European digital divide widens in the face of world competition
Date: Thu, 01/10/2013 - 16:57 Source: Email-Brokers press department
The Email-Brokers’ Internet Barometer has been published on a pan-European scale for the first time, analysing 13 million websites. Out of 21 audited countries, only seven have at least 50% of their companies on the Net. France, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Hungary are the `least bad pupils'
William Vande Wiele, founder of Email-Brokers
Image credited to Email-Brokers
According to a new general study by Email-Brokers, the West-European company leader of database management and interactive marketing, the Internet is the poor relation of the European economy. At the Old Continent level, a woefully small number of companies has an on-line presence and is grasping the business and job-creation opportunities offered by e-commerce and the social media.
“Our shortage of active companies on the Internet is furthermore harmful to the European economy as a whole because it deprives the continent of growth and export opportunities in general, which international competition in particular is already busy seizing,” William Vande Wiele, founder of Email-Brokers, underlined. “The weak presence of European companies on the Internet is all the more worrying as, according to the European Commission, 2.6 new jobs are created in the new digital economy for each job that is destroyed in the traditional economy. Our study shows that, out of 21 audited countries, only seven have at least 50% of their companies on the Net.”
Email-Brokers has examined the Internet development trend in the whole of the continent of Europe between 2010 and 2012. This survey shows that Germany (64%), Belgium (61%) and the Netherlands (58%) are the European countries with the highest percentage of on-line companies. On the other hand, the Czech Republic (rise of 11% of the number of websites in one year), France (+10%), Portugal (+9%) and Hungary (+9%) are the countries that are currently enjoying the fastest growth.
In the social networks field, the most developed countries are Great Britain (6% of companies active in the social media), Italy (5.6%) and Sweden (5.4%). Great Britain (16%) is also, with Lichtenstein (17%), the country where the percentage of active e-commerce companies is the highest.
In relation to these generally weak figures, it is paradoxical to note the abnormally high number of illegal websites, of which Belgium is the champion of Europe with 91% of its websites failing to comply with the legislation in force. It is closely followed by Turkey (89%), Albania (88%) and Ukraine. Furthermore, the contrast with other nations such as Luxemburg (17%) and France (23%), which post a far greater number of legitimate commercial websites, is striking.
“It’s not too late to react but it nearly is”, William Vande Wiele, founder of Email-Brokers, concluded. “European entrepreneurs are not grasping the immense opportunities brought by the digital economy in general and by the Internet in particular, since they henceforth constitute an additional local and international sales channel. Through the social networks, consumer behaviour is changing, while we have more information than ever about their profiles, their purchasing habits, their communities and so on. Adapting to these changes constitutes a crucial challenge for the years ahead. While the crisis continues to undermine our economies, it would be time for the public authorities to launch an initiative of a kind to provide massive support for the development of the Internet at the Old Continent level. Millions of jobs are a stake and only a significant investment in the new media would enable them to be actually created.”