March 25, 2011, 1:54 PM

Nearly 75% of Europeans visited an e-retailer in January

That’s a 12.9% increase from a year ago, comScore says.

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74.5% of Europeans visited an e-commerce site in January, up from 66% a year ago, according to comScore Inc., a market research firm that tracks online shopping. Comparison shopping sites, apparel retailers and consumer electronics were the most-visited sites. 

ComScore’s report measured e-retail site visits in 17 European countries. The United Kingdom had the highest percentage of online consumers frequenting e-retail sites, 89.4%. U.K. consumers also spent the most time shopping at e-retail sites during the month, averaging 84.1 minutes per consumer, 60.5% more than the European average of 52.4 minutes.

France (87.0%), Germany (82.1%), Ireland (80.7%) and the Netherlands (80.2%) round out the top five European nations in terms of the percentage of consumers shopping online. Amazon.com-operated sites ranked in the top five e-retail properties in each of these markets. Amazon.com Inc. is the No. 1 e-retailer ranked in Internet Retailer’s Top 300 Europe Guide. Apple Inc.-operated sites also rate among the top five e-retail properties in four out of the five leading European markets. Apple Inc. is No. 11 in the Top 300 Europe Guide.

ComScore measured the lowest online shopping penetration in Russia (59.0%), Portugal (65.9%), Finland (66.5%), Italy (69.5%) and Turkey (69.8%), although each nation had year-over-year e-retail penetration growth. E-retail penetration was up 15.8 percentage points in Russia, 5.7 points in Portugal, 2.7 points in Finland, 2.1 points in Italy and 1.9 points in Turkey.

31.6% of European e-retail shoppers spent an average of 5.9 minutes visiting a comparison shopping site, such as Bing Ciao and Shopzilla. 28.4% visited an apparel e-retailer and 27.1% visited a consumer electronics e-retailer.

Apparel e-retailers registered the highest engagement levels, measured by the amount of time spent on e-retail sites, among all retail categories measured. Consumers spent an average of 23.3 minutes visiting apparel e-retail sites in January.

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