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You are here: HomeInternetPress releases › 2016 : A Year in the Internet - Mobile, an enriched experience
2016 : A Year in the Internet - Mobile, an enriched experience


In 2016, 45.7 million of French people 15 years or older used the Internet. That's 87.7% of the French population!  Internet usage has grown rapidly over the last decade, driven in part by the multiplication of mobile screens, which accentuates the ways to access the Internet. It is hardly a surprise to observe that 18.9 million French people use the web on two or three different screens every day (70% on computers and mobile phones).

In terms of Internet usage, 2016 is marked above all by the progression of mobile uses which is transforming French daily habits. More specifically, digital is impacting large sections of the media industry, starting with content which is tending to migrate from traditional channels to Internet screens (PC, smartphone, tablet) and is amplified by social networks which have become a valued source of audience for brands.

2016, the everyday power of the smartphone

In 2016, the smartphone was the most popular Internet access device. On weekdays, people used their phone more often than a computer to see content, at any time of day. The numbers of French people surfing daily via a smartphone, a PC or a tablet are respectively 24.3, 23.8 and 12.5 million. This phenomenon is most noticeable amongst the young: close to two thirds of 15-to-34 year olds surf using their smartphone, but barely one third use a computer.

Another remarkable fact is the proportion of video in Internet traffic: French web users spend an average of 20 minutes a day (20% of their total surfing time) watching videos. And this figure is even higher in the 15-to-24 age group: 32 minutes a day, or one third of their surfing time. Here again, smartphone usage is preponderant with two thirds of 15-to-24 year olds viewing videos on their phone.

Digital impact on media content 

For media content publishers, the Internet offers a powerful means of leveraging their audience, and we observe that news media are expanding fastest on the web. In 2016, 59% of surfing time involved the use of media*. Most French press companies reached more people with their digital offers than with printed paper.

The lifetime of TV and radio content is increasing thanks to Internet screens: in November, 31 million Internet users visited TV channel websites or applications, and 17 million used radio sites or apps. On the Internet, video content is available on demand for all devices: 55% of SVOD subscribers use an Internet access device to view content from their platform, although we observe a persistently high level of media content piracy which is still practiced by 13 million or 27% of Internet users.

The amazing power of social networks

In 2016, 41.7 million Internet users (that's 4/5 or 80.1 % of French people) used at least one social network every month;  26.5 million connected every day. This widespread adoption plays a preponderant role in content circulation: more and more Internet users are sharing articles and videos with their online entourage: to keep up-to-date, 84% read articles and 49% watch videos shared by friends.

We note large disparities between generations in the choice of social network. The ones centred on pictures and who propose new forms of writing find immense popularity among the young, whereas the more generalist ones appeal more to the higher SPGs and the over-50s.

The smartphone, the augmented everyday life

Looking beyond the media, digital is omnipresent in the lives of French people, mainly thanks to the smartphone which accompanies them everywhere, all the time. The Internet changes, for example, the ways in which people travel, entertain themselves, practice sports or even get together.

As a complement to texting and voice calls, 10.2 million French people use instant messaging daily, 5.5 million of them via their cell phone. The Internet also transforms buying habits: about 37 million people in France have already bought a product online. In parallel, points of sales are going digital: 53% of mobile web users have already used their smartphone in a store, for example to check the price of a product, read consumer reviews or take a photo.

Internet is radically changing traditional sectors of the economy as well. A third of the French population is registered on peer-to-peer "collaborative economy" sites and apps, which offer ways of finding accommodation, getting around, financing personal projects, and much more. Financial services such as banks and insurance (including healthcare) are now more dematerialized with respectively 34.5 and 16.3 million unique visitors to such websites every month.

Finally, the smartphone transforms the way people play, thanks to games combining reality and the virtual world, such as Pokémon Go which boasted as many as 4.8 million dressers in August. The smartphone now even challenges video game consoles, with an estimated 9.5 million mobile players in November, which is more than on any other console. 

To be followed in 2017

Médiamétrie monitors usage evolutions in its Internet audience measurements. Since 2016, Médiamétrie measures all cellular surfing handled by all telecom operators, and for all connection types and protocols. Further enhancements are planned for 2017, notably the measuring of deportalized content - AMP and Instant Articles - and progressive establishment of a single multi-device panel for measuring global Internet usage.


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