According to a new brief by Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR), one in five Europeans already banks online, and that number will double to 130 million in 2007. However, during the next five years, growth will slow to a 21 percent CAGR as penetration subsides in the Nordics, Germany, and the UK.

“Net bankers represented 37 percent of Net users at the end of 2002, and online banking services now attract 18 percent of all European adults,” said Forrester Analyst Charlotte Hamilton. “Their number has more than doubled in the past two years as banks have improved their sites and promoted Net banking.

“Southern Europe saw the highest increase in Net banking, with penetration reaching a critical 10 percent in 2002. In Italy alone, online banking jumped by 88 percent to reach 10 percent of adults. Penetration also increased in the Netherlands by more than 60 percent as Dutch banks like ABN AMRO closed branches and heavily promoted online banking. Growth in the Nordics, UK, and Germany started to flatten out in 2002 — pulling the average European banking growth rate down from 60 percent in 2001 to 40 percent in 2002.”

Forrester projects that the number of Europeans using online banking will double to almost 130 million users in five years — a CAGR of 21 percent. While online banking penetration in Nordic countries and the Netherlands will climb to 60 percent of Net users this year, Italy and Greece, which had fewer than 5 percent of adults banking online a year ago, will struggle to reach a third of Net users banking online in 2003.

Forrester has used data from the past two years of Consumer Technographics™ Europe surveys and company data from leading banks to update its online banking forecast.