PARIS: French consumers prefer to look at retailers' catalogues or websites than to be contacted using more intrusive marketing methods, new research has found.

Bonial, which offers French internet users daily updates on local shopping deals, surveyed polled 1010 adults online for its report Etat des Lieux du Marketing Digital.

It found that of all the various methods retailers could use to reach them, consumers were most interested in catalogues, whether online or hard copy. Almost half (47%) said they favoured this approach, followed by websites (42%).

These three routes were twice as popular as the next two. Search advertising was cited by 24% and mobile apps by 23%.

No such gaps were apparent when respondents were asked about the marketing formats that annoyed them the most. Voicemail messages topped the list, with 54% disliking these, followed by full-screen ads at the launch of an app or website (50%). A further 26% in each case described these as 'invasive'.

MMS/SMS ads (48%), mobile ads (48%) and pre-roll ads (44%) were almost as unpopular.

But French consumers were largely indifferent to outdoor advertising (58%), QR codes (57%), mobile apps (51%), radio ads (51%) and sponsored links from search engines (48%).

The survey also found that almost half the online population (48%) was shopping online at least once a month. A further 12% were shopping at least once a week and 2% were doing so every day.

Just over a quarter indicated that they shopped online at least once a year, while just 8% did so less frequently and 3% claimed never to shop online.

On average, 54% started their shopping journey with an offline search compared with 46% who went online straight away. This reaction varied, however, depending on the category under consideration.

Thus, electronics tended to encourage online research, as 65% started here, while food (70%) primarily involved offline research. Others were more evenly divided – furniture and decoration had a 44% online/56% offline split, while sports goods was 51/49 split and DIY 42/58.

In terms of what they were looking for, the 62% of the survey who possessed a smartphone or tablet and who shopped online at least once a month were primarily looking for more detailed product information (cited by 63%).

Other frequently undertaken actions included comparing prices (58%), refining purchase intent by assessing different products (54%), checking if there was a shop nearby or checking shop opening times or find a store so one could go there (each 53%), checking a retailer catalogue (52%), looking for ideas (51%) or checking if a particular item was in stock (50%).

Data sourced from Ifop; additional content by Warc staff