Online banking reached more than 30% of the active Internet audience in five major markets in November 2002, with traditional bricks and mortar banks leading the way, according to the latest analysis from Nielsen/NetRatings.
Online bank domains in Sweden topped the table, attracting 51.3% of active users in November, with more than half of surfers spending a average of more than an hour at bank or credit union sites.
Sites in Australia, France, Netherlands and Brazil also reached more than 30% of users. The UK came in sixth with 28.7% while 12.5% of US surfers accessed financial sites.
The research also shows that the number of European surfers visiting financial services sites between October 2001 and October 2002 grew from 15 to 25 million, while the number of regular visits rose to 37%.
Richard Goosey, international chief of measurement science, NetRatings, says in virtually every market, it is the traditional banks that are attracting the biggest audiences and online users are most likely also customers of the in-person bank branches.
He adds that the exception in Europe is Egg.com, a pure-play online bank which is currently the most popular European banking site.
"Egg.com is achieving overlaps of around 20% with its major competitors, suggesting that its success is built on being a convenient second account for traditional banking customers," says Goosey.