If you live in Europe and you’re on the Internet, it’s a pretty
fair bet you will use the search engine, Yahoo Europe, to help you get
around the World Wide Web. So, when Yahoo published its first audience
qualification study earlier this month, the findings offered some
intriguing insights into European Internet use in general.
The results build on existing demographic data gathered by studies,
including BMRB’s Internet Monitor, detailing who uses the Net, plus
their age, sex, average income and household status, to reveal an
upmarket demographic profile. Eighty-five per cent of UK respondents to
Yahoo’s survey were male; 59 per cent were aged 25 to 44; average
household income was pounds 44,000 and 73 per cent were homeowners.
Working with Continental Research, Yahoo set out to probe further,
asking detailed questions concerning financial products, leisure
activities, broader lifestyle issues and attitudes to online
The survey was conducted among 12,000 people in three countries - the
UK, France and Germany.
The survey discovered that 81 per cent of UK users do not work in
information technology or IT-associated businesses. However, if you
think that doesn’t make them techie, more than half of UK users now
favour sitting in front of their PC to watching TV which, they claim,
they are now doing less of. They do have a social life, though: 33 per
cent eat out at least once a week.
Other snippets include: 56 per cent of respondents would like to learn
another language; more than half visit the cinema at least once a month
and 41 per cent travel by plane at least twice a year to go on
Half use the Internet in equal measure for business and leisure. Eighty
per cent surf, while 74 per cent search for material. Seventy-three per
cent use the Internet at least once a day while 97 per cent say they
plan to make more use of it in the future.
Heather Killen, the Yahoo Europe managing director, claims the survey
represents a solid platform on which the company plans to build further
reports that could identify the number of users accessing different
consumer and business services, such as courier services or a particular
’We are eager to establish the characteristics of our users across
Europe,’ she explains. ’This is something that few in Europe have
attempted previously, although a growing number of sites in the US are
now able to provide detailed demographic, lifestyle and consumer
breakdowns. Advertisers want this information - they are interested in
reach, frequency and user qualifications.’
Iain Osborne, the Yahoo Europe marketing director, claims: ’The findings
prove the Internet is becoming part of the daily lifestyle of upmarket
consumers in the UK. They also reveal most of our users are people who
have more money than time - one reason why they overwhelmingly support
the concept of home shopping.’
In line with other smaller studies, Yahoo’s findings reveal users are
not worried about the security of making transactions over the Net. Half
of the respondents had shopped online. Fifty-five per cent believed it
was more secure than using the telephone.
Agencies have welcomed the study as further evidence of the attractive,
upmarket and affluent profile of Internet users. ’The findings endorse
what many in the industry believe - that the Internet is not just about
youthful surfers,’ the Initiative Media communications director, Andrew
Sharpe, says. ’It’s probably a better place to sell insurance to
business people than music to kids.’
One area of particular interest relates to online shopping and how
consumers access products on the Internet (see table, right). ’The fact
that purchases prompted by online banners came in third place might make
some think twice about the value of click banners,’ Sharpe says.
’The position of traditional advertising (in the table) is interesting,’
the CIA Medianetwork head of interactive, Bill Faust, says. ’A major
problem with traditional ads is that, although they raise awareness,
they don’t stimulate the consumer to visit an Internet site.’
Faust also welcomes the findings, although he questions Yahoo’s
conclusions regarding the newspaper profile of its users (see table,
top). ’I think the Financial Times’s position reflects that financial
people using the Internet regularly know the address they need and do
not use browsers like Yahoo because they don’t need to,’ he says.
Faust calls for further research into advanced surfers - their
motivation and aptitude for consuming non-business specific information
when using the Internet for their daily work.
Sharpe adds: ’General information on who is using the Internet is
becoming increasingly well documented. I would certainly like to see
further research conducted into what it’s used for and how. That’s an
area where all of us - service and content providers and media agencies
- could contribute not only to industry knowledge but, more importantly,
to advertiser confidence.’
YAHOO USERS BY NEWSPAPER READERSHIP
Which newspapers do Yahoo users read and how much more likely are they
to read each paper than the average person?
31% Times 7 times
25% Guardian 8 times
23% Telegraph 4.5 times
13% Independent 6.5 times
13% Daily Mail -
10% Financial Times 5 times
9.0% Economist 9 times
Source: Continental Research/Yahoo Europe
YAHOO USERS AND ONLINE SHOPPING
How do online shoppers find what they want to buy?
56% surf until they find it
43% use a search engine or other navigational tool
39% respond to banner headlines or links
21% respond to traditional (non-Internet) advertising
13% react to word of mouth
What do they buy when they get there?
50% computer software
23% electrical kit
21% CDs and music
15% travel services
* On average, UK respondents spent pounds 45 in the previous six months
on flowers bought via the Internet.
Source: Continental Research/Yahoo Europe