Free newspaper circulation increased in a spectacular way in Europe. In 2000 total circulation was 5.5 million, it doubled in four years to 11 million in 2004. It more than doubled again in only two years to more than 26 million in 2006. In September 2008 the 125 different European titles – more than 300 editions – have a combined circulation of more than 28 million.

Except for Norway and some Eastern European countries, all markets are served by free newspapers. Competition is much more common than monopoly, three or more papers in a market is no exception, average market share is above 20%, in five countries more free than paid papers are distributed and in a dozen countries the paper with the largest circulation is a free newspaper.