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France's Commuters Turn to Digital Devices

Many mobile users would respond to out-of-home advertising

January 18, 2016

Passengers on France's public transport networks increasingly pass the time with mobile devices rather than print newspapers and books, according to a report from Fondation Dauphine. The “Baromètre de l'Économie Numérique: Quatorzième édition – 4ème trimestre 2015” is based on an October 2015 survey of over 2,000 internet users by Médiamétrie, in partnership with MédiaTransports—a firm specializing in advertising and marketing in transport environments.

Overall, the most common activity conducted at least three times per week among passengers on public transport was using their mobile phone or smartphone, mentioned by 51.7%. Simply looking out the window was the second most popular pastime conducted at the same frequency by 41.4% of travelers. By comparison, 34.3% read a paper newspaper, and similar numbers read printed books. Younger people ages 15 to 34 were most likely to reach for their phones while traveling, with 56.5% doing so. Fewer than 10% of all respondents said they used a portable PC or a tablet on public transport.

Communication was a top priority for most people on the go. Nearly 82% of mobile phone users in transit spent time messaging with SMS and/or MMS. Email and social networking were broadly popular too. But many passengers also listened to music either online or offline via their mobile device, or played games.

One reason marketers are keen to follow consumers' digital activities on the move is the clear potential to spark interaction with out-of-home (OOH) advertising among portable and mobile device users.

Many web users seem open to these interactions too. In total, 11.4% of respondents in this study said they were very interested in responding to OOH advertising, and a further 29.4% said they were somewhat interested. Males were more eager than females, and younger people (ages 15 to 34) more attracted than their elders. Nearly 45% of respondents 50 and older weren't at all interested in the prospect, the report revealed.

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