UK internet users make almost a third of all their purchases online - the highest proportion of any European country, according to a new study.IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) Europe
’s latest Mediascope Europe
study shows that UK internet users spend 32% of their total shopping budget online, followed by German users at 25.4%.
The study also found that 96% of European internet users now research their purchases online, while 87% shop online and 19% do all their shopping online.
In six months, between September 2011 and February 2012, Europeans spent a total of €188bn online, at an average of €544 for each European online shopper. The highest spend came from Norwegians, who spent €1,162, on average, while UK shoppers' spend was the fourth highest at an average of €765 across the six month period.
More than 50,000 consumers from 28 different markets took part in interviews for the study, which covers the way they use the internet, radio, TV, newspapers and magazines. For the first time it also looks at the way people use the internet differently over computers, mobile phones, tablet computers and games consoles.
The study also found that 426.9m Europeans go online every week – or 65% of internet users, with more than a third (37%) accessing the internet using more than one device. Some 64%, of 415.7m people, access the web via a computer, while 21% (139.2m) do so via their mobile phone.
Europeans, the study found, spend 14.8 hours online each week. Those using a computer spend the most time online, at 13.3 hours, compared to 9.4 hours for those using a mobile phone, 9.3 hours for tablet-users and 6.8 hours for games console users.More than half (51%) of the consumers quizzed said the internet helped them to choose better products and services, with 47% inclined to find out more about products they see advertised online and 46% saying they often visit the website of their favourite brand.
In other highlights, the study found 48% of Europeans, or 297.4m people, said they use the internet while watching TV, while 16% of all time spent watching TV in Europe is done while using the internet. Some 70% of all Norwegians using the TV do so while using the internet, and in the UK the figure is 62%. A third (33%) of all TV and online multi-taskers said their online activity was likely to be related to the TV programme they were watching.
Alison Fennah, vice president of research and marketing for IAB Europe said: “It’s no longer appropriate or sensible to think of ‘using the internet’ as a specific and isolated activity. The ever-wider variety of devices that people use to access online content and the degree to which they do this while using other media shows the deep level of engagement consumers have with the internet today.
"For instance, many Europeans are clearly using the web and watching TV simultaneously, and a third of those are actually consuming complementary content. Those companies that understand and adapt to these changing consumption patterns will be the ones that succeed in the future.”
She added: “What we see from the 2012 research is how the internet is being used together with traditional media – consumers aren’t rejecting one media platform over another, rather they are using multiple devices to enjoy a huge variety of media, either with their full attention or shared.”
A related study this week put a figure of £4bn on the UK's paid search market. The Econsultancy Paid Search Agencies Buyer’s Guide found the market would rise in value by 14% in 2012 and would reach £4.19bn by the end of this year.
The valuation reflects the total amount spent on paid search, including media spend, and money spent on agency management services, technology and consultancy.
Andrew Warren-Payne, research analyst at Econsultancy
, said: “Despite continuing economic pressures on business within the UK, companies have been increasing the amount they spend on paid search advertising as they look to focus their spending on areas with proven potential for driving a return on investment.”
He added: “The ability to target customers in a highly specific and measurable way, and to alter campaigns quickly in line of rapid market changes, continues to ensure that paid search remains a highly attractive channel for marketers.”