Swedish consumers are the most enthusiastic online shoppers in Europe, according to the third annual Impact survey from Datamonitor.

Studying web use and behaviour, the report classified European consumers into five different species of internet shopper: Resistors, Agnostics, Phantoms, Moderates and Internet Globetrotters.

Resistors are by far the largest group (50% of European consumers), consisting of those without internet access and with no plans either to visit the web or shop there.

Agnostics (9%) are consumers who regularly access the internet but do not shop there, while Phantoms (27%) represent those who research their purchases online but use the information on the high-street.

Although the smallest of the five groups, Moderates (8%) – who make low-spend online purchases – and the bigger-spending Internet Globetrotters (6%) account between them for the vast majority of the $16.4 billion (£11.58bn) e-commerce revenue generated in Europe last year. Preferred online purchases, says Datamonitor, are holidays, CDs, gifts, cosmetics and toiletries, books and food.

Sweden has the highest proportion of Moderates and Internet Globetrotters, with 26% of shoppers belonging to these categories. In second place is the UK with 21%, followed by Germany (19%) and France, Italy and Spain (all 9%).

This high-spending minority, says Datamonitor, is increasingly discriminating about what it expects from e-tailers. They prefer many different routes to shop – phone, email, website or a high-street branch – and companies must adopt multi-channel strategies if they want to reap the full rewards of e-commerce.

News sources: BBC Online Business News (UK); Datamonitor