The proportion of Europeans who are using the Internet to manage their finances has grown significantly over the past year says research company Jupiter MMXI.
In the past twelve months, the number of consumers visiting business and finance sites has doubled in some European markets says Jupiter, and the time spent on these sites has increased by up to 60%.
Business and finance Web sites have been amongst the most popular destinations of Europeans since Jupiter MMXI started measuring European Internet behaviour in October 1999. More than 20 million Europeans logged on to such sites from home in May 2001, visiting local brands which offer online banking, financial information, online share trading, and insurance services.
Patricia Lueer, finance analyst at Jupiter MMXI says: "Our latest research shows that Europeans are happy managing their finances online. The most popular banks and financial services sites are those that provide up-to-date and comprehensive content which both attract and retain users."
The proportion of French Internet users visiting business and finance sites more than doubled between May 2000 and May 2001, from 18.5 per cent to 38 per cent. In the UK audiences to these sites has grown 28 per cent, and in Germany 19 per cent.
German consumers spent most time on business and finance sites in May 2001, (61.3 average minutes per unique visitor), with Italian and Spanish citizens coming in second and third in this category.
One in three Italians visited financial information sites, such as Ilsole24ore.com, Voltrade.it and Borsaitalia.it, as well as banking sites, such as Fineco.it, Cartasi.it, and Cariplo.it. They spent on average 58.3 minutes on these sites in May 2001.
In Spain 37.5 per cent of people online from home spent 54 average minutes on top finances sites, such as Lacaixa.es, Invertia.com, and Expansiondirecto.com, as well as online banking sites, such as BBVnet.com, BBVA.es, Bsch.es, and Ebankinter.com.
The Nordic region had the highest proportion of Internet users visiting business and finance sites. In Sweden, where Jupiter MMXI measured at work usage as well as at home usage, almost 60 per cent of the online population visited finance sites in May 2001. Every second Norwegian and 45.1 per cent of Danes online visited business and finance sites from home in May 2001.
In Switzerland almost one in three Internet users visited finance sites from home in May 2001.
With numbers rising, Jupiter's Lueer forecasts a reduction in the amount of free content available. "The Internet pure plays, as well as the banks and brokers, will have to charge their users for premium content, such as in-depth background research and real-time quotes," she says.