Fabiola Arrendono, managing director of Yahoo Europe, said this week that despite the plethora of free Internet services, European users prefer to spend time and money enjoying other pursuits.
"We will see enhanced penetration when broadband is mainstream, but there are cultural and general differences - Europeans have a life," she said, speaking at the Jupiter Consumer Online Forum in London this week.
She added that the introduction of unmetered access would have an impact on Internet use, but believes that even once the clock stops ticking, the majority of European users will not mimic their US counterparts and stay online all the time.
"Usage patterns will always lag behind the US because Europe has a more developed outdoors life," she said.
Roger Wood, corporate vice president in charge of ecommerce at Reebok International, pointed out another cultural difference that will have an impact on how both traditional retailers and online merchants sell to consumers.
"Americans view shopping online as therapeutic and entertaining, while in Europe ecommerce is driven by efficiency," he said.
Martin Dunn, managing director of Associated News Media agreed, but stressed that it is the task of online businesses to convince the consumer otherwise.
"We have to convince the consumer things we offer are better than what they do now, better than going to the pub," he said.
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