Adoption of information and communication technologies in French society Findings for 2011

Paris, 14 December 2011

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 9th 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 2011 through face-to-face interviews with a sample of 2,241 people who are representative of the French population, 12 years of age and over.
Two main series of findings can be drawn from this survey.

Increase in the rate of fixed and mobile telephony, computer and internet access equipment levels. Growing number of devices and internet access locations, with mobility spurring a rise in consumption:

  • three out of four people in France have both a landline phone at home and a personal mobile phone (+4 points in one year); telephony equipment levels stand at 89% for fixed and 85% for mobile;

  • close to four out of five people in France have a computer at home – two-thirds of which are laptop computers – while three-quarters of all French households have internet access, and more and more are taking advantage of mobile access in the home thanks to Wi-Fi;

  • the mobile internet’s development is no longer in question: the number of people accessing the Web from a mobile handset increased by nine points during the year, with retrieving mail and downloading paid applications increasing by eight points – adopted by 24%, 19% and 17% of users, respectively;

  • mobile usage has increased among smartphone owners (17% of the population): 76% of them use their phones to browse the Web, which is three times more than mobile users as a whole, with similar gaps when it comes to accessing e-mail (66% for smartphone owners), downloading applications (62%) and watching mobile TV which is a practice that has been adopted by 28% of smartphone owners, compared to an average of only 8% of the mobile population as a whole.

Steady increase in the use of e-government services and popularity of online shopping. Most French people go online every day:

  • the success of online government services continues to grow: among the most popular uses, administrative and tax procedures are the ones posting among the highest rates of increase (+5 points in one year, or 48%);

  • if close to have of all French people shop online, 28% report also selling goods on the Web;

  • streaming videos (24%) and music (35%) have become more popular than downloading (respectively 15% and 21%);

  • most people go online every day: three-quarters of internet users in France log on every day and 41% say they would have trouble going without for more than three days.

The complete findings (in French) are available for download on the ARCEP website.          

APPENDIX: Excerpt of the survey results

Three out of four French people have both a landline and a mobile phone

The rate of equipment for both fixed and mobile telephony increased by two points during the year, after having stagnated in 2010. This means that close to nine out of 10 French people have a landline phone (89%) and 85% have a mobile phone.

Nearly six out of 10 French people (58%) use an “IP box” to make calls, compared to 7% in 2004. This increase in fixed network equipment naturally needs to be compared with the spread of voice over IP (VoIP) services, which had been adopted by 31 million people as of June 2011 (or two-thirds of all those with a landline account). Subscribing to internet access is generally (in 82% of cases) synonymous with the adoption of VoIP, and the main disparities in equipment levels between the different sections on the population are now due more to inequalities in internet equipment rates, rather than a reluctance to adopt VoIP. For instance, 74% of the youngest users employ an IP box to make their calls, compared to only 18% of users age 70 and up, with internet equipment levels for those two groups standing and 97% and 25%, respectively.

Three-quarters of the population was reporting dual equipment (fixed and mobile) in 2011, which marks a four-point increase over the year before.

According to the European Commission’s Eurobarometer survey of households, France has among the highest rate of dual equipment in the European Union (ranking 7th).
Dual equipment has spread to the entire population over the past several years. The number of people without a mobile phone (10% of the population) and those who have only a fixed line (15%), both decreased by two points. What these two groups have in common is the fact of belonging more often than average to low-income households. Nevertheless, while mobile-only users are more likely to be men and between the ages of 18 and 39, those who have only a landline at home are more likely to be in the upper age brackets (half are 70 years old and over) and those with the least education (48% are without a university degree).


Source: CREDOC, “Standard of living and aspirations of the French population” surveys.


Laptop computers, smartphones, tablets: increasing variety of screens

Close to four-fifths (78%) of people ages 12 and up now have a computer in their home
The rate of equipment is increasing steadily in all sections of the population, except among people living in households that earn less than €900 a month – for whom equipment levels have not changed since 2009 (hovering around 50%). The size of a household, and especially the number of children, has a direct correlation with the number of computers in the home: 31% of people ages 12 and up live in a home with several computers, and double that number when there are teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 in the home (60%, or 5 points more than last year). Laptops have been outselling desktop computers for the past two years, and two-thirds of equipped households now have at least one laptop computer.

