Survey: 82% of France using digital technologies
March 10, 2022
Orange has published the third edition of the Observatory of Digital Uses, in partnership with OpinionWay.
Created in 2018 by Orange and OpinionWay, the Observatory is returning in its third edition to provide feedback on digital uses in 2021. This year, the Observatory aimed to measure the development of digital behaviorus, the health crisis’ impact on practices and to study the topic of digital maturity.
A unique perimeter of Observation
With almost 17,000 people surveyed between May and October 15 2021, the survey covers 13 countries in total, including 11 countries in which Orange is present. It presents the main benefits and obstacles to the use of digital technologies as well as the perception of digital technology’s impact on the environment and society.
The results are:
- 82 per cent of French people now use digital technologies, behind South Korea and the United Kingdom (93 per cent);
- Across all of the countries surveyed, 30 per cent of respondents believe that data protection is a major issue;
- 59 per cent of respondents believe that digital technology has a positive impact on the environment;
- In Europe, only 28 per cent of respondents believe that digital technology has a negative impact on the environment.
Benefits and obstacles: double-edged use
Unsurprisingly, following the 2020/2021 lockdown periods, maintaining social ties came first in the Top 3 benefits of digital technology with 31 per cent of the total, followed by openness to the world (27 per cent) and making life easier (26 per cent). Nevertheless, a few specifics stand out: in Europe only, saving time places third (30 per cent) instead of openness to the world, which is much further behind in the rankings (19 per cent), unlike the other zones studied.
The main benefits, which may have driven an increase in uses, also give rise to concerns which can sometimes act as obstacles to using digital technologies. Indeed, data protection comes out ahead for all the countries surveyed: fears that personal data will be hacked and a general lack of trust in digital technology go hand in hand with uses for respondents in almost all countries. The second and third places are occupied by very different responses depending on geographic zone: the risk of addiction and social withdrawal (24 per cent) and price (21 per cent) for Europe, mediocre or unreliable network quality (23 per cent) and health risks (21 per cent) for North Africa and wasting time in South Korea (23 per cent).
The survey also covered the perception of digital technology’s impact on the environment, with positive responses representing a significant majority in all countries (59 per cent of the total). However, the percentage of negative responses should not be ignored, particularly in Europe (28 per cent).
In the societal section, the positive impact of digital technology is just as significant. The results show a form of recognition of this role: digital services contribute to the development of solidarity (66 per cent of respondents), the local economy (73 per cent of respondents) and protecting the environment (71 per cent of respondents).
Security: widespread anxieties in relation to data.
When it comes to social media, 56 per cent of Europeans and 66 per cent of people in the Middle East are worried about their accounts being hacked.
The study shows that when it comes to security, maturity and uses play an important role in terms of anxieties around digital technologies: the more mature users are, the less worried they are. As a result, 67 per cent of “Low users” do not feel safe enough using social media, while only 28 per cent of “Advanced users” feel the same way.
Africa: similar uses to other territories but heterogeneous acceleration.
While the proportion of digital users has increased worldwide since 2019, the data remains very heterogeneous. While 93 per cent of the population are digital users in the UK and 82 per cent in France, percentages are much lower in African countries: 41 per cent in Burkina Faso and 39 per cent in the Democratic Republic of Congo; even Morocco, the African country with the highest percentage of digital users, is only at 55 per cent.
The crisis was also an opportunity for 53 per cent of North African digital users to acquire or update equipment in the form of computers, tablets or phones.
The study shows that the pandemic did attract new users to certain practices, accelerating occasional users and providing opportunities for learning. That is the case in North Africa with digital health services such as booking an appointment with a healthcare professional, remote consultations or using a health app or website. More specifically, this increase in uses applies to 42 per cent of the 29 per cent of North Africans who had an online consultation during the crisis.
Finally, in the realm of smart cities, a similar increase in uses can also be observed for North Africans, particularly for visiting virtual cultural sites. While only 11 per cent of them increased this use or tried it for the first time during the crisis, 46 per cent say that they would be very interested in these services in future.
Béatrice Mandine, Executive Director of Communications, Brand and Engagement at Orange said: “Contrary to common preconceptions, over half of respondents, across all zones, are convinced that digital technologies can have a positive impact on the environment and lead to greater social cohesion. The more ‘mature’ users are, the stronger these beliefs tend to be in them. This feeds into two commitments made by Orange: continuing our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and our actions to develop skills so that everyone can make the most of digital technology.”