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European e-commerce still on a roll, report says

Consumer e-commerce is continuing to boom in the European Union, despite the problems bedevilling service providers, a report commissioned by AOL Europe has claimed.

The European Cyberstudy, produced by consultants Roper Starch, claimed that half of all European citizens have now incorporated the Internet as a "central part of their every day lives."

Some 36% of interviewees said they had logged on for the first time in the past year, while 20% had connected since November 2000.

The report concluded: "This growth can be expected to continue, as seven in ten European online consumers have suggested to a friend or family member that they get online."

The survey also contrasted usage in different European countries, with Germans emerging as the most enthusiastic about online banking. This activity is twice as popular in the EU as in the US, according to the report, with 27% of Europeans saying they were likely to bank over the Internet.

Britons preferred making travel reservations on the Net and were also more relaxed about buying goods and services online than people in the US, the report found. Some 54% of UK users said they planned to increase their Internet purchases, compared with 50% of US citizens.

For general use however, the US still heads Europe, with 62% of Europeans saying they would choose an Internet-connected computer over a telephone or television, if they were stranded on a desert island. This option was chosen by 69% of those surveyed in the US.

Keith Nuthall

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