According to Gemius 2011 was an interesting year for the online market of Central and Eastern Europe. The total internet population of the region grew by 9.2% in comparison to 2010, which accounts to over 12M new web users! Expansion of the internet user base did not escape the marketers’ attention and consequently the overall volume of online adspends in CEE increased by over one third year-on-year.
2011 brought most notable changes. Some of the CEE countries (Belarus, Latvia, Poland, Russia and Ukraine) were the battlefield witnessing a struggle between strong local social networking players and the international social media mogul – Facebook. Apart from that, the region's inhabitants got more drawn to the mobile internet and the use of smartphones and tablets.
The 2011 leaders in the number of internet users were: Russia, where 38.3% of the whole CEE online population lives, and Turkey with internet user base constituting nearly 16% of all users in the region.
Still, one of the least mature markets in CEE – Belarus and Ukraine – surpassed Russia in terms of the internet population growth dynamics. In December 2011 13.5M Ukrainians (19.1% y-o-y increase 2010-2011) and 4.1M Belarusians (20.2% y-o-y growth) were present online.
A brief glance at the internet penetration statistics across the Central and Eastern European countries shows that the gap between the old EU countries and the CEE markets is still large. Still, the internet
penetration across all CEE countries grew in 2011 in comparison to 2010, which proves that there is a huge potential
for future development dormant in this region. In three CEE markets (Belarus, Romania and Ukraine
) the y-o-y growth of internet penetration exceeded an impressive threshold of 20%. As it has been mentioned, the expansion of the internet user base did not escape the marketers’ attention, and consequently the overall volume of online adspends increased in CEE by over 30% year-on-year. The most dynamically growing markets in the Central and Eastern Europe were in 2011, apart from Russia, Ukraine (58.5% y-o-y growth)
, Croatia (39.8%), Slovenia (31.1%) and Slovakia (29.9%).