PARIS: Young French consumers have a generally optimistic outlook and regard the internet and social networks as powerful engines for achieving their ambitions and realising personal projects, a new survey has found.

Ifop carried out research for Coca-Cola, polling a representative sample of 1,001 adults as well as 691 people aged 16-29, to assess French society's state of mind and identify what made people happy.

The subsequent report, Les raisons d'y croire des Fran├žais, revealed that most respondents (71%) were happy to be living in the present day. Among young people, however, there had been a sharp rise in the proportion thinking themselves unlucky to be living at present.

For 50 years or more, previous surveys indicated between 15% and 18% of the young had felt this way but in the current survey 34% of youth expressed this sentiment. Ifop said this rise was "undoubtedly" because of the economic crisis.

Despite that, this group had seized on the internet and social networks as the route to a more fulfilling life. Fully 79% of 16-29 year olds, compared to a national average of 72%, said the these platforms circulated ideas and initiatives that they could draw on, while 73% (64% average) said they made individual initiatives and projects easier to realise than in the past.

For example, 43% had been inspired by a status post by a friend on a social network to visit a new place or a new country, while 37% had started a new hobby. Planning future projects was cited by 36% and living a healthier life by 30%.

Social networks operated in other ways, contributing to the positive feelings of youth. Some 28% of young French users said they felt "fun" daily when on social networks, a feeling that extended to a further 41% on a weekly basis. Equivalent figures for "happiness" were 20% and 35%.

Data sourced from Ifop; additional content by Warc staff