Over the last year, the proportion of Europeans visiting business and finance Internet sites has doubled in some markets, and the time spent on these sites has increased by up to 60%, according to Jupiter MMXI, a London-based research firm.
Business and finance Web sites have been among the most popular destinations of Europeans since Jupiter MMXI started measuring European Internet behavior last October. More than 20 million Europeans logged on to business and finance sites from home in May, visiting local brands which offer online banking, financial information, online share trading, and insurance services. Seventy percent were male.
The research shows that Europeans are happy managing their finances online. The most popular banks and financial services sites are those that provide up-to-date and comprehensive content which both attract and retain users.
"In the future, we expect to see a reduction in the amount of free content available," said Patricia Lueer, finance analyst at Jupiter MMXI. "The Internet pure plays, as well as the banks and brokers, will have to charge their users for premium content, such as in-depth background research and real-time quotes."
The proportion of French Internet users visiting business and finance sites from home more than doubled from 18.5% to 38%. They also increased time spent on these sites by more than 50%, from 19.5 to 31 average minutes per unique visitor per month.
In the United Kingdom, 36% of all at-home Internet users visited finance sites in May, an increase of 28% from May 2000. Banking sites, such as Lloydstsb.com, Egg.com, Barclays.co.uk, Nationwide.co.uk, and Natwest.com are among the U.K. top ten in this category. Some of these sites have introduced partnerships with portals such as Lloydstsb.com with Lycos, Nationwide.co.uk with Excite, and Natwest.com with Yahoo.
In Germany, the reach of business and finance sites increased by 19% from May 2000 to May 2001, with 35.7% of people online visiting these sites from home. German Internet users spent more than one hour (61.3 average minutes per unique visitor) on business and finance sites in May 2001, more than any of their European counterparts. Web sites offering online share dealing and stock market information are more popular than sites of traditional banks, although traditional banks are catching up.
Internet users in Spain and Italy are second only to the Germans in the amount of time they spent on finance sites in May 2001. Spaniards and Italians visit not only sites of traditional banks, but also those offering financial information. In Spain 37.5% of people online from home spend 54 average minutes on top finances sites, such as Lacaixa.es, Invertia.com, and Expansiondirecto.com, as well as online banking sites, such as BBVnet.com, BBVA.es, Bsch.es, and Ebankinter.com.
One in three Italians (31.9%) visited financial information sites, such as Ilsole24ore.com, Voltrade.it and Borsaitalia.it, as well as banking sites, such as Fineco.it, Cartasi.it, and Cariplo.it. They spent on average 58.3 minutes on these sites in May 2001.
The Nordic region has the highest proportion of Internet users visiting business and finance sites. In Sweden, where Jupiter MMXI measures at work usage as well as at home usage, almost 60% of the online population visited finance sites in May 2001. Fifty six percent of Norwegians and 45.1% of Danes online visited business and finance sites from home in May 2001.
In Switzerland almost one in three Internet users visited finance sites from home in May 2001. Although this is one of the smallest audiences for these sites in Europe, the Swiss spent an average of 27.9 minutes per unique visitor in May 2001--more than people in Norway and Denmark, where the reach is much higher.