A typical middle-sized company in Portugal has a website on the Internet, 85% of big companies do. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the website has probably never been updated since 1998, it’s in flash, you can’t find any product listings and the contact page (when there is one) lists a CEO that’s already retired to an old folks home.
This is an exaggeration, but only to illustrate that in Portugal, most companies still don’t look at the online channel as seriously as they should. Little or no investment is allocated to a functional, sleek, visible website.
This has a lot to do with broadband not being widely available in Portugal until recently, as data from the regulator of the communications sector in Portugal ANACOM shows. Broadband gives users an added incentive to explore information, in a way that is simultaneously fast and effortless. The European average for broadband use is 6,5 in 100 persons. Now Portugal is on average, and growth is expected to remain strong, because only 35% of homes have internet access (from 23% in 2000). Online advertising in Portugal, according to the Initiative Group, will grow 25% in 2006 (above the European average).
The most visited sites in Portugal, according to NetPanel are:
www.google.pt + www.google.com ( about 3,3 million unique visitors/month)
login.live.com (about 1,6 million unique visitors/month)
www.sapo.pt (a generic entertainment and news portal, similar to Yahoo, that uses Google search techology – about 1,3 million unique visitors/month)
www.hi5.com (about 1,1 million unique visitors/month)
Note: visitors to login.live.com are hotmail and msn messenger users.
Most users go to Google.pt to search for information, so most Portuguese sites should optimize for Google.pt. As Sapo.pt uses Google results, that reinforces Google’s position in the Portuguese market. There is really no other credible alternative right now.
Although a lot of people use Google, you won’t find it gets mentioned a lot in daily life. The Portuguese are still using the Internet mainly to check email or visit a couple of the same sites, news, or football sites are always popular.
So there is a long way to go. But we expect a lot of the future of SEM in Portugal. We are very optimistic it will evolve rapidly, as enterprises follow consumers into the Internet, to sell, to delight and mainly to better promote themselves.