Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Smartphones Drive Social Network Usage in France


As you may recall, I've reported in the past about the amazing broadband internet service offering competition in France, which has helped to drive down subscriber costs and increase the adoption of enhanced information and communication technology (ICT) applications.

That being said, eMarketer reported that France has trailed the rest of the EU-5 (Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) in microblog usage during 2012, but growth recently accelerated as French politicians sought out voters on social media during a very close presidential election.

The presidential race is over, but eMarketer estimates that the popularity of social networking -- especially via mobile devices, such as smartphones -- will continue to increase throughout the country.

eMarketer expects social networks to attract 21.9 million users in France in 2012, increasing to 23.6 million in 2013. While the total number of social network users in the country is impressive, the number of social network users accessing via mobile phones is even more noteworthy.

According to their market assessment, this year the number of mobile social users will grow 53.8 percent to 7.5 million and next year account for nearly half (11.3 million) of total social network users.

"Several factors are contributing to the boom in mobile social networking in France," said Karin von Abrams, senior analyst at eMarketer. "One is the rising penetration of smartphones."

eMarketer estimates that one-third of all mobile phone users in France will have a smartphone in 2012. In addition, major social networks such as Facebook have made a big effort to optimize their sites for mobile access.

Also, smartphone ownership is highest among the demographic segments most involved in social networking, such as college students and young professionals ages 25 to 44.

By 2014, nearly a quarter of the population of France will access a social network via a mobile phone. eMarketer estimates that by that year, in the EU-5, only the UK will surpass France in the percentage of the population accessing social networks on mobile.

While internet users in France are comparatively unenthusiastic about social networking on their PCs, the convenience of mobile access is driving strong numbers to social sites.