Even though in countries such as Sweden and Denmark more people access the Internet on a daily basis they are not as keen to use the web to shop as those in Britain.
Last year a staggering 64% of UK adults made online purchases. This is almost double of the EU average, which currently stands at 34%. Two countries currently occupy the second spot with 54% of Danes and Norwegians having bought over the Internet in 2011.
Entrepreneurs in Britain are also very keen to explore the potential of e-commerce, with 27% of individuals selling over the web. Germany takes the top spot here however, with 29% of people there trading in this way.
The British seem a lot more web savvy than many other EU nations, although they are still some way behind some north European countries (Norway, Iceland, Sweden, etc.) in the way they use the Internet. People in those countries are much more comfortable with social networking for example. But where e-commerce is concerned we really are ahead of the rest of Europe.
The southern part of the continent is at the moment the weakest of all the Internet markets in the EU, with Greece, Portugal and Turkey remaining very underdeveloped. The number of people with access to the web there is much lower than average and people do not really shop online. It does not mean however that there isn't a potential there for established businesses to trade. Entering a new and underdeveloped market early often means that you can become known among shoppers and gain a strong position before competitors arrive.
Europe as a whole is an excellent part of the world in which start up e-retailers can grow. Right now though, Britain is the unchallenged leader in this area.
The author works for PayPoint.net - Merchant Services
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