.
Across the five European markets analyzed more than 62% of iPad owners were male, skewing well above the average gender spilt for mobile owners. The age profile of European iPad users indicated the heaviest skew toward 25-34 year olds (23.4%) in relation to the total mobile audience (17.3%). iPads also exhibited an above average skew in the 18-24 year old age segment. However, this demographic profile was similar to that of the smartphone user base, indicating that the advanced mobile capabilities rather than the device itself might be primary driver behind this age profile.
Age demographic profile for mobile, smartphone and iPad owners, 3 months average ending February 2011 (TOTAL EU5 Mobile subscribers, Age 13+):
- Male: 49.5% for total mobile / 58.8% for smartphone / 62.4% for iPad
- Female: 50.5% / 41.2% / 37.6%
- 13-17: 6.8% for total mobile / 6.7% for smartphone / 8.2% for iPad
- 18-24: 10.7% / 14.8% / 16.2%
- 25-34: 17.3% / 23.4% / 23.4%
- 35-44: 18.9% / 21.8% / 21.6%
- 45-54: 17.8% / 15.2% / 13.2%
- 55+: 28.5% / 18.1% / 17.4%
(comScore, April 2011)
Social Networking and UGC
In Western Europe, the majority of people who will use social networks regularly have already done so by now. The social network audience will total 174.2 million in 2013, according to eMarketer's estimates, or about 62% of internet users.
Social network users growth in Western Europe, 2011-2017 (% change):
- 2011: 17.6%
- 2012: 12.1%
- 2013: 9.1%
- 2014: 6.6%
- 2015: 4.7%
- 2016: 4.0%
- 2017: 3.1%
Social network user penetration in Western Europe, 2011-2017 (% of population):
- 2011: 34.5%
- 2012: 38.5%
- 2013: 41.9%
- 2014: 44.5%
- 2015: 46.4%
- 2016: 48.1%
- 2017: 49.4%
In the UK, in particular, social networking is well established and wildly popular. More than half of UK residents will use social networks regularly this year, according to eMarketer. While this is behind social network penetration rates seen in the Nordic countries, as well as the Netherlands, it is the highest penetration rate among the EU-5.
Social network users penetration in Western Europe, by country, 2013 (% of population):
- Netherlands: 69.6%
- Norway: 69.2%
- Sweden: 64.5%
- Finland: 56.3%
- Denmark: 56.0%
- UK: 50.2%
- Spain: 41.2%
- Germany: 39.9%
- France: 35.9%
- Italy: 32.6%
- Other: 35.8%
In total, eMarketer predicts, 32.1 million UK residents will use social networks regularly this year, rising to 36.7 million in 2017. Because social networking is already well established in the UK, growth will be slow throughout the forecast period. This year, growth will drop down from the double digits to a 6.3% increase. By 2017, growth will come in at a meager 2%, and the UK will post the lowest growth levels in Western Europe throughout the forecast period. Facebook reigns unchallenged as the leading social network in the UK, accounting for more than nine out of 10 social network users in the country, ahead of the regional Facebook penetration rate among social networkers.
Facebook users in Western Europe, 2011-2017:
- 2011: 119.5 million
- 2012: 140.5 million
- 2013: 153.0 million
- 2014: 162.8 million
- 2015: 170.4 million
- 2016: 177.0 million
- 2017: 182.7 million
Facebook users in Western Europe, by country in 2013:
- UK: 29.9 million
- Germany: 22.1 million
- France: 22.0 million
- Spain: 18.3 million
- Italy: 18.0 million
- Netherlands: 10.8 million
- Sweden: 5.4 million
- Norway: 3.0 million
- Denmark: 2.8 million
- Finland: 2.7 million
- Other: 18.0 million
Western Europe: 153.0 million
Since Germany's social networkers are diffused across a broader range of networks, the UK will remain No. 1 in terms of Facebook users, at nearly 30 million residents this year, ahead of Germany by 7.8 million users.
