- Europe has maintained and even reinforced its position as world leader in terms of Internet users
- European growth rates are remarkable when it comes to Internet users but it is still under the global average
- Growth rates in Europe are overtaken by major parts in Africa and Asia where some countries experience average annual growth in Internet users between 40 and 75 per cent
Observations for policy
In terms of Internet users Europe has maintained its position as world leader along with other major developed countries. This evidence shows that Europe has a favourable position in the world when it comes to Internet connections and use of digital networks. Despite that, some countries are still catching-up.
Access to information society and global linkages are important development features in a worldwide competition of business groups, services and products, but also for the attractiveness of cities and regions across Europe. An EU flagship initiative in this field is th Digital Agenda for Europe. The aim of this initiative is to create a single digital market based on fast and ultrafast Internet and interoperable applications. The target for 2013 is to have high-speed Internet accessible for everyone.
The map shows the average annual growth rate in Internet users around the world between 1999 and 2009. While Europe displays quite remarkable growth rates of between 7 and 37 per cent, this is still under the global average.
Growth rates in Europe are surpassed by large parts of Africa and Asia, where some countries experienced average annual growth of internet users between 40 and 75 per cent.
The exceptionally high growth rate in the rest of the world in terms of internet users clearly indicates that the gap is rapidly narrowing and this previous global competitive advantage is decreasing.
More internet users in emerging markets outside Europe is at the same time opening new economic opportunities. With more people connected to the internet around the world, the potential for European businesses to reach larger markets is growing as commodities and services increasingly are being purchased and distributed online.
Within Europe, the gaps between countries have been closed, at least in a worldwide perspective. However, the map does not take into consideration the quality and speed of the Internet and the services provided.
Concepts and methods
The map depicts an indicator that has been calculated by dividing the number of individuals who use the Internet in the last 12 months by the total number of individuals. The proportion of individuals using Internet is originally from ITU (International Telecommunication Union).