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Print vs. Digital in France: What Wins When

For thorough info, web users say 'oui' to paper

France’s readers haven’t kicked print media to the curb yet—at least when they want to get all of the details. According to a May 2014 study from Syndicat de la Presse Sociale conducted by SEPREM, 59% of internet users in the country chose paper when they wanted to read information thoroughly, compared with just 16% who turned their eyes to the digital screen. On the flipside, when readers wanted to jump right to the points and answers they were looking for, the overwhelming majority went digital.

While it seems like digital devices would be better for saving information to access later when on the go, France’s internet users preferred hard copy sources for storing info. However, when it came to sharing information with friends and family, digital screens were far more popular, favored by 49% of respondents, compared with 18% who chose print.

It remains to be seen whether the adoption of digital devices—specifically, mobile ones—will push print readers in the opposite direction. eMarketer expects 30.5 million people in France to use a smartphone this year, which works out to about 61.4% of the country’s 49.7 million internet users and 46.0% of the population. In addition, we estimate that there will be 22.8 million tablet users in France in 2014, representing 46.0% of web users and 34.5% of all residents.

While eMarketer includes individuals of all ages who use a smartphone/tablet at least once a month in its estimates, Syndicat de la Presse Sociale/SEPREM looked at ownership among 18-to-65-year-old internet users only and found relatively similar results: 67% owned smartphones, and 35% had tablets.

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