Growth in UK Facebook users will exactly mirror growth in social network users in the country, further proving that in the UK, social networking is near synonymous with Facebook usage. (eMarketer, May 2013)
Four UK cities, Glasgow, Manchester, Belfast and Liverpool have seen an increase in positive feedback and interest from travellers posting comments on TripAdvisor. Of all European cities, Kiev enjoyed the most improved ratings, according to the travel review site, which placed Glasgow in sixth position followed by Manchester, Belfast and Glasgow.
Eastern Europe had three cities in the European top 10: Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, took the top spot and also came third in the global top 10. Moscow, which has experienced significant tourism developments recently with a number of major airlines announcing new routes to the city, came second in the European list and also ranked ninth in the global list. Turin, Italy's fourth largest city, came third in the European list, and tenth in the global ranking.
On the 2012 Travellers' Choice Destinations on the Rise global list, Mar Del Plata, just south of the capital of Argentina and a possible contender for motor racing's Formula 1 came first, Sao Paulo in Brazil was second and Montevideo in Uruguay came fourth, followed by Perth, Australia. (Travelmole, November 2012)
Social network users in Russia comprise more than one-third of Eastern Europe's total and so, unsurprisingly, the country's large share has a considerable effect on the region's total user base. So in light if the downgrade for its Russian estimates, eMarketer estimates that 129.9 million people in Eastern Europe used social networks in 2011, down 10 million from eMarketer's earlier projection. The estimate for the number of social network users in Eastern Europe in 2012 has been decreased to 145.6 million from 157.4 million.
Social network users and penetration in Eastern Europe, 2010-2014:
- 2010: 113.1 million users / 65.2% of internet users / 26.6% of population
- 2011: 129.9 million / 67.6% / 30.6%
- 2012: 145.6 million / 69.0% / 34.3%
- 2013: 163.9 million / 71.5% / 38.6%
- 2014: 179.4 million / 73.1% / 42.2%
eMarketer has also reduced the number of Facebook users in Eastern Europe for 2012 from 77.3 million to 74.7 million based on this smaller-than-expected number of social network users. Despite this decrease, more than one-third of internet users in Eastern Europe will use Facebook this year. Additionally, those in Russia who use social networks are moving to Facebook from local social networks such as VKontakte, Odnoklassniki.ru and Mail.ru (My World) faster than expected. eMarketer has increased the estimated percentage of social network users in Russia who access Facebook from 22.7% to 25.3% for 2012. (eMarketer, October 2012)
Some social networking habits are broadly consistent across Western Europe. Social networking is far more popular among younger people than among older ones, according to eMarketer.
In the UK, 69% of web users ages 16 to 24 visited social sites in Q1 2011, compared to 54% of those ages 35 to 54, according to the Office of Communications (Ofcom). In Germany, the "TNS Convergence Monitor" reported that 72% of web users in the country ages 14 to 29 used social sites in May 2011, compared to 38% of those ages 30 to 49.
Nonetheless, there are notable variations in social network usage across the EU-5 that are significant for advertisers and marketers. In Spain, for example, social networks already reach a higher proportion of internet users than they do in the UK. Italy too will overtake the UK by this measure in 2012. The UK currently has the third-highest rate of social network usage in the EU-5, but penetration will rise more quickly in France and Germany. From 2013 on, levels of social networking in the UK actually look set to fall below the regional average.
Level of social network use in Western Europe, 2011-2014:
- 2011: 50.0%
- 2012: 54.4%
- 2013: 58.1%
- 2014: 60.8%
Level of social network use in Western Europe by country, 2011-2014:
- Spain: 53.6% of internet users in 2011 to rise to 65.9% by 2014
- Italy: 52.5% of internet users in 2011 to rise to 62.7% by 2014
- UK: 52.6% of internet users in 2011 to rise to 59.9% by 2014
- France: 50.0%of internet users in 2011 to rise to 59.0% by 2014
- Germany: 46.1% of internet users in 2011 to rise to 58.8% by 2014
(eMarketer, May 2012)
78% of respondents to a survey of internet users residing in 12 Former Soviet Union (FSU) Republics (including Russia) used social media post-trip to share their experiences and photos with their friends and/or other travellers, according to a research article by John Fotis, Dimitrios Buhalis and Nicos Rossides "Social Media Impact on Holiday Travel Planning: The Case of the Russian and the FSU Markets".
