Paris, 10 December 2010
The French Postal and electronic communications regulatory Authority (ARCEP) and the Committee for industry, energy and technologies, CGIET (Conseil général de l'industrie, de l'énergie et des technologies) have released the findings of the 8th annual survey on the use of information and communication technologies (fixed and mobile calling, internet and microcomputers) in France.
This survey was conducted in June 2010 through face-to-face interviews with a sample of 2,230 people who are representative of the French population, 12 years of age and over.
Equipment: individual fixed and mobile telephone access levels have reached a plateau; rise in the number of people with a computer and internet access.
- telephony equipment levels stand at 87% for fixed and 83% for mobile;
- growing prevalence of dual fixed and mobile equipment: 70% of the population has both a landline phone at home and a personal mobile phone;
- three-quarters of people in France have a computer at home (+2 points in a year), seven out of 10 have internet access in the home and over half (54%) now make calls through their IP box.
Users' perception of bandwidth is also evolving. Close to half consider their connection to be too slow, compared to only around a third in 2008. This increase is a good indication of the growing interest in faster connections.
Mobile phone usage: texting explodes and the mobile internet is making strides:
- the number of SMS being sent doubled in one year, with a particularly steep rise amongst young users;
- 15% of mobile phone owners use the mobile internet. 11% of people use e-mail on their phone and 9% use their phone to download applications, enabled by the massive adoption of the latest models of handset;
- close to half of all mobile phone users (46%) report having been victims of fraudulent practices.
Fixed internet usage: growing use of e-government and e-commerce services. New applications hugely popular with the youngest users:
- 23 million people used e-government and online tax services in 2010, a figure that has doubled in five years;
- e-commerce continues to be one of the most popular online activities, adopted by 44% of users (+3 points in a year);
- downloading has been overtaken by streaming;
- social networking is enjoying massive success (involving 36% of the online population, up 13 points on the year before), but is eliciting increasing demand for protection of the private data posted to the sites.
Appendix: Excerpt of the survey results
Telephony equipment levels high and levelling off
After a strong increase in 2009 in the number of people with fixed and mobile telephone access (+3 points and +4 points, respectively), equipment levels are holding steady. Dual fixed and mobile access is very common, applying to 70% of the population in 2010 - which puts France among the highest ranking European Union countries: in 5th place according to the European Commission Eurobarometer household survey. Dual equipment no longer concerns primarily people in high-income households and those with three or more people, but is now prevalent across the entire population. Among those who have only a mobile phone (12% of the population), men, blue-collar workers, people between the ages of 18 and 34 and people who live in households with a monthly income of less than €1,500 are over-represented. On the flipside, 17% of people have only a landline phone at home. On average, most are in low-income households, in the older age groups (six out of ten are over the age of 60) and more than half live in cities with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants.
Ongoing high growth for broadband telephony: adopted by half of the French population
The popularity of voice over broadband solutions has not flagged over the years, thanks to the swift adoption of bundled services, although there has been a slight drop in growth rates compared to previous years: +6 points, compared to +10 points previously. More than half of all French people (54%) now make phone calls using their IP boxes, a percentage that climbs to 72% amongst the youngest users and drops to 18% amongst people aged 70 and over. People living in the lowest income households are those who benefit the least from the low calling rates offered by IP telephony services. Only 32% of those who live in a household with a monthly income of less than €900 have a voice over broadband service, compared to 74% of people in higher income brackets.
More households equipped with several computers, especially amongst the younger generations
Computer equipment levels rose by two points between June 2009 and June 2010, and three-quarters of people in France aged 12 and up now have access to a computer in their home. It also increasingly common for there to be more than one computer in the home, especially in households where there are children: a quarter of people aged 12 and up live in a household with more than one computer, and this is true for 55% of teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17, which marks a 12-point increase since the year before. In more than half of households with several computers, or 58% to be exact, at least one of the computers is a laptop.
Virtually all computers are hooked up to the internet over a broadband connection
Over the past three years, internet access has gradually become synonymous with broadband access. In other words, narrowband access has all but disappeared and now accounts for only 1% of connections. Seven out of 10 people in France now have internet access at home, which puts it in 6th place among EU countries, according to the European Commission Eurobarometer survey. ADSL remains by far the main access network, supplying 92% of all connections, and no other technology is managing to make serious inroads.
Three out of four people (74%) state that they have access to the internet in one form or another (at home, at work or when on the move), or a total 40 million people in France, which is 3 million more than the year before. Access in the home remains the principal means of connecting to the Web, and the one that has increased the most (+6 points). Meanwhile, mobile access, which has been slow in getting off the ground, is now being used by 12% of the population (+2 points).
Age is a determining factor in the rate of internet use. All French teenagers (99%) use the internet, as do a very large percentage (93%) of people under the age of 39. On the other end of the spectrum, only half of people between the ages of 60 and 69, and one out of five people over the age of 70 connect to the Web. These disparities are, however, gradually diminishing: over the past two years, the rate of internet use amongst these two age groups has risen by +20 points and +8 points, respectively.
The internet is also playing an increasingly prominent role in people's daily lives: three quarters of people who have an internet connection in the home access the Web every day, 16% go online on a weekly basis and only 5% never use their connection. And, finally, just over half of the total population of France (53%) goes online every day.
