As the European Digital Landscape heats up, ComScore says France will remain a major market to consider

Mar 15, 2013
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Comscore just released their France Digital Future in Focus report, in which they outline (in French) the state of the digital landscape, what’s rising, what’s falling, and where you should be. The report, which currently has a corresponding UK and US edition, shares some pretty interesting facts about the European digital & mobile landscape, ass well as a few key evolutions in the French mobile landscape. A quick review of the European landscape in relation to the Asian and North American landscape puts into perspective how important Europe is becoming as a market:

  • 27% of global Internet Traffic comes from Europe, as compared to 42% in Asia and just 14% in the US
  • Europeans spend just 27 hours per month online, as compared to 43 in the US and 18 in Asia; however, Europe saw a 7% growth in overal internet users (408 Million in 2012), where as US growth has slowed to 2%
  • Russia, Germany, France, the UK, and Italy are the top 5 countries in terms of Internet users (seen in the graph to the right), underscoring the overall fragmentation of the European market (that’s 5 different languages with 5 very different user habits).

One interesting fact that I noticed was that, while 50% of Europe’s online traffic (in terms of hours passed on the internet) is coming from individuals under 35, in France the proportion is quite skewed at just 35% of the total traffic time coming from the <35 age group.

With 241 Million Mobile users in the UK, Germany, France, Italy & Spain – 57% of which are using smartphones on average across the countries – it is clear that mobile in Europe has taken effect.

France’s Digital Landscape

Gender_Age_demographicFrance’s digital landscape has become quite attractive in 2012. Here are some of the key conclusions that came out of the report:

  • With 48 million Internet users, e-Commerce is clearly on the rise, with 8 out of 10 people in France buying online, and 1 out of 10 buying via their mobile phone
  • While video watching has stagnated in France, mobile consumption rose 110%, with YouTube still receiving more traffic than French local incumbent Dailymotion

France’s Mobile landscape – Lots of Potential, but not quite there

mobile landscapeFrance fell short in 2012 when it came to overall mobile traffic – while the UK is already seeing 30+% of its traffic coming from tablet & mobile, France is seeing less than 10% of overall traffic, as is Germany, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Poland and Turkey. Mobile traffic in France, on smartphone and feature phones, is still dominated by the 55+ age group, which represents 21% of the smartphone market. The 25-34 market also makes up for 21% of the smartphone market.

Despite the fact that France has just 53% smartphone penetration in the mobile market, 71% of phones bought in December 2012 were smartphones, so it is only a matter of time before that number rises up to the European average. France also saw a 94% rise in tablet use, with a total of over 4 million smartphone users also owning a Tablet as of December 2012.

Like most countries, France’s web traffic is dominated by major US players – Google, Micrsoft, Facebook & Yahoo!’s properties were among the top five most visited sites, with Orange’s properties slipping in at #4. Search is dominated in France by Google, who manages 94% of the nearly 135 search requests made per month per person in France.

Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin all outrank Viadeo, France’s business social network, in terms of traffic in 2012, suggesting that, more & more, France is opening up to becoming a global player.

Conclusions – France is still a major player in the European landscape

The report gives a lot of figures not mentioned here – they go into depth about France’s abnormally large 55+ age group and their activities on the internet. They mention a bit the breakdown by gender; however, it was never more than ± 5% from being equal, so I didn’t think it noteworthy to mention.

I would conclude that, by numbers, penetration, and time spent on the internet, France continues to be a major market for tech companies looking to internationalize. As France opens up to outside players more & more (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), that audience is becoming easier to access. Smartphone adoption is lagging a little bit; however, that may be due more to the fact that the 55+ age group is more active on mobile than in other regions, which is bringing the penetration down, as they continue to use feature phones (mostly Nokia, as the report discusses).

Unfortunately, the report is only available in French – a mistake by ComScore, I think – however, you can find the key European facts in the UK version, and if you have any questions about the figures above, post below and I’ll clarify via the report.