EU regions: how did people use the internet in 2021?



In 2021, some 67 % of the EU population (16-74 years old) bought/ordered goods or services over the internet during the 12 months prior to the survey. This share reached a peak of 93 % in three Dutch regions (Drenthe, Utrecht and Zeeland). More generally, there was a very high tendency to use e-commerce in all but one of the remaining Dutch regions (Limburg being the exception), all of the Danish regions, all but two of the Swedish regions, two out of three Irish regions and Corse (France).

The Bulgarian regions of Yugoiztochen and Severen Tsentralen had the lowest proportions of people making use of the internet to purchase goods or services over the internet (26 % and 27 %, respectively, in 2021).

Meanwhile, some 58 % of the EU population used the internet for banking during the three months prior to the survey. At least 90 % of people made use of internet banking in every region of Denmark, Finland (no data available for Åland), as well as 8 out of 12 regions in the Netherlands. The Finnish capital region of Helsinki-Uusimaa had the highest share of internet banking (96 %). Every region of Bulgaria and Romania (except for the capital regions of Yugozapaden  and Bucureşti-Ilfov) reported less than one quarter of all people making use of internet banking; this was also the case for Kentriki Elláda in central Greece.

One of the most common activities on the internet was participation in social networks, for example, using Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or Twitter. In 2021, close to three-fifths (57 %) of the EU’s population participated in social networks during the three months prior to the latest survey. The participation rate for youths aged 16–29 years (83 %) was almost four times as high as the corresponding rate for older people aged 65–74 years (23 %).

In 2021, there were 19 NUTS level 2 regions across the EU where at least three quarters of the population aged 16-74 years old participated in social networks.

The 21 regions where less than 45 % of people participated in social networks were exclusively located in Germany (NUTS level 1 regions) and France. Several of these were characterised as predominantly rural or outermost regions. Participation in social networks was particularly low in the eastern German regions of Thüringen, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Sachsen-Anhalt (each of these had a share within the range of 34–37 %) and in the outermost regions of La Réunion (35 %) and Guadeloupe (36 %) in France.

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Methodological notes:

  • In this article, the regional data are presented at NUTS 2 level. There are 242 regions at NUTS 2 level.
  • Germany, Greece, Poland and Turkey: NUTS 1 data.
  • Croatia and Albania: national data.
  • Belgium, Germany, Ireland and Switzerland: break in time series.
  • Data not available for:
    • Liechtenstein
    • France: Mayotte
    • Finland: Åland
    • Norway: Oslo og Viken
    • Norway: Agder og Sør-Østlandet
    • Norway: Vestlandet
    • Norway: Svalbard og Jan Mayen