PARIS: The web, smartphones and tablets are exerting an increasingly profound influence on purchase habits in France, according to a study.

Mediametrie, the insights provider, and FEVAD, the industry body, surveyed 3,257 internet users, 86% of which researched products online prior to buying something.

Search engines were the starting point in this process for 77% of participants, ahead of brand websites on 71% and user-generated feedback on 64%.

Although this kind of research is often the prelude to making ecommerce purchases, the analysis also revealed 77% of the panel did so before obtaining items in bricks and mortar stores, an increase from 68% year on year.

Some 40% of tablet owners, of which there are 3.2m, had engaged in this activity. This total stood at 22% for smartphone users, numbering 19m. More broadly, 40% of all mobile subscribers had gone online when in store to help them make purchase decisions, up from 35% a year ago.

Among the most popular acquisitions on mobile are digital services like tickets and apps, on 21% each. Offerings from the entertainment category posted 11%, and travel was on 10%.

A 74% majority of people making purchases tended to complete such transactions at home, falling to 20% when on the move.

Tablet users bought more apparel through these devices than was the case for the rest of the m-commerce audience, with a 13% uptake. In all, 90% of people buying goods and services in this way did so at home, falling to 7% when travelling.

Elsewhere, 14% of the entire panel had used in-store kiosks which were connected to the web for similar purposes, a figure that had increased from 10% year on year.

Marc Lolivier, of FEVAD, said: "With the advent of 4G, m-commerce and t-commerce will accelerate their development and become purchase channels in their own right."

Recommendations were found to retain a central role in shaping choices, as 61% of respondents shared opinions and recommendations online, up by five percentage points year on year.

While 16% of the sample, however, were both members of Facebook and "liked" a brand on this platform, only 3% would be willing to buy directly from the social network, according to the report.

Data sourced from Mediametrie; additional content by Warc staff