Internet users have a great many devices and types of equipment available for accessing the Web, some of which are proving especially popular.

The success of smartphones is no longer in doubt. In June 2011, 17% of people in France had one. This figure nevertheless hides real disparities, especially in terms of age, education level and income. Executives, for instance, are twice as likely to have a smartphone as blue collar workers, even though overall mobile equipment levels in the two categories are roughly the same: 95% for executives and 93% for blue collar workers.
These inequalities are also found when looking at other types of innovative equipment. Tablets have already found their way into the hands of two million people in France, or 4% of the population. Most of these are senior management-level (11%), young adults (8% of 18 to 24-year olds) and the most educated (7%). Nine percent of people living in Paris and its surrounding area have a tablet.

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Source: CREDOC, “Standard of living and aspirations of the French population” surveys.

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Mobile connections being used more and more in the home

Three-quarters of French people how have internet access at home (+ 4 points in one year).

Broadband connections are increasingly ubiquitous, and supplied chiefly over ADSL (92% of all connections). Although a computer connected to the fixed internet remains the most common way of accessing the Web at home, employed by 55% of users, mobile access is becoming increasingly popular, primarily via Wi-Fi. More and more people are accessing the Web over a wireless connection, both on their computer (42%) and their mobile phone or tablet (13%). Fourteen percent of the population use a mobile network to access the internet when at home, employing both smartphones and tablets, while only 4% use a mobile network to access the Web on their computer. Ultimately, half of all those who access the internet at home use several types of connection.

The different means of accessing the internet at home
Field: Users age 12 and up – in %

ViewViewSource: CREDOC, “Standard of living and aspirations of the French population” surveys.


Internet users increasing their access methods and locations

Factoring in all forms of access (at home, at work, mobile, etc.), France is home to 41 million internet users (76% of people ages 12 and up).
All types of connection are on the rise, with mobile access logging the highest rate of increase: rising by nine points over the previous year, now accounting for 21% of users. Thirty one percent of internet users have adopted some form of mobile or roaming access, i.e. over a mobile phone, using a Wi-Fi hotspot in a public location or in an internet café. These forms of connection are used in conjunction with access at home, which remains the most popular location for accessing the Web – used by 71% of people. Indeed, far from replacing one form of access with another, internet users are tending to increase the number of access channels. In 2011, a quarter of internet users employed at least three means of connection – which is seven points more than in 2010 which was a year of very slight increase. In most instances (58%), users employ two or more means of access.

Percentage of people who connect to the internet, by means of connection
Field: Users age 12 and up

Source: CREDOC, “Standard of living and aspirations of the French population” surveys.

The internet is playing an increasingly large role of French people’s daily lives. Three-quarters of internet subscribers, or 30 million people in France, go online every day. Around 15% report weekly use, 6% go online more seldom than that and 5% never use their connection. Forty one percent of internet users say they find it hard to go without for more than three days. E-mail is cited by 53% of internet users as being the thing they would miss the most, ahead of news (12%) and social networking (13%).

Development of the mobile internet being spurred by smartphones

Voice calls, texting, internet access… mobile handsets are providing users with more and more ways to communicate. While becoming more diverse, usage is also increasing in volume, especially when it comes to texting. Although the number of mobile phone users who send SMS did not increase in 2011 (staying at 71%), the average number of texts they report sending every week continues to rise steadily. After having doubled between 2009 and 2010 (57 messages a week), this number rose to 75 texts a week in June 2011. The number of text messages sent by the youngest users, all of whom use this form of communication, now stands at 249 a week! Not only do teenagers text more often than older users but, as it has been in previous years, they are also the group reporting the highest rate of increase.

Young adults are the most avid users of the mobile internet

Forty six percent of 18 to 24-year-olds use their mobile phone to surf the Web, compared to an average rate among mobile owners of 25% (or 11 million people). But overall use of the mobile internet did increase significantly during the year: by 9 points compared to 2010.

The number of people who use their mobiles to access their mail or download paid applications rose by 8 points during the years: having been adopted by 19% and 17% of users, respectively, or by just over eight million mobile phone owners in all. Watching TV on a mobile handset is a much less common occurrence, although mobile viewers did double in number during the year to 8% of mobile phone users, or four million people. Smartphone owners are by far the heaviest users: compared to the mobile population as whole, three times as many smartphone owners use their handsets to surf the Web (76%), to access their mail (66%), download applications (62%) and watch TV (28%).


