Europeans switch on to online banking

Europeans switch on to online banking

More than one third of Europeans online visited business and finance sites from home in November 2000, especially sites of traditional and online banks, according to latest figures from Internet research company Jupiter MMXI.

Topping the league table is Denmark, with 41.3% of the Internet population visiting banking and finance sites from home during November 2000. In the UK, almost every third (31.7%) person using the Internet from home visited these sites in November 2000. In France and Germany the penetration of finance sites was slightly higher with 33.8% and 34.2%.

Traditional banks also dominate the European league tables. In the UK the ten most popular finance sites are those of banks, including mainly traditional ones, such as Barclays, Lloyds TSB, Abbey National, Natwest and building society Nationwide. But despite the success of the incumbents, the most dominant UK Web presence throughout 2000 was that of Egg, the direct banking arm of the life assurer Prudential, reports Jupiter.

In France banks are popular destinations, too. Six banks made it into the top ten finance sites, together with sites offering insurance and/or financial information. Four of the top ten finance sites in Germany are those of stockbrokers but the Web sites of two traditional banks, and, achieved positions four and five. In Denmark five of the eight finance sites showing up in the Jupiter MMXI report in November are banks.

Banking and finance Web sites also appear to attract users for a longer time than other categories such as entertainment, retail or news/information. The heaviest users in time spent in Europe are the Germans with 83.3 average minutes per unique visitor (almost one and a half hours), followed by the Danes who spent about one hour (54.9 average minutes per unique visitors) at banking sites in November 2000.

Nick Jones, senior analyst with Jupiter MMXI, says the challenge for banks in 2001 is to encourage users to increase their account usage, which will be more important than the total number of accounts. "Most major banks now offer their services online, but there is currently little product differentiation from one bank to the other", he says. "To encourage account holders to be active account users, many banks still need to make the use of their online services simpler and must add tools and content on their Web sites that help customers manage their money."

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