France: Social networks the leading online activity

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Whilst almost 53 million French users went online each month in 2018, 43.3 million did so daily. Social networks, instant messaging, media, entertainment and responsible consumption are the major trends observed last year. Legal services, especially for films/series and music have also significantly progressed.

“Once again this year, the internet’s momentum has continued, as evidenced by our Total Internet audience and web user behaviour analysis covering 6,000 brands and 700 apps across all screens,” said Bertrand Krug, Director of Médiamétrie’s Internet Department. “French people spent an average of 1hr 37mins online each day, which was 9 minutes longer than the previous year. This growth was being driven by mobile, which accounted for almost half of daily browsing time by itself, as well as being the No.1 screen for connecting to the internet. These days, apps play a central role for mobile internet users, capturing 90 per cent of smartphone usage time.”

The amount of time spent on the internet has quadrupled in the last ten years. Those aged 35-49 are the keenest internet users at nearly 2hrs 30 mins each day. Young people are also increasingly online, for example 11-14 year olds devoted 1hr 26mins to daily internet activity, a 23-minute increase on 2017. And then there are the 6.5 million avid French online users who browse for 6hrs 49mins daily. Whilst this group may only represent 15 per cent of the internet user population, it accounted for 44 per cent of the duration spent online. The internet is used fairly constantly throughout the day: computer, smartphone and tablet complement one another, with a daily peak at 6:37 pm when more than 6 million internet users are online. Mobile is driving growth: it has become the leading device to connect from, and is winning over more users every year. Today, there are 34 million daily mobile internet users i.e. 3 million more than the previous year.

In 2018, this mobile domination was felt even more strongly: in the wake of “mobile-first” came “mobile-only”, especially among younger people. 15-24 year olds spend three-quarters of their daily 2-hour browsing time on a mobile. And 6 out of 10 use their smartphone exclusively for web browsing each day. Although mobile internet users visit an average of 56 websites per month compared to just 18 apps, they spend 90 per cent of their mobile time on the latter platforms. And almost half the time devoted to these apps is concentrated on the 10 most visited ones.

Social networks have established themselves as the leading online activity, occupying 1/5 of the time spent on the internet (1/3 for the 15-24 age group). Every day, 30 million people go on social networks. Nowadays, each generation has its own favourite network.

The internet also serves as a conveyor for media content. For instance, 2 out of 3 web users keep up to date at least once a month via news websites or apps. The internet is also an entertainment arena for playing (1 out of 2 web users per month), listening to music (4 out of 10 web users per month) and watching videos.

2018 also signalled a paradigm shift in internet user behaviour. Over half of them (52.5 per cent) chose to pay to access content, whether it was articles, music, or videos. The development of legal services, especially for films/series and music, seems to be acting as an antidote to content piracy. Although declining, piracy remains at a high level, with close on 14 million internet users involved in piracy in 2018. At the same time, audiences of SVoD websites and apps have doubled.


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