Percentage of respondents that used social media during their travel planning process and reasons for use:
Pre-trip - use of social media:
- 45% to search for ideas on where to go for holidays
- 42% to seek ideas and information on excursions and other leisure activities
- 34% to seek ideas and information on accommodation options
- 31% to confirm that they made a good destination choice
- 24% to try to narrow down their choice of destinations
During trip - use of social media:
- 49% to stay connected with friends
- 30% to find out information about specific attractions and leisure activities
- 17% to provide comments and reviews about their holiday experience
- 15% to visit social media sites but not directly related to their holiday
Post-trip - use of social media:
- 78% to share their experiences and photos with their friends and/or other travellers
- 29% to have ideas as an inspiration for their next holidays
- 27% to provide evaluation and reviews about their accommodation and/or their holiday destination
While the research finds that it is after the holiday trip that respondents primarily used social media, it also suggests that in terms of social media influence on holiday plans there is a strong correlation between perceived level of influence from social media and changes made in holiday plans prior to final decision, with more that 6 out of 10 respondents stating that they indeed made some sort of changes to their original plans because of exposure to UGC.
Findings also suggest that friends and relatives are the most trustworthy source of holiday related information sources, followed by information from other travellers in various websites. Overall, the research finds that UGC is perceived as more trustworthy when compared to official tourism websites, travel agents and mass media advertising.
Most trusted holiday-related information sources:
1. Friends and relatives
2. Information provided by other travellers in various websites
3. Social media
4. Official tourism websites (state/government owned)
5. Shows or documentaries in TV, in radio, or articles in newspapers and magazines
6. Travel agents
7. Advertisements in TV, radio, newspapers and magazines
The survey was conducted in October 2010 among 346 internet users residing in 12 FSU Republics including Russia who have taken at least one holiday trip within the last 12 months. (Fotis, J., Buhalis, D. and Rossides, N. (2011). Social media impact on holiday travel planning: The case of the Russian and the FSU markets. International Journal of Online Marketing, 1(4), 1-19, 2011)
While over half of European travellers are now using social networks, their "likes" differ considerably, according to PhoCusWright. 56% of French, 58% of German and 69% of UK travellers participate in social networks, but the where and why of use varies among markets, according to PhoCusWright's European Consumer Travel Report Second Edition.
A substantial portion of German travellers prefer to keep their social networking work related, as evidenced by the popularity of Xing, a German social network for professionals similar to LinkedIn. And although travellers in the UK and France may be more focused on socializing, their usage habits differ considerably.
While UK and German travellers are likely to share updates on their travel experiences, French travellers are keener to consume content, such as destination advice. Notably, French interest in content applies to both user-generated and company information, making France the best market of the three for experimenting with social network promotions. (PhoCusWright FYI, October 2011)
There are an estimated 37 million social network users in Great Britain, according to InSites Consulting. This represents about 73% of British internet users. Facebook is the most popular site with 64%, while 24% use Twitter, and LinkedIn comes third with 21%.
Great Britain's social network usage is slightly below the European average (74%). Within Europe it is mainly Eastern and Southern Europe who obtain a higher adoption, according to InSites Consulting survey amongst more than 9,000 consumers in 35 countries.
Professor Steven Van Belleghem, Managing Partner at InSites Consulting indicates that these numbers show that social network sites have penetrated all layers of society. 16% of Facebook users are 55 years old or older. An analysis of the users shows everyone is there: young, older, employed or unemployed.
The InSites Consulting survey shows that Twitter is the exception among social networks. 87% of all Brits know Twitter, but only 24% uses it. The intention of shortly starting to use Twitter is large: 18% of non-users are planning to start using it soon. (InSites Consulting, September 2011)
Europe is currently the world's second largest digital market behind Asia Pacific and Europeans continue to embrace new online and mobile offerings, according to the comScore 2010 Europe Digital Year in Review.
