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Home > Internet users behaviour > 06/11/2008   

Internet Primetime in Europe

Internet users behaviour, and especially the times when they visit websites varies from one country to another depending on cultural habits, economic rhythms... So as to determine the extent of these behavior differences, below we have compared the connection times preferred by European, French and Spanish Internet users.
  • Study conducted from March 1 to 31, 2008
  • Perimeter of 988 websites
Internet visit times in Europe are affected by changes in Internet users lifestyle rhythms between the working week and weekends

The graph below shows the breakdown by times of average Internet visits for 30 European countries studied during the month of March 2008. The breakdown by time is set out for weekdays (average of breakdown by time averages from Monday to Friday, in March 2008) and for weekends (average of breakdown by time averages for Saturday and Sunday, in March 2008).

On average in European countries, in March 2008, almost 50% of the visits made during the week (49.3%) took place between 10 am and 5 pm:

  • Activity is reduced during the night, before rising from 7 to 11 am
  • There is a fall back at lunch time with a resumption from 1 pm (the period of time that sees the greatest number of visits for the day)
  • From 2 pm onwards, the number of visits drops off slowly throughout the afternoon and early evening

Weekends are characterized by a slippage in visits later in the day:

  • From 7 am to 5 pm, weekend there are proportionally less weekend visits, while this proportion is greater after 5 pm

  • The lunchtime lull moves back into the period from 2 to 4 pm

  • Rise in weekend connections from 4 to 8 pm (with a weekend peak between 7 and 8 pm), before falling back after 8 pm, while still remaining proportionally far higher than during the same times during the week

  • As a result, and on average for a European country in March 2008, 43% of weekend visits take place between 5 pm and midnight, compared with 34% of visits during the week


The average Internet primetime periods therefore vary between weekdays and the weekend, with:

  • Internet primetime from 1 to 2 pm on weekdays. This primetime period is due to both professional and personal hits, as this period of time, depending on the country and the company's field of business, may or may not correspond to the lunch break. For that matter, it is interesting to compare this web primetime with those recorded for radio and television. As a result, we could break the day down into various media affinity phases: radio in the morning to pick up the first news of the day, Internet during the day with its primetime at 1 pm (with both professional and recreational connections) and lastly television in the evening for the news and entertainment programming.

  • Internet primetime from 7 to 8 pm on weekends. On weekends, Europeans change gears… and therefore their Internet connections change too. They wakeup later, eat lunch later and especially have other things to do (sport, DIY, shopping, family time, time with friends…) on Saturdays and Sundays. Hence the peak in visits that comes later on in the day.

These average hourly characteristics for Europe mask disparities between countries.
We therefore especially took a look at two of these countries: France and Spain.

Although French Internet users surf slightly later on weekends, they shift their Internet consumption by less than the European average

The graph below that was produced using the same methodology as the previous one, represents the hourly breakdown of Internet visits, on average, for Europe compared with that of France.

Just like for the rest of Europe, French visits take place later on weekends than during the week, with a differential that is however a less pronounced one: 34.3% of French visits on weekends take place between 6 pm and midnight compared with 32.4% during the week (36.4% of European visits on weekends take place between 6 pm and midnight compared with 28.1% during the week). For that matter, Internet primetime in France stays the same during the week and on weekends: 6 to 7 pm.


There are however time behavior specificities affecting French Internet users and the European average, both during the week and on weekends.

Specificities during the week:

  • The lunchtime lull is more pronounced,

  • Visits are put off until later on in the afternoon: French visits are proportionally less numerous as noon approaches and early in the afternoon, while there are more from 5 to 9 pm. They actually rise from 4 to 7 pm, unlike visits in other European countries. The daily peak time for visits therefore occurs between 6 and 7 pm (compared with 1 to 2 pm for Europe).


Weekend specificities:

  • French visits are grouped less in the evening and at night than European visits: 17.9% of French visits take place between 7 pm and 6 am vs. 23.2% of European visits,

  • And French Internet users are more active in the morning: 20.5% of French visits take place between 8 am and noon vs. 17.7% for European visits.


Internet, Spanish-time…

The graph below this time shows the hourly breakdown of Internet visits on average for Europe compared with Spain.

Like in the rest of Europe, Spanish visits take place later on weekends than during the week: 39% of Spanish visits on weekends take place between 7 pm and 2 am compared with 29.5% during the week. The weekday 1 to 2 pm primetime (just like the rest of Europe), is therefore shifted to 8 to 9 pm on weekends (an hour later than the European average).


Just like for French Internet users, specificities in time based behavior terms, there are difference both during the week and on weekends between Spanish Internet users and the European average.

Specificities during the week:

  • Spanish Internet users get up later: 9.1% of daily visits take place between 7 and 10 am vs. an average of 11.2% for Europe,
  • The lunch break is a very marked one that takes place later: after the weekday traffic peak at 1 pm, visits drop off sharply between 2 and 4 pm,

  • And Spanish Internet users continue to surf later in the evening. Unlike other Europeans, visits rise from 4 to 6 pm. They then fall back progressively but remain proportionally more numerous than the European average: 36% of Spanish weekday visits take place between 6 pm and 2 am compared with 31% for European visits.


Weekend specificities:

  • The 2 to 4 pm lull is a sharper one,

  • Visits rise from 6 to 9 pm (weekend peak),

  • Spanish visits during the weekend are more typically evening and night visits compared with other European visits: 39% of Spanish visits take place between 7 pm and 2 am vs. 34.3% of European visits.


As we have just seen, visitor behavior when it comes to connection times, varies from one country to another. This behavior at least partially reflects the cultural habits in these countries, e.g. with the French waking up early while the Spanish start their day later, with a denser activity pattern in the evening…

It is therefore important for a web site to know these behavioral differences well, according to country, so as to anticipate on their own actions in line with the ups and downs of site traffic.

If a country outside of France and Spain is of interest to you, don't hesitate to go to the « Contact us » heading.


In this survey, the aim was to present indicators showing the spread of visits by time, unaffected by the structure of the survey period (i.e. the number of Mondays, Tuesdays, etc...), thereby making it possible to monitor these indicators over time.

To obtain these indicators, the first measurement made was one of the hourly breakdown for every day during the period.

Then the average breakdowns for "Monday", "Tuesday", "Wednesday", "Thursday", "Friday", "Saturday" and "Sunday" are determined over the period.

Lastly, the "weekday" indicator is determined as the average of the breakdowns obtained during the previous step for "Monday", "Tuesday", "Wednesday", "Thursday", "Friday", and the "weekend" indicator is determined as the average of the breakdowns obtained during the previous step for "Saturday" and "Sunday".

So as to allow an in-depth analysis of the hourly breakdowns determined for each country, the reference used was the average of these same indicators for European countries that comply with set integration criteria.

To be integrated into the coverage area, the countries must be geographically a part of the European continent. Furthermore, a minimum traffic volume was required during the period.

For the purposes of this survey, the list of countries retained for calculating the "week" and "weekend" indicators for the reference time breakdowns are:

Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Rumania, the United Kingdom, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine.

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