Sharp differences in the use of more advanced internet services are emerging based on European consumers’ age and educational background, according a European Union report published on Tuesday.

The European Commission’s Digital Competitiveness report shows that internet users are plugged in to basic online communication and use their computers to access information.

But when it comes to internet banking or submitting government or regulatory forms, usage is heavily related to age and educational level. For example, 79 per cent of users with tertiary education have indulged in some e-commerce, compared with just 28 per cent of those with low education.

Similarly, only about five per cent of internet users aged 55-74 have sent an email with attached files, compared with about one-fifth of internet users overall.

“Results suggest that while all internet users, regardless of age or education, use the internet for communication and for access to information, there are sharp differences, particularly by age, for the more advanced services,” the report concludes.

The report also shows that while regular use of the internet is growing in Europe, there remains a substantial portion of the EU population – about one-third – that has never used the internet. About 40 per cent has no internet access at home and 27 per cent has never used a computer.

The main reasons for this was a perceived lack of need, coupled with equipment costs and issues of access and skills.

By contrast, around 43 per cent of the population used the internet “regularly” – that is, at least once a week – last year, up from around 29 per cent in 2005.

Get alerts on News when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)

Comments have not been enabled for this article.

Follow the topics in this article