Key findings highlighted in the report include:
- The Netherlands and UK led in engagement, with users in both markets spending approximately 25% more time online in a month than the European average of 24.3 hours. Europeans spent the most time on search, social networking, and directory sites, with Facebook garnering the largest share of Europeans' time (11.7%) out of all media properties.
- Europe experienced a 10.9% gain in social networking penetration over 2010 - the highest seen in any global region. Facebook was the leading social networking sites in 15 out of the 18 markets. Local social networks in the Netherlands, Poland, and Russia continued to retain their majority share of the market.
- The use of online coupon sites in Europe grew by 162% in 2010, showing coupon sites emerging as a key driver of online consumer behaviour. France, the UK and Italy led local markets in the use of online coupons and deals, with Italy showing the highest gain at a 15% point increase in coupon site usage.
- Although the number of unique online video viewers in Europe held steady overall, there was significant growth in video viewership to TV sites. By the end of 2010, 16.3 million viewers were watching videos on TV sites in Germany - an increase of 14% from last year.
- Smartphone penetration in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy grew in 2010 to reach 31.1% of mobile users. This was fueled by high rates of adoption of the Google and Apple smartphone operating systems, with Google Android experiencing a 951% gain and Apple experiencing a 115% gain.
- Search intensity in Europe varied across individual markets, with searchers in Poland exhibiting the highest average searches per searcher across all markets. Google continues to lead the search market in Europe, reaching 9 out of 10 Europeans. (comScore, February 2011)
As it is around the world, social networking is on the rise in Western Europe, where more than 100 million internet users will visit social networks at least monthly this year, according to eMarketer.
eMarketer estimates that more than half of Western Europe's online population will use social networks at least once a month in 2011, an increase of 16.2% from 2010. By 2015, 64.4% of internet users in the region, or 141.9 million people, will be regular social network users, more than double the number of users in 2009.
Social network users and penetration in the EU-5, 2009-2015:
- 2009: 68.2 million social network users (36.9% of internet users / 21.6% of population)
- 2010: 86.2 million (44.8%/27.3%)
- 2011: 100.1 million (50.1%/31.6%)
- 2012: 112.1 million (54.5%/35.2%)
- 2013: 123.1 million (58.2%/38.6%)
- 2014: 133.1 million (61.5%/41.6%)
- 2015: 141.9 million (64.4%/44.2%)
Social network usage in France, Germany, Italy and Spain is rapidly growing. In many respects, these Western European countries have shown similar growth patterns in recent years. All four markets had lower penetration rates than the UK until 2010. However, eMarketer forecasts that social media usage in Spain, France and Germany will surpass UK penetration by 2015.
The increase in social networking usage in France, Germany, Italy and Spain stems from two factors: greater broadband access and increased usage among people ages 50 and older, according to eMarketer.
Social network user penetration in the EU-5, by country, 2009 and 2015:
EU-5: 64.4% of internet users in 2015, up from 36.9% in 2009
- UK: 61.9%, up from 44.2%
- France: 67.5%, up from 37.9%
- Spain: 68.4%, up from 37.0%
- Italy: 60.8%, up from 30.5%
- Germany: 64.1%, up from 33.4%
Social networking in Western Europe may be approaching the saturation point by 2015 as about two-thirds of each market's online population will be social network users, according to eMarketer. (eMarketer, March 2011)
In the EU27, there was a very significant difference in the use of internet for posting messages to chat sites, blogs and social networks by age. Four fifths of internet users aged 16-24 in the EU27 used the internet for this purpose during 2010, compared with two fifths (42%) of those aged 25-54 and less than a fifth (18%) of those aged 55-74. Use of this form of communication was particularly high for all age groups in Poland, Portugal and Lithuania.
