Digital barometer: 10 key figures in 2021


Find the key figures on the use of digital technology in France: smartphone use, online shopping, time spent in front of screens, etc.

The global pandemic has shaken up digital uses. © Arcep

Arcep has just published the 2021 edition of “Digital barometer”, presenting the results of the survey conducted by CRÉDOC among 4,029 people aged 12 and over, and living in mainland France. The 350-page report provides a portrait of the diffusion of information and communication technologies in France.

1. 84% of French people own a smartphone

In France, the share of the population owning a smartphone increased significantly in 2020, with a 7-point difference compared to the previous year. Similarly, 79% of French people have both a smartphone and a landline (+ 3 points compared to 2019).

On the usage side, 35% of those under 25 had their phone before 12 years old. At the same time, 44% of 12-17 year olds had their first phone before the age of 12. It is therefore possible to note that access to the smartphone is increasingly early.

Regarding the environment, smartphones represent 11% of the global digital footprint in 2019. And for good reason, 84% of users have a smartphone less than 3 years old and the second hand only represents 17% of smartphones on the market. . In addition, half of unused smartphones are kept at home. An important figure which can be explained by a certain disinformation: 16% of respondents do not know what to do with their old smartphones and 9% keep it for fear of disseminating their personal data.

2. 2 out of 3 French people have downloaded at least one application on their smartphone

Among the factors that influence the choice of applications:

  • Recommendations made by relatives (in 68% of cases),
  • The opinions of other users (in 51% of cases),
  • SEO applications (in 45% of cases),
  • Advertising by the app store (23% of cases).

The opinions of relatives and users are a safe bet for downloading applications. © CRÉDOC

3. + 17 points, it is the increase in the use of the tablet

With the particular context of the year 2020, all digital equipment has experienced an increase in use, regardless of the frequency of use.

Thus, the computer is used for 88% of respondents (+12 points), the tablet is now adopted by 58% of individuals and connected speakers are used by 24% of respondents (+13 points).

All media have seen an increase in their use. © Arcep, CGE, Digital Society

4. 9 out of 10 French people are on the Internet

With an increase of 4 points compared to 2019, 92% of people who live in France are internet users. This increase is mainly due to the adoption of digital technology by older populations, since 93% of 60-69 year olds now have access to the web (+ 12 points) and 71% of over 70s (+ 13 points).

For the first time, the computer passes in front of the smartphone as the most used device to connect to the Internet (43% against 41% for the smartphone).

5.4 out of 10 people see no barrier to internet use

The Internet has been adopted by a very large part of the population. Among Internet users, more than 39% of them see no barrier to the Internet.

Among the main brakes mentioned, we find:

  • The lack of protection of personal data (for 26% of respondents), with a drop of 14 points compared to 2018, the lowest rate since 2010,
  • The quality of the service (10%, + 5 points),
  • The complexity of using the Internet (6%, – 3 points),
  • Costs related to Internet use (6%).

6. 7 pm: the average time spent each week in front of screens

The study carried out by CRÉDOC shows that the various confinements have encouraged the French to spend more time in front of the screens. On average, respondents spent 19 hours watching television each week, as well as 19 hours on the Internet. At the same time, 6 hours of online videos were consumed each week.

Consumption varies according to age. © Arcep, CGE, Digital Society

7. 76% of respondents have bought on the Internet in the past 12 months

Among the 76% who have bought on the Internet, half of those polled use online commerce once a month (+13 points in two years) and 11% once or twice a week.

Online sales are also becoming a common practice since in 2020, 44% of French people sold goods or services on the Internet.

8. 3 out of 4 people used the Internet to maintain social ties during the pandemic

During the health crisis, the Internet made it possible to maintain links and continue to carry out an activity. Some of the main reasons for using the Internet during the pandemic:

  • Exchange with relatives thanks to online tools, for 75%,
  • Seek information on the Covid and the rules to follow, for 62%,
  • Telework, for 33%,
  • Monitor children’s education with distance learning courses, for 30%,
  • Perform a medical consultation, for 26%.

9. More than one in two people read the press digitally

Among those polled, 76% on average indicated that they read newspapers and magazines.

Adolescents read the least newspaper articles. © CREDOC

Regarding formats, 81% of people read paid newspapers in print, while half of readers read free articles when they use digital media.

On the book side, 17% of respondents read books on digital screens, twice as many as in 2018.

10. 89% of French people have an email address

The use of the email address has been adopted by a large majority of the population. On the other hand, if 9 out of 10 French people have a personal email address, this figure drops to 8 for 12-17 year olds and to 7 for over 70s.

As for the working world, 39% of respondents have a professional or student address, and 53% of the population has both a personal and professional email address. Moreover, it is a very divisive use, since only 11% of non-graduates have a professional address, against 67% of graduate employees.

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