Britain is e-mail capital of Europe

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BRITONS SEND more e-mails to friends and colleagues than any other nation in Europe.

A survey has found that more than 50 per cent of UK Internet users keep in contact with their friends via e-mail compared with the European average of 34 per cent. The Italians are the least keen on communicating electronically (18 per cent).

BMRB International, a market research company, asked 12,000 adults across Europe about their Internet habits.

While Britons emerged as the most enthusiastic e-mail users - 52 per cent say that they e-mail their friends compared with 47 per cent who say they use e-mail for work - Scandinavians are the biggest users of the Internet.

More than half of the Swedish population, nearly half of Finns and 46 per cent of Danes said they had used the Internet, compared with just under a third of the British population as a whole. In France and Belgium a quarter of the population had used the Net, and in Germany and Spain a fifth. The Italians came last, with only 19 per cent having used the world wide web.

Banking on the Internet is more popular than on-line shopping for all European countries except Spain, the UK and Austria. For eight of the 12 countries surveyed, e-mailing was the most popular e-activity, beating banking, which is more popular than on-line shopping.

Internet users in Sweden, Spain, Austria, Finland and the UK lead the field in shopping electronically.

Leading article, Review, page 3