LONDON, United Kingdom — More companies in Europe are turning to web conferencing as their awareness of web conference services grow and they look for ways to cut travel expenses and comply with environmental laws.

According to analysis from Frost & Sullivan, the hosted web conference services market in Europe grew 14.9 percent from 2007 to 2008, up to $162.6 million. The market is estimated to reach $657.1 million in 2014 at a compound annual growth rate of 26.2 percent.

“The global recession and stringent environmental laws introduced by the European Parliament in 2008 are driving organizations to reduce their travel expenses and comply with 'green' policies," said Frost & Sullivan research analyst Iwona Petruczynik in a statement.

More companies are becoming more aware of web conferencing services and more vertical, small and medium businesses, which traditionally stayed away from web conferencing due to thinking it is too difficult to use or too expensive, are being drawn to the services as costs come down.

Countries like Germany, France and the United Kingdom, which have high awareness of web conferencing, well-developed infrastructure and have access to services from several global companies, are expected to see continued high demand. Web conferencing is expected to expand in countries like Italy, Spain, Ireland, Poland and Hungary, which either have had some web conferencing presence or are just emerging as markets.

The expansion of more companies into more countries, though, is also expected to create more competition and lead to pricing battles as local web conferencing providers bring down prices in response to larger, global companies entering their territory.

Other challenges to the market identified by Frost & Sullivan include the general low awareness of services (particularly in Center and Eastern Europe), poor infrastructure in some areas and low adoption by small and medium businesses.

Frost & Sullivan details its analysis in its "European Hosted Web Conferencing Services Market" report.

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