Uncovering the perceptions, attitudes and behaviours
of Europeans towards digital media
By Fernando Alonso-Cortes Rodriguez, G2
Digital technology and the online environment have altered consumer behaviour - including the way people interact with and shop for brands. However, these changes are happening at different rates in diverse regions. Even within Europe, it is all too easy for marketers to fall victim to lazy pan-continental targeting.
Yet the behavioural habits of digitally-enabled consumers differ widely, with notable disparities between East and West European markets, and these characteristics are often rooted in political, cultural and socio-economic history. Many brands in Western European regions have been household names for over a century and have become entwined in the cultural pasts of countries. By contrast, brand culture is much less established in Russia, Romania and other former Soviet bloc markets which have only really opened up for international brands in the decades since the end of the Soviet Union.
The ways this uneven brand access and history has shaped current consumer habits in the digital space across Europe emerged in a study G2 EMEA commissioned. The eCultures study polled more than 6,000 consumers across six countries (UK, Spain, France, Germany, Romania and Russia). Amongst the extensive findings, clear disparities emerged between the Eastern and Western regions.
The detailed findings suggested there were four key areas where brands operating in the digital environment need to be aware of differences across european markets in attitudes, namely:
- Internet usage
- Online privacy and security
- Online shopping
- Perceptions and associations of the internet
It is important to map the differences between the online behaviours in the East and West to develop clear strategies for brands operating in some or all of these markets.
It is now widely accepted that in the context of e-commerce and digital communications, brands are in an "always-on" environment where consumers with internet access may choose to interact with and buy a brand at any time of day or night. There is some evidence that this ubiquity factor matters most to Eastern Europeans.
Of the six countries surveyed in the eCultures report, consumers in Romania and Russia spent the most time online daily, respectively allocating a daily average of 5.4 hours and 5.03 hours to their online activity. At the other end of the scale, the equivalent daily figures for Germany and France were far lower at 3.27 hours and 3.16 hours respectively.
To continue reading, download Uncovering the perceptions, attitudes and behaviours of Europeans towards digital media (pdf, 1 Mb)