Use of internet for communication, 2010 (% of internet users) - posting messages to chat sites, blogs, social networking:
EU27: 80% among those aged 16-24 / 42% among those aged 25-54 / 18% among those aged 55-74
- Belgium: 70% / 35% / 19%
- Bulgaria: 73% / 52% / 32%
- Czech Rep.: 76% / 33% / 13%
- Denmark: 86% / 53% / 23%
- Germany: 88% / 38% / 13%
- Estonia: 83% / 42% / no reliable data available
- Ireland: 64% / 33% / 8%
- Greece: 72% / 40% / 18%
- Spain: 79% / 45% / 21%
- France: 82% / 37% / 17%
- Italy: 73% / 38% / 15%
- Cyprus: 76% / 37% / 14%
- Latvia: 69% / 36% / 15%
- Lithuania: 87% / 63% / 42%
- Luxembourg: 74% / 41% / 26%
- Hungary: 79% / 55% / 37%
- Malta: 79% / 42% / 18%
- Netherlands: 55% / 26% / 13%
- Austria: 73% / 32% / 14%
- Poland: 94% / 67% / 45%
- Portugal: 90% / 65% / 46%
- Romania: 61% / 44% / 23%
- Slovenia: 90% / 46% / 29%
- Slovakia: 86% / 46% / 18%
- Finland: 85% / 52% / 18%
- Sweden: 89% / 53% / 20%
- UK: 75% / 43% / No reliable data available
- Norway: 80% / 49% / 19%
- Croatia: 74% / 31% / 13%
- Turkey: 76% / 59% / 34%
(Eurostat, December 2010)
The Facebook juggernaut rolls on in Europe, but the first sign of declining growth rates has appeared. In particular, the site's meteoric expansion in the UK is tailing off.
The social network gained more than 2.2 million active UK users in May 2010, according to Inside Facebook-an 8.9% rise that took total UK user numbers to 27.1 million on June 1. Growth was higher in the UK than anywhere else in Western Europe.
By midsummer a different pattern was emerging. In France, user numbers continued to climb, reaching 19.4 million on August 1, according to data from Inside Facebook. In the UK, by contrast, the tally of active users fell in June, and rose only 1.8% in July. As a result, UK user numbers on August 1 were actually lower than in June 2010. Seasonality may be responsible for some of this shrinkage, but this should not be a greater factor in the UK than in other European countries.
Hitwise also reported that the average amount of time spent on Facebook by UK users fell from 30 minutes in December 2009 to 27.36 minutes during June and July 2010.
This is not to say that the power of Facebook is necessarily waning among UK web users. More than a third of the entire population have Facebook accounts-the second largest national membership in the world, after the US. In May 2010, Facebook was the second most visited site in the UK after Google. According to Hitwise, it accounted for over 7% of all UK internet visits that month, and maintained that level of popularity through June and July.
Such usage figures point to the most likely cause of the slowdown in UK growth: market maturity. Inside Facebook calculated that in the month to August 1, 44.2% of UK residents visited the site. Only the US, with 42.1% penetration, approached this level of involvement. In France, about 30% of the population was active on Facebook in July 2010. Germany, with fewer than 10 million active Facebook users, also offers more potential for growth than the UK. (emarketer.com, August 2010)
Europeans are getting more social minded every day and Europe will be spending a lot more time interacting with social media in 2010, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau.
For online marketers, optimizing for social media has become not just interesting, but a must. Optimization typically focuses on sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. When it comes to Europe, however, there are many more choices.
European companies are said to be using social media mainly for research purposes and to drive product sales. European users meanwhile are spending more and more time on the web and in particular on social media sites.
Facebook is the leading social network in the US, but it is experiencing rapid growth throughout Europe. According to comScore Facebook is the most popular social network in 11 out of 17 European countries. Other social networks are feeling the pain of the Facebook growth but still play an important role.
In other European countries local social networks are losing ground to Facebook, but are still playing a big part, especially when it comes to branded communities, blogger outreach, UGC, video distribution, reactive customer service and display advertising. They are successfully fighting back against the US giant. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, March 2010)
Last Updated on Monday, 20 May 2013 14:25