Why 2012 was “The Year of the Internet” in France, and what the future holds.



Médiamétrie recently released the results of its annual internet study confirming that the French lifestyle is becoming increasingly digital. Based on their findings, they hailed 2012 the ‘Year of the Internet’, where there were more users than ever before accessing all types of content in a ‘multi-screen’ environment.

In France last year, more people than ever before equipped themselves with digital devices, mainly to spend more time online.  Three in four French households now have a computer in the home, translating to 41.2 internet users who spend an average of 40hr and 47mins online per month. In addition, the devices they use to access the internet are increasingly mobile, with 24% more accessing the internet via their mobile phones and 138% via tablets (principally iPads), confirming the big tablet sales jump in 2012.  In terms of content, sports and political news as well as video were particularly big draws last year.

Elections and Olympics drove a big jump in political and sports news

Given that 2012 was a big election year in France as well as across the pond in the States, there was a significant increase in the number of users accessing this type of news online.  The interest in political news peaked on May 7th, the day following the 2nd round of the French presidential election, when 10.2 million unique visitors turned to the internet to search for election result commentary and analysis.  Twitter also achieved a record for daily activity around the French election, this time on May 6th with 1.4 unique visitors.  This information was accessed from all types of devices with 2 out of 3 internet users and 1 out of 3 mobile internet users accessing political news in May.

Sports also played a big role last year in occupying people’s time online, with a notable peak during the Olympic games.  The biggest peak came on August 3rd, with the gold medal match for French Judo champ, Teddy Riner which attracted 5 million unique visitors that day alone.  His achievement proved to be a particularly popular draw for those connecting via mobile devices.

Youth still dominate online video viewing

Video also continued its ascendancy in France with a 17% jump in the number of online video viewers and 28% increase in the amount of time internet users watch videos.  December 2012 was a big month for this type of content with 33.7 million having watched videos online, which translated to an average of 91 videos and 5 hours viewed per person.  Not surprisingly, the biggest consumers are 15 – 24 year olds who watch a whopping 170 videos each per month, accounting for 87% of all online video viewers.

The study also pointed out some interesting trends in social media as well as eCommerce  which is becoming increasingly multi-screen, a trend that is sure to make social commerce entrepreneurs pretty happy.  So, make sure to check-out the results here.