Digital gains ground in France

08 March 2011

PARIS: Consumers in France are engaging in an increasingly diverse range of digital activities, a study has found.

The Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques (INSEE) estimated the number of households with internet connections grew from 12% to 64% between 2000 and 2010.

Some 78.6% of the organisation's panel reported using the web on a daily basis, a figure rising to 83.3% among 15-29 year olds.

While a "digital divide" exists, favouring those with higher education, salaries and new media experience, it is starting to close, INSEE added.

When discussing specific pastimes, 97% of contributors had entered queries via a search engine, and 90% sent and received emails, but only a quarter belonged to a social network.

A further 83% look for information about products online, 66% access banking services, and 52% plan and book holidays.

Seven in ten French netizens had conducted an ecommerce transaction during the last year, with clothes posting a 49% purchase rate, and books, magazines or newspapers scoring 30%.

However, the acquisition of grocery goods remains relatively rare, registering just 10% on the same metric.

Elsewhere, INSEE revealed 24% of the internet audience has gone online from a mobile phone, up on the total of 9% lodged in 2008, a trend it described as a "spectacular breakthrough."

Residents in another 13% of homes had surfed the net utilising a games console such as Microsoft's Xbox.

Overall, 59% of people under 30 years old have used the mobile internet, leveraging either a cellphone, Wifi or other handheld devices, measured against 25% of individuals over 45 years old.

Data sourced from INSEE; additional content by Warc staff