INTERNET USERS in Europe doubled last year, with numbers expected to continue growing over the year to come. A new study by market research specialist Dataquest predicts an overall penetration of 17% of European households by the end of 1999. It warns, however, that although Europe is narrowing the ‘technology gap’ with the US, companies with an internet presence need to be ready to cope with the volume of customer demand that the medium will generate. Said a senior Dataquest analyst: ‘There's been a lot of doom and gloom surrounding Europe’s ability to compete in the global e-commerce market, and while there is still some way to go, we are beginning to see real signs that the situation is changing.’