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Smartphones Drive France's Mobile Internet Habits

Six in 10 people were mobile internet users in early 2016

August 18, 2016 | Mobile

Smartphone ownership is rapidly becoming the norm in France, and fueling unprecedented rates of mobile internet usage, according to the country’s Mobile Marketing Association (MMA France). The 14th edition of the MMA’s “Baromètre du Marketing Mobile” provides one of the most comprehensive snapshots of how France’s mobile landscape is developing in 2016.

Smartphone User Penetration in France, Q3 2013-Q1 2016 (% of internet users)

Not surprisingly, sales of feature phones are gradually dropping, while smartphone sales are ramping up. In Q4 2015, for example, smartphones accounted for 87% of mobile phone sales volume, equivalent to more than 7 million devices. As a result, 71.1% of internet users ages 15 and older had a smartphone in Q1 2016. MMA estimates that for 2016 as a whole, total smartphone sales will approach 22 million handsets. Meanwhile, the number of 4G-compatible smartphones is climbing too, and has already passed 20 million.

Widespread smartphone ownership is crucial to mobile internet usage—though an installed base of 12.6 million tablets also encourages mobile access to the web. Some 62.0% of residents ages 11 and older used a mobile device to go online in Q1 2016, MMA reported. That brought the mobile internet population to 34.1 million—a gain of 3.0 million compared with Q1 2015.

Mobile Phone Internet Users and Penetration in France, Q4 2013-Q1 2016 (millions and % of population)

According to MMA, more than two-thirds (69.1%) of the country’s 34 million mobile internet users connect every day. A further 15.8% said they went online with their mobile device almost daily.

Crucially, the mobile internet audience is increasingly spread across all age groups. One-quarter of all “mobinautes”—the French term for mobile web users—were aged between 35 and 49 in early 2016, but 20.2% were ages 25 to 34, while seniors ages 65 and over accounted for 10.4% of the total.

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