EuroStat, the research body for Europe, published some interesting comparative figures in late September, which I finally get to comment on (not that the boffins in the EU are holding their breaths waiting for my comments!).
The survey was conducted in the EU 27 countries and a further four countries to cover a ‘euro zone’. The questions are fairly basic but at least we are able to draw a competitive between ourselves and the rest of this Eurozone.
Looking at the stats it has to be remembered that there are massive regional differences. Some countries adopted to the Internet much quicker (some due to geographic factors) and some of the countries – the ‘accession’ countries - are really just getting to grips with all the new technologies. As soon as I began to look at the recent statistics, I began to glaze over.
Not because I found them dull and uninteresting but, due to the structure for the European Union, the data becomes particularly repetitive. The same group of countries features on the top of each list and, likewise, the same group feature at the bottom of the list. So, the easiest and most efficient way to look at this was to distil the information into the table below which gives a synopsis of where we stand on certain topics relative to our European Neighbours.
|Use internet Daily||43%||39%||18|
|Find information on Goods/Services||50%||46%||18|
|Order Goods and Services online||32%||36%||12|
|Internet via Modem (Dial-up)||11%||18%||4|
|Sell Over The Internet||10%||3%||20|
|Use internet Banking||29%||28%||15|
|Use Internet to look for a Job||13%||9%||19|
|Internet Online course||3%||3%||15|
|Internet replaced time with off-line activities||8%||2%||31|
|Individuals regularly using the Internet||56%||57%||15|
|Read Online Papers online||25%||17%||27|
|Download of music/films Daily||2%||1%||28|
|Mobile internet Access||3%||2%||20|
A shameful statistic is that we have the forth highest rate for dial up access via modem (the Box Brownie of internet connections) in Europe. We have a poor take-up on conducting business over the net (from a merchants point of view) with only 3% of individuals selling over the Net compared to a 10% EU average. Conversely, we have a higher propensity than the EU average to ordering goods and services online! Internet Banking has had a good take-up, we stand close to the EU average. But that average is particularly distorted with the Nordic Countries having a huge take up in internet banking (naturally) up to 75%. Where we score particularly low in comparison is surrounded by media according to the survey. We rank at the bottom of the tables for Downloading Music daily at #25, listening to radio or watching television on line still hasn’t grabbed our attention with the same gusto as our neighbours. Newspapers: According to the survey close to one in five read a paper/magazine on line but that’s the way below the EU average. We rank last in only one statistic: “Internet has replaced time with off-line activities” – a resounding No - we have not surrendered to the screen. Ireland Internet Statistics from Eurostat 2009. Interesting comparisons between Ireland and it’s EU neighbours on a myriad of internet related statistics.