NEWS | 31 Mar 2017

EU28 becoming as online as the Nordics?

While young people in the Nordic countries have been daily Internet users for many years, today older people are also becoming avid users. Compared to the EU average, young people in Europe are now on par with the young in the Nordics, while there are still major differences between older groups in the Nordic countries and the EU.

By the end of 2016, Eurostat released the data from its annual survey on ICT use in the EU, including candidate countries and some EEA countries.

The average Internet use in the EU (EU28) in 2016 is 82 per cent, compared to more than 95 per cent in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The data refer to 16-74-year olds having used the Internet during the last three months.

If we instead look at daily use of the Internet, there are greater differences between the Nordic countries and the EU average. Seven out of ten in the EU28, but almost nine out of ten in the Nordic countries, use the Internet on a daily, or nearly daily, basis.

Daily use of the Internet, share of population 16–74 years 2007–2016 (per cent)

Source: Eurostat database.

No longer a difference among the young
In 2007, 75 per cent or more of the Nordic 16-24-year-olds used the Internet daily, and in 2016 almost all are online daily. But while a large share of the Nordic youngsters have been daily users for ten years, the average for EU28 youth was considerably lower in 2007, with 58 per cent, compared to 92 per cent using the Internet daily in 2016.

This shows that in 2016 the shares of young people in the EU28 and in the Nordic countries using the Internet on a daily basis are more or less on the same level.

Daily use of the Internet, share of population 16–24 years 2007–2016 (per cent)

Source: Eurostat database.

A clear gap between the older groups
In the Nordic countries, daily Internet use is high within all age groups, even including the oldest in the survey, 65 to 74 years. Two out of three 65- to 74-year-olds in Denmark, Norway and Sweden are daily users, and in Finland one out of two of the oldest are online daily.

Whereas there is little difference between young people in the Nordic countries and the average EU28 youth, there is a clear gap between the old in the Nordics and in the EU28. On average, 36 per cent of those aged 65 to 74 years in the EU28 use the Internet daily.

Daily use of the Internet among the survey’s oldest is increasing steadily, and will continue to do so – not so much due to new users among the elderly, but because the Internet users are ageing.

Daily use of the internet, share of population 65-74 years 2007 and 2016 (per cent)

* Data for 2014. | Source: Eurostat database.

Mobile devices  popular for Internet use
Considering the Internet users’ ways of accessing the web, the use of a smart/mobile phone is much more common in the Nordic countries than in the EU on average. The lower EU28 average is mainly explained by the lower number of people aged 45 years and older using a smart/mobile phone to go online.

Among young people, there are no differences between the EU28 and the Nordic countries when it comes to using a smart/mobile phone to access the web.

Using a mobile phone to access the Internet, share of pop.* 16–74 years 2011–2016 (per cent)

* Share of population who has used the internet during the last three months.
Source: Eurostat database.


Downlad the tables from Nordicom's table database (Excel):
Internet daily use by sex and age in the Nordic countries 2005-2016
Internet activities in the Nordic countries 2011–2016: Online news, social networks, games, TV and video services
Internet activities by age 2016: Online news, social networks, games, TV and video services
Use of mobile/smart phone to access the Internet in the Nordic countries 2016

About the statistics: The national statistical offices within the EU (plus candidate countries and some EES countries, e.g. Norway) conduct annual surveys on individuals’ use of computers and the Internet. The surveys are part of a European project, and the data are reported to Eurostat. The statistics can therefore, in broad terms, be compared between countries. The surveys cover 16- to 74-year-olds. The data above refer to use during the second quarter of each year.