I am delighted to announce that for the first time, our annual US consumers and technology benchmark report now has a European counterpart: "The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2012, Europe." This report is a graphical analysis of a range of topics about consumers and technology and serves as a benchmark for understanding how consumers change their technology behaviors over time. The report, based on one of our European Technographics® surveys, covers a wide range of topics, such as online activities, device ownership — including penetration data and forecasts for smartphones and tablets — media consumption, retail, social media, and a deep dive on mobile. For Europe, we analyze our findings for five countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK.   

With almost 75% of European adults going online at least monthly and, as the figure below shows, more than half of European online adults owning two or more connected devices, consumers in Europe are more connected today than ever before. Companies that want to interact with these new, perpetually connected customers will, however, need to take into account the differences that exist between European countries. Our analysis shows that while European consumers in each country heavily incorporate technology in their lives, there are major differences between countries in the level of Internet adoption, technology usage, and sophistication.

A few other interesting insights we uncovered:

  • The UK is the leading technology market in Europe. The UK not only has the highest percentage of consumers going online regularly but also leads in online shopping (including the highest average spend in the past three months) and the uptake of mobile activities. In fact, 10% of UK consumers with a mobile phone have used a shopping app in the past month.
  • Germany represents an opportunity for retailers. With more than 46 million consumers online, Germany has the largest online audience in Europe. Almost three in four German online adults have ordered products or services online in the past three months, spending an average of €225. However, they trail behind in the adoption of newer eCommerce touchpoints like social or mobile.
  • France shows slower uptake of technology. Online adults in France are behind the curve in their adoption of consumer technology and devices. Compared with Spain and the UK, French online consumers are less likely to own multiple connected devices; they are also, overall, the least likely across the five countries to own a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or netbook.
  • Italy and Spain have a smaller but active online population. About 58% of Italian adults and 69% of Spanish adults go online monthly — lower than in other countries. However, those who are online are very active social media users. In both countries, two-thirds of the online population has a Facebook account, and they are more likely to be "Creators" or "Critics" — the active segments on Forrester's Social Technographics® ladder.

These insights show only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the information available in the report.

We've based our analysis on Forrester's European Technographics surveys. Technographics is the biggest and longest-running survey of consumers and technology in the world — and it covers the impact of technology globally on a variety of consumer markets, including automotive, consumer technology, banking, healthcare, marketing, media, retail, and travel. The sheer size of the Technographics sample allows us to look at online consumers in a variety of ways, including through the lens of the more than 150 brands we ask about. Please contact me if you'd like more information.

If you would like to learn more about how to create brand advantage with perpetually connected consumers, come to Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders, in Los Angeles on April 18-19 or Forrester's Marketing Leadership Forum EMEA in London on May 21-22.