A report on web usage from AC Nielsen eRatings.com has singled out Britain, Germany and Italy as promising internet growth areas. The three countries are “well worth watching”, according to the company’s director of analytics, David Day.

The UK has 19 million home users, making it the world’s third most populous web market. Germany has 14.8 million and Italy 11.1 million, meaning that the three countries comprise over half the total European market of 82 million.

But the report contains mixed news for e-commerce. Outside America and Japan, only in Sweden do more than one in nine of the population shop on the web. In Ireland and France, only 2% are internet shoppers, while in Spain the figure is as low as 1%. On a brighter note, the UK has “the highest browse-to-purchase ratio of all the European countries”.

The report covered twenty European, North American and South East Asian countries. Outside the US and Japan (the nations with the highest web usage), Scandinavian countries dominated the league of web access, while Sweden topped the list for purchasing online:

1: Norway, 53%
2: Singapore, 50%
3: Sweden, 49%
4: Holland, 48%
5: Denmark, 47%
(% adults with home links to net. Excludes US and Japan)

TOP E-TAIL NATIONS 1: Sweden, 17%
2=: Australia, 11%
2=: Denmark, 11%
2=: Switzlnd, 11%
(% adults purchasing online. Excludes US and Japan)

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)