BRUSSELS: The number of Europeans aged 16 to 74 who access the internet every day has doubled since 2006, but usage varies considerably across the region's diverse nations, new official data has revealed.
According to Eurostat, the European Union's statistical office, nearly two-thirds (65%) of citizens in the 28-member bloc used the internet daily in 2014, up from less than a third (31%) in 2006.
Over the same period, the proportion of people who have never used the internet fell from 43% in 2006 to less than a fifth (18%) in 2014, but stark differences remain between poorer countries and the more advanced economies of northern Europe.
People who have never used the internet, either at home or at work, accounted for just 3% of the population of Denmark in 2014, followed by Luxembourg (4%), the Netherlands (5%), Finland, Sweden and the UK (all 6%).
But this compared with Romania (39%), Bulgaria (37%), Greece (33%) and, in perhaps a surprise finding, Italy (32%).
The share of daily internet users among the population of the EU28 ranged in 2014 from 32% in Romania to 87% in Luxembourg, Denmark (85%), Sweden (83%) and the UK (81%).
Daily users also accounted for a huge 94% in Iceland and 89% in Norway, although both countries are not members of the EU.
Coinciding with the uptake of the internet in the region, the report also confirmed that cloud technology has secured widespread adoption, especially in Denmark (42%) and the UK (38%).
Spread across the full 28 member states, over a fifth (21%) of the population used cloud services to store files in 2014, although only 11% used paid-for services.
Cloud services appealed largely because they can be used from several devices or locations as well as the ease with which files can be shared with other people (59%).
Protection against data loss was cited by over half (55%) while 44% liked its larger memory space. Over a fifth (22%) wanted access to music, films or TV.
The importance of the internet for the EU's growth prospects was underlined earlier this month with new research from the Boston Consulting Group, which analysed the market in the EU's five largest economies – Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Spain.
It said the mobile internet economy generates €92bn each year to the economies of the EU5, produces a consumer benefit, or surplus, of about €770bn and has created no less than 250,000 jobs.
Data sourced from Eurostat, BCG; additional content by Warc staff