Users finding their connections too slow
Internet users are increasingly concerned about their bandwidth. Forty-four percent state that their fixed internet connection is not fast enough, which marks an 8-point increase in the past two years. In rural areas, more than half of all users are dissatisfied with their connection. These figures are higher still when asked about their mobile connection, with one in two people saying it is too slow. This appetite for more bandwidth could help spur the rollout of optical fibre and new wireless access technologies.
Young users driving a massive rise in texting
Although mobile phones are still used mainly for voice calls, three quarters of mobile phone owners also send text messages, a proportion that climbs to 100% amongst young users. The use of SMS has risen dramatically over the past three years: the average number of text messages that users send per week has virtually doubled since June 2009, going from 30 to 57. Youngsters are the heaviest users of texting and the ones who have increased their use the most.
Teenagers estimate that they send some 182 SMS a week. This is also the age group that is leading the way in adopting the mobile internet, which is being used by 15% of mobile phone owners in France in 2010. Four million users, or 9% of the total base, use their mobile to download applications - which has been made possible by the growing ubiquity of the latest handset models. Mobile TV, on the other hand, is still struggling to find an audience.
Close to one in two mobile phone owners have encountered fraudulent practices
The success of cellular telephony has unfortunately gone hand in hand with a significant rise in dishonest practices. Among these practices, asking users to call a surcharged number starting with 0899 has become increasingly common. Thirty-five percent of people with a cellphone report that they have received an SMS asking them to call a surcharged number, and 33% state that they have received a call that stops after one or two rings coming from a number starting with 0899. Lastly, 8% say that they have been victims of other forms of fraud on their mobile. In all, 46% of mobile phone owners encountered at least one fraudulent practice between June 2009 and June 2010.
e-government services and online shopping still increasingly popular
The number of people who used e-government and online tax services has virtually doubled over the past five years, rising from 12 million people in 2005 to 23 million in 2010. The most common use is searching for administrative information, involving half of those who accessed a government service online. A third of respondents say they have used the Web to request documents (civil status certificate, police clearance certificate, no lien affidavit for a vehicle, etc.) and 28% filed their tax return online between June 2009 and June 2010.
E-commerce is becoming one of the most common online activities, with 44% of the base saying they shop online (+3 points in a year). As with the use of e-government sites, online shopping is more common among people who have been using the internet for more than five years than among more recent adopters.
Explosion of social networking driving a need to protect private data
The success of social networking has been phenomenal: in June 2010, more than a quarter of the French population (over the age of 12) say they have already used a social networking site, which marks a 13-point increase over June 2009, or 7 million new users in a year. It is not surprising that the younger generations are the heaviest users, with close to four-fifths of those between the ages of 12 and 24 belonging to at least one of these social networks.
The ease with which a large number of people share personal information on these sites contrasts sharply with the demand and widely-held belief that this information must be better protected. In fact 91% of those polled believe that websites should allow everyone to simply delete the personal information they gave at any point in time, and 94% of the population agree that public authorities need to encourage websites to strengthen their privacy protection measures.
Proportion of people who have used a social networking site over the past 12 months
Downloading has been overtaken by streaming
For the second year in a row, music downloads are down slightly - 20% of people download music today, compared to 22% last year - whereas the number who download films has not changed since 2007, stagnating at 14%. Streaming, in other words receiving content in a continuous stream as opposed to storing it on a hard drive, has become more popular than downloading, with 30% of people saying they listen to music in streaming, and 20% watch films this way.
The ability to watch TV programmes on a computer screen connected to the Web is gaining in popularity. In June 2010, 15% of the population, or 8 million people, say they were watching television on their computer - a percentage which has tripled since 2006, thanks in part to a growing selection of offers.
Executives and teenagers spend more time online than in front of the television
Taken as a whole, people still spend a great deal more time every week watching television than they do on the Web, but the gap is shrinking among those with an internet connection at home. People who have access to the internet in the home say that they spend almost as much time online as they do in front of the TV: 15 hours a week online compared to 17 hours a week watching television. Executives and teenagers, however, spend more time on the internet than they do in front of the set, which is diametrically opposed to the habits of people over the age of 70, who are far less likely to have an internet connection and spend only an hour a week online, compared to 24 hours a week spent watching TV.
Number of hours that those queried say they spend watching TV and surfing the Web each week
New ways of watching television complementing rather than replacing one another
Users have access to more and more ways to watch TV at home. We are seeing a rise in the number of people with access to digital terrestrial television (DTT), either through a set-top box or a compatible TV: 40% of people in France now have DTT access, compared to only 10% four years ago. TV over ADSL is also making inroads, being used by 31% of people, compared to 7% in 2006.
There is also a greater variety of ways to access television inside the home: in June 2010, people who had only one way to access television at home were in the minority (33%) whereas, four years ago, this was the case for two-thirds of the population.
These "classic" ways of accessing television programming are also being joined by catch-up TV services on the fixed Web, which 15% of people were using in 2010, and on a mobile device, which around 3% of people ages 12 and up have adopted.
It is also worth mentioning that, as of June 2010, 15% of the population - or 8 million people - had only a terrestrial antenna with no DTT set-top box.
The survey conducted by CREDOC on behalf of ARCEP and the Committee for industry, energy and technologies (CGIET), was carried out in the month of June 2010 on a sample of 2,230 people who are representative of the French population, ages 12 and over.
The complete findings (in French) (pdf - 1.78 Mo) are available for download