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  Online real estate: 60 percent of home purchases are initiated on the Internet. In France, 9.95 percent of Internet users visited a real estate Web site in March 2001

Online real estate: 60 percent of home purchases are initiated on the Internet. In France, 9.95 percent of Internet users visited a real estate Web site in March 2001

Which are the most "mature" countries on the Internet? Here is a survey by the Meta group



A survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors four years ago showed that 2 percent of homebuyers in the United-States used the Internet to such effect.

Four years later, the same survey indicates that this figure has jumped from 2 percent to 60 percent!

Of course, this does not indicate that it now proves pointless to resort to real-estate agents.

Indeed, most consumers keep on using them.


Indeed, the Internet happens to be mainly positive for real-estate agents. Instead of having to show consumers an average of 8 properties, real estate agents now only have to show them four, as the Internet allows buyers to make a first selection.

The same phenomenon is already taking place in the automobile sector and we can expect the same thing to happen in many other sectors, as the Internet will help consumers to pre-qualify their choices and will allow all professionals affected by said phenomenon to increase their margins significantly.

In France, according to BVA TFC Research (panel of 18.000 French users who access the Internet both from work and from home), visits on real estate Web sites accounted for 9.95 percent of the whole French Internet activity in March 2001. This rate was 9.97 percent in February 2001.

The fact that 10 percent of the French Internet population visit at least one real estate web site per month undoubtedly indicates that this online sector is becoming increasingly important.

This sector also proves more and more consolidated as the four leading web sites in this sector manage to capture 55.14 percent of the whole traffic on French real-estate web sites.

Let me remind you that we published a survey concerning real estate web sites at the end of April 2001, survey that was only based on the figures provided by BVA TFC Research.

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   Which are the most "mature" countries on the Internet? Here is a survey by the Meta group  

According to a survey conducted by the Meta group, the highest Internet maturity today is to be found in the United-States, Canada, the Netherlands, Finland and Iceland.

These are the countries with the highest e-Commerce development potential.

In order to establish its classification, the Meta group based itself on different criteria such as the number of financial transactions that were generated, the education level of the populations concerned, but also the technological sophistication of said countries.

Among the top ten countries with the biggest e-Commerce potential, in addition to the countries mentioned above, we have Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, New-Zealand and Australia.

There is no doubt that Europe, and according to this classification, all Scandinavian countries, are presently among the countries that rank highest, at least in a general point of view. This is how, in the eTourism sector for instance, Scandinavian countries are way behind compared to the other northern European countries, such as Great Britain, Germany or even France.

The survey by the Meta Group makes a distinction between northern and southern European countries, indicating that countries such as Great Britain, Ireland and Germany have an Internet potential that proves much higher than countries such as Spain, Portugal or Greece.

At the same time, if most of Asia has a high immediate potential, it is far from being distributed evenly on a geographical level. This is how South Korea and Malaysia remain, still according to this survey, the most promising countries as far as e-commerce is concerned, despite Japan's economic crisis.

Basing ourselves on the only distinctive criterion of financial transactions that are made online (number of credit cards issued per person per year, amount of money spent through credit cards), the top five countries according to the Meta group are: Iceland, Luxembourg, Great Britain, the United-States and Canada.

If we base ourselves on the e-commerce criterion only (based only on the sales that are made online and the country's standard of living), the top five countries according to the Meta Group are: the United-States, Finland, Iceland, Canada and Taiwan.

The Meta group also created a distinctive criterion relative to a country's Internet ability to accept the game of globalisation and integrate foreign economic influence. As far as this one criterion is concerned, the top five nations are: the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Finland, Ireland and Sweden.

And finally, the Meta group classified the countries according to their level of technological sophistication. What this means is the number of computers and Internet connexions. As far as this last criterion is concerned, the top five countries are: the United-States, Finland, Iceland, Canada and Taiwan.

What remains to be found is whether it is best to be on an emerging market or on an Internet market that already happens to be consolidated, as it would prove extremely difficult to get into such sector as start-ups are now faced with the arrival of the bricks and mortar online.

As a result, these notions of Internet "potential" must be taken very cautiously and should be applied differently according to the sectors of activity involved.

We can notice that, according to the criteria taken into account by the Meta Group, the top five countries that prove most advanced on the Internet can prove very different indeed.

The question is the following: can the Internet be cut into "slices"? Is this how the economy of a country should be tackled?

Source : Meta Group/Metricnet.com

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