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In Europe, digital saturation spreads slowly as Western Europe is actually one of the most advanced internet markets worldwide. Around 70% of consumers in Western Europe are going online at least once per month. Internet penetration is also at a high rate in most countries slowly reaching other top internet penetration countries such as Norway’s 86%. In 2013, more and more people will go online more frequently and web access also tips towards the majority in both Central and Eastern Europe. This is very interesting and great news for the tourism industry (eMarketer 2013).

CENTRAL AND EASTERN €OPE

In Central and Eastern Europe, more than 54% of the population will go online regularly in 2013. This is a very positive development, with Russia being the major source country for internet users in the region. Although growth in internet penetration in Russia is growing, the overall growth is still quite slow but steady through 2017. Slowly, Europe is moving towards digital saturation and penetration rates across Europe are growing steadily, as are the number of people accessing the web regularly. For tourism, this is good news, but also provides a number of challenges, as consumer demands are increasing over time and at the same time the tourism businesses also need to work more efficient and increase their digital activities.

INTERNET PENETRATION

Internet penetration in Western Europe performs similarly, however eMarketer adjusted the penetration rates based on new information with regards to the internet usage among younger and older consumers. Although predictions for penetration rates in Western Europe are now lower than before for countries such as Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands, these countries are still leading the global internet penetration.

On average more than 8 out of 10 people will go online in these countries at least once per month, showing that internet penetration is at its highest. In years to come, these rates will increase but at a much slower pace than predicted before. Norway for example will increase its penetration rate from 85% in 2012 to 87% in 2017.

For Italy and Spain the penetration rates are fairly low in comparison to many other Western European countries. This is also the case, as the older population in these countries do not access the internet as much and outside of cities, penetration is also fairly low.

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