One in eight adults within the European Union's 27 countries do not use online shopping services due to fear of identity theft, according to figures from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Communities.
However despite these concerns the Eurostat data - which has been collected from the 2006 and 2007 surveys on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) usage in the EU27 - shows that the number of people shoppping online is rising. In 2007 30% of EU adults ordered goods or services online - up from 24% in 2005.
But the figures do show a marked difference between EU member states in the take up of online shopping. The highest proportions of Web shoppers in 2007 were in the Netherlands (55%), followed by Sweden (53%) and the UK (53%). In contrast, just three per cent of people in Bulgaria and Romania bought goods and services over the Web.
The statistics - released in connection with Europe's fifth annual Safer Internet Day - show that a significant number of people are still concerned about Internet fraud. In 2006, 12% of people aged 16 to 74 in the EU did not shop via the Internet because of fears about giving credit card or personal details online. Security concerns were most prevalent in Spain (27%), Finland (26%) and Cyprus (20%).
The stats shows that the number of people using the Internet increased from 52% in 2006 to 57% in 2007. Of these Internet users, the proportion that log on to Web banking has increased from 38% in 2006 to 44% in 2007.
Finland had the highest proportion with 84% of Internet users banking online, followed by Estonia (83%) and the Netherlands (77%). In contrast just 12% of Web users in Greece used Internet banking and this number falls to seven per cent in Romania and just three per cent in Bulgaria.