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STAFF REPORTER AEuropean Commission report published yesterday said that 20 percent of Spaniards shop on- line, in comparison with the European Union average which stands at 32 percent.

A spokesman for the Commission said however that Spain and Italy are markets for internet purchase which are growing rapidly. In 2006, the European-wide electronic purchase market was put at 106'0l00 million euros, a figure comparable to that registered in the United States. As much as 70 percent of internet sales can be attributed to three countries: the United Kingdom, Germany and France. In the UK in 2008, 57 percent of the population made on-line purchases. In Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Finland, the figure also passed the 50 percent mark. Countries where people were least likely to buy through the internet were Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Greece, Cyprus and Portugal. The Committee said that the key barriers to buying on the internet are geographical isolation, language difficulties, operational problems with payment, and a lack of confidence on the part of people who don't believe they will get what they pay for.