Europe's digital year in review

Users in the UK and the Netherlands spend the most time online; Austrians the least. The Digital Year in Review 2010 examines European trends in internet usage.

The Europe Digital Year in Review 2010, published by comScore, explores trends in internet usage and social networking across 18 countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom).

Europe has 360 million online consumers, and over half of these are 35 years or older.  They spend the equivalent of one day a month online (24 hours) but the Netherlands and the UK spend significantly more (31 hours and 30 hours respectively).  Italy (16 hours) and Austria (13 hours) spend the least time online. 

How are Europeans spending their time online?

While instant messaging and auction site activity declined in 2010, photo sharing and social networking activity increased the most (up 34%).  230 million Europeans are Facebook users, making it Europe's third most popular website.  It is also the website they spend most time on.   The use of email by internet users under 35 is declining. 

Social networking growth in Europe

By the end of 2010 social networking had reached 84% of European internet users.   Social networking accounted for nearly 23% of all page views in Europe over that year.  The increase was greatest in the Russian Federation (21.5%) followed by Germany and Austria.  Despite this increase (up 16%) Austria is still at the bottom of the European league when it comes to the social networking reach (74.5%).  The top three European countries are Turkey, Poland and the UK in that order.

When it comes to the amount of time spent on social networking, European women lead men, spending just over 24% of their online time on social networking  (an increase of 5.6% on the previous year), with men at 16.8% (an increase of 3.1%).  Both figures are above the worldwide average.  The audience for social networking in general skews younger, but LinkedIn has an older age profile with almost 90% of its visitors aged 25 or older.

Facebook is the leading social networking site in almost all European countries.  The exceptions are Russia, the Netherlands and Poland which have home grown sites, although Facebook is growing in Poland and Netherlands.  Turkey has the highest Facebook penetration in Europe at just over 90%, followed by the UK.  In 2010 Facebook made significant gains in Portugal (up 48.2%) and Germany (up 35.7%).                 


There has also been a rapid growth in the use of money saving coupon sites in Europe.  In 2010 visits to coupon sites grew by 162%.  France leads Europe in the reach of coupon sites with over 20% of all French internet users accessing coupon sites.   Italy and Turkey show the most growth in this area.

TV and online video

Europe saw significant growth in this area and by the end of 2010, 47% of internet users were accessing TV websites.

In December 2010, viewers from Germany (18 hours), the UK (17), and Spain (16) spent more time watching online videos than those in the US. Viewers in France watched 12.2 hours of video and viewers in Italy watched the least with only 10.4 hours.   The general trend is towards watching fewer videos of longer duration.


Smartphone penetration continues to increase, and in the EU5 (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK) it is higher than in the US (31% against 27%).

The full report includes country specific scorecards and is available to download for free from

Image courtesy of Hakan Dahlstrom, via Flickr.