Getting there – slowly

So what do you do on the Internet? The results from the first online pan-European business survey — Eurostatus — would suggest that the majority of us use the web for work, not play.

Some 80% of participants in the pilot survey said they use the net for business, and only 20% for personal use. They also said the reason they were on the net was for e-mail and research, rather than e-commerce, accessing on-line publications or using an Intranet. When it came to personal Internet usage, e-mail and research also topped the list.

The pilot survey, which ran from 1 May to 15 July 2000, was organised by Eurostatus, a joint venture between various Young & Rubicam companies around the world, and leading business European publishers including this journal’s proprietor, Centaur Publishing, with Usine Nouvelle and Vogel Industrie Medien. Respondents from across Europe answered a host of B2B questions concerning Internet use, multinational corporations, business and consumer confidence levels and lifestyle.

Results also showed that corporate web sites are often no more than corporate brochures that have been stuck online. Participants, however, are demanding more updated information, more user-friendly sites and more useful links. And given that 89% of respondents believe web sites can help drive a company’s business, there’s good reason to improve them.

As for e-commerce, only 34% of respondents’ companies used the service. And with more than half saying that no e-commerce initiatives will begin in the next 12 months, it would appear that we will still have to wait a while for Europe’s virtual Utopia.