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State of the Internet in Europe

EuropeIn July we had a look at the worldwide state of the Internet. Now the time has come for something a bit more specific, the state of the Internet in Europe. We’ll look at this from two angles. First, which countries in Europe have the most Internet users, and second, which countries have the highest Internet penetration. Both are relevant in their own right.

Since Europe is such a diverse market with a multitude of countries and different languages, it makes sense to look at these countries separately. This contrary to the trend where people sometimes try to think of the European Union (much of, but not all of, Europe) as some kind of equivalent of the United States. The language issue alone makes the comparison moot.

The Internet in Europe

Before we go on the the charts, here are some observations about the Internet in Europe:

  • There are 475 million Internet users in Europe (worldwide total is 1.97 billion).
  • Europe has 24.2% of the world’s Internet users.
  • Europe as a whole has almost twice as many Internet users as the United States.
  • The country with the most Internet users in Europe is Germany, with 65 million.
  • The country with the fewest number of Internet users in Europe is the Vatican City State, with a whopping 93 Internet users (and a total population of 829).
  • Ten European countries have more than 10 million Internet users.
  • The average Internet penetration across Europe is 58.4%.
  • The country with the highest Internet penetration in Europe is Iceland, with 97.6%, followed by Norway (94.8%), and Sweden (92.5%). Those are the only three European countries with more than 90% Internet penetration. (For comparison, the United States has an Internet penetration of 77.3%.)

By Internet penetration, we mean the share of the population with Internet access.

Top Internet populations in Europe

We’ve already told you that Germany has the most Internet users in Europe, but what about the rest? Here are the top 20 countries in Europe in terms of Internet users.

Top 20 countries in Europe in terms of Internet users

It might be worth pointing out that both Russia and Turkey are only partially in Europe (for example, Russia spans most of Eurasia).

European countries with the highest Internet penetration

Unlike the previous chart, which was bound to be ruled by the more populous countries, the Internet penetration is independent of population size. In fact, it may even be easier for relatively small countries to do well here since the infrastructure demands are smaller in scale.

Top 20 countries in Europe in terms of Internet penetration

In terms of Internet penetration, the Scandinavian countries are doing extremely well. The top three countries are all Scandinavian (Iceland, Norway and Sweden) as well as number five and seven (Denmark and Finland).

You can also see how some of the smallest countries have made an entrance here, such as Iceland (population: 309,000), Andorra (population: 84,525), Monaco (population: 30,586) and Liechtenstein (population: 35,002). As we mentioned above, since their inhabitants cover a very small landmass, they don’t have to deal with a lot of infrastructure issues more widespread countries need to think of.

Final words

Although Europe as a whole has almost twice as many Internet users as the United States, Europe is a much more splintered market, with different countries and languages. Hopefully this small study has given you a bit more insight into how the different European countries compare.

It can be useful to be aware of the numbers in this article when considering for example localization of a website, or when selecting which markets to target.

Data source: Internet World Stats.

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