Infographic: European internet habits

An infographic to show the essential headline data you need to understand the state of mobile, internet and social media use.

Published by 

Alexis Pratsides


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Some fun and informative insights:

infographic showing European internet habits 2020

Europe is, without a doubt, a digitally sophisticated region. As our infographic shows that with the arrival of 5G, things are set to change within the digital landscape. In January 2020, the total number of mobile phone users was up 2.4%, which is 124 million users, in contrast with January 2019. On the other hand, the number of internet users worldwide grew 7%, 298 million people, if we compare these figures with those of last year. With regards to social media, the number of active social media users increased exponentially with 321 million more. 

Thus, brands are aware of the role of transparency on social media, as deepfakes and misinformation practices are more present. Moreover, this is the time for the “digital regulated spaces”, as platforms and authorities are working on new rules and laws that will apply to help mitigate these harmful habits. Europe is also rapidly adopting smartphones and tablets and multi-screen browsing is becoming normal behaviour.

DESI 2020 european comission

Meanwhile, comparing internet penetration rates of the EU (89,4%) in 2020, we can see that the world average is 59,6%, as differences are quite strong.

Looking at European Internet habits, in 2020 users were up 1.6%, which is 11 million users. Moreover, the total number of mobile phone connections decreased by 5 million, overall. 

As an interesting metric, we can also appreciate that people with incomes higher than the average national media are more likely to use the internet more than those people with lower incomes. Differences are palpable in countries of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Tunisia, where the differences stand out as of 30 points. On the other hand, looking at countries such as Spain, Australia, the Netherlands, and South Korea, we find fewer differences between those people with higher and lower incomes.

Moreover, in 2021 internet user penetration in the United Kingdom will reach 95%. On the same page, the forecasts for other European countries such as France and Germany show penetration of 81.32 and 82.62% approximately.

Similar but different

Taking too broad a brush to Europe would be wrong. There are still countries that lag behind in accessing the internet (e.g. Greece) and there are notable differences in country behaviours for social networks or even web design trends.

The language also plays a huge role. Russian is one of the fastest-growing internet languages and this is shown in its millions of users, participation in social media, and the number of searches it conducts. English is also popular but you cannot assume that everyone is speaking or reading in it.

Developing for desktop, phone and tablet screens would be the best approach if you are trying to reach more than one country in Europe.

Facebook is the most popular social network and has slowly been encroaching on native websites such as Hyves (the Netherlands) and (Poland). However, in Russia, the popularity of VK has held. While VK holds more than a passing resemblance to Facebook, its popularity is partly due to its integrated BitTorrent file sharing so films and videos can be viewed and downloaded from the website.

Planning a European digital marketing strategy

While you can broadly take Europe as a region and apply general assertions, you should always look at the country you are targeting. In particular:

  • Language – make sure you communicate in the right one.
  • Behaviours – what countries currently exhibit the behaviours you want? For example, if you want users to buy online, Italy is probably not the best country to start in due to its low ecommerce rates.
  • Screen sensitivity – Europe looks mobile-centric on the face of it, however, in some countries such as Turkey, desktop browsing is increasing as more and more of the country have access to broadband. Developing for desktop, phone, and tablet screens would be the best approach if you are trying to reach more than one country in Europe.
  • Cultural habits and differences – you need to be aware of the fact that people from different countries are different. It is vital for your international marketing strategy to understand your target audience’s habits to build great campaigns from scratch. All cultural elements such as education and value systems are of importance here, so make sure that you have done appropriate research in advance!
  • Localising your website – if you want to stand out from the competition and reach your goals, work on localisation for URLs, images, contact details, currency, and customer service.  Add all these features in your audience’s language and change the tone when required.

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Created by

Alexis Pratsides

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