Source: CREDOC, “Standard of living and aspirations of the French population” surveys.

Most common uses of the Web: e-government and online shopping still top the bill

More and more internet users are accessing online government and tax services each year. Close to half of all French people used e-government services in 2011, marking one of the highest rates of increase for any application (48%, +5 points). Searching for administrative information online is still one of the most common uses of the Web (performed by more than half of all people), ahead of requesting documents (certificates of marital status, criminal record, vehicle status, etc.) which a third of people report using. And thirty one percent of people filed their income tax returns online in 2011, which marks a 3-point increase over the previous year.
The internet attracted 26 million shoppers in 2011, or close to half of all French people ages 12 and up.

E-commerce continues to grow at a healthy pace, with the percentage of users who shop online having increased by a further 4 points this past year. A substantial number of people (28%) also chose to join the other end of the transaction by selling products on specialised sites. One out of two buyers is also a seller (or 24% of people). Most are between the ages of 18 and 39, have a university degree, are in the upper income brackets and, like half of senior-level managers, they sell goods online.

The internet consolidates its position amongst cultural media: downloading, streaming and IPTV

The rate of adoption for downloading music (21%) and films (15%) has not increased over the past three years or so, whereas streaming – i.e. watching/listening to a media file in a continuous stream without storing it on a hard drive – is becoming increasingly popular.

A quarter of the individuals polled say that they have watched films, and 35% have listened to music via streaming. Adopted by the same sections of the population (teenagers and young adults), 40% of people ages 12 and up stream music over the Web and 29% regularly stream videos.

Watching TV programmes on a computer connected to the Web is now more common than downloading films, with 18% of French people reporting having done so over the past 12 months. Here again, it is young people, along with those with the most education and senior-level managers who are the heaviest users, reporting higher rates of adoption than the other groups.

Percentage of people who report having downloaded or streamed media files

Source: CREDOC, “Standard of living and aspirations of the French population” surveys.

New forms of broadcasting taking hold
The diversification of ways to access TV programming at home is confirmed as new forms of television broadcasting/distribution (DTT and ADSL) are taking off

Analogue terrestrial broadcasting continues its decline (and has been fully switched off by now), while more veteran broadcasting modes, namely satellite and cable, continue to hold their own. The percentage of people with several means of accessing digital TV programming rose by nine points during the year, to reach 34% of the population. This proportion is at its highest in the greater Paris area where its stands at 50%. Rates of access also vary depending on age (42% for 12 to 17-year-olds, compared to 18% among people over the age of 70) and household income (24% for people living in a household with a monthly income of less than €900, compared to 40% among those in the higher income brackets). According to estimates available at the end of November, the rate of access to digital terrestrial TV (DTT) is not likely to exceed 65%, even though the analogue broadcasting signal has been switched off. This means that over the course of five years – from 2006 to 2011 – the percentage of terrestrial network viewers, both analogue and digital, has shrunk by more than 10 points, while the rate of access for other fixed networks, i.e. cable and ADSL, has shot up by more than 20 points.

NB: Totals may exceed 100% in certain cases as users have access to more than one mode.
Source: CREDOC, “Standard of living and aspirations of the French population” surveys.


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 2011 on a sample of 2,241 people who are representative of the French population, ages 12 and over.
This survey describes the equipment individuals have and the use they make of it.
Equipment rates therefore refer to the proportion of individuals who have access to that equipment in their home, and not to the proportion of households that are equipped, as is the case in many other surveys.

For instance, according to this survey, 75% of the population ages 12 and up (or around 40 million people) had access to an internet connection in the home as of June 2011. Other surveys, whose field is households, offer different findings: 70.6% of the 27 million households in Q2 2011, according to the “Référence des Equipements Multimédia Médiamétrie-GFK” survey.

The characteristics in terms of gender, age, education, occupation and place of residence is that of the people surveyed, while income levels refer to the total income of the household to which the person belongs.

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Linked documents

Smiley The complete survey (in French only - - pdf) Smiley

Smiley The press kit (pdf - 542 Ko) (in French only - - pdf) Smiley