Digital technology ownership and usage

Digital Market Barometer: publication of the 2019 edition

Today, Arcep, the Economic Council (CGE) and the French Digital Agency are publishing their annual survey on the adoption of digital tools and how their use has evolved.

Smartphones gaining ground… and restricting users’ freedom of choice

The 2019 edition of the Barometer examined how people in France are using their smartphones, which has become the number one device for accessing the internet – now well ahead (by 20 points) of computers. The use of person-to-person communication apps (e.g. WhatsApp, Viber, Messenger…) continues to rise, while the number of text messages sent continues the decline that began in 2016.

Mobile use is therefore on the rise, including in the home where 57% of French people use mobile networks to connect to the Web, in addition to their fixed access. The survey nevertheless reveals that 30% of users have trouble making calls and sending texts at home. Which is why the obligations set out in the New Deal for Mobile include the supply voice over Wi-Fi services, to improve mobile phone coverage indoors.

The Barometer confirms Arcep’s analysis and the proposals contained in its report: “Smartphones, voice assistants… Are devices the weak link in achieving an open internet?”

To follow through on its period of reflection and the publication of its report: “Smartphones, voice assistants… Are devices the weak link in achieving an open internet?”, Arcep also wanted to query French people on the freedom of choice afforded by their smartphone. Regarding mobile operating systems, 99% of those queried use one of the two dominant OS (Android or iOS). Three quarters of users said it was important to be able to port their data, which is vital when switching from one system to another, but currently difficult to perform.

In its report, Arcep concluded that the set of apps that typically come pre-installed on new smartphones constitutes a restriction imposed on users. The survey revealed that most users adopt the pre-installed browser: fewer than 20% of smartphone owners use a browser other than the pre-installed one, and two thirds have never even tested another browser. On the other hand, of those that do test other browsers, most (55%) switch to a different one.

The Barometer thus confirms Arcep’s analysis and its proposals for guaranteeing users’ freedom of choice when employing their devices.


Conducted by the CREDOC research centre devoted to the study and observation of living conditions, the survey polled a representative sample of 2,259 people, ages 12 and up, in face-to-face interviews.