Our guide to the French mobile market is Benoît Corbin, president of Ocito, a French mobile agency founded in 2002, and president of Mobile Marketing Association France (MMAF).
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Q1. How mobile is the French population?
There are 62 million mobile subscriptions in France (September 2010), which means mobile penetration is around 97 percent, according to the French telecom regulator ARCEP, which is in line with the European average.
Q2. What are the characteristics of the France mobile market?
• There are currently only three Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in France: Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom. According to SIA) the market shares in 2008 were: 46 percent, 36 percent; and 18 percent, respectively. A fourth MNO, Free Mobile, is expected to go live in 2012.
• 72 percent of mobile subscribers are on post-paid contracts (ARCEP).
• Samsung is the market leader in terms of handset volume, by a substantial margin, with 42 percent market share at the end of 2010.
• Market penetration of Apple’s iPhone is higher in France than most countries at about 6 percent at the end of 2010. There are several reasons for this: the iPhone was first sold exclusively by Orange the market leader, but Orange lost its exclusivity, through a court case, much earlier than exclusive deals were lost in other countries; plus Apple has always been a popular brand in France.
Q3. What distinguishes mobile in France from other leading mobile markets?
At the end of 2010, mobile marketing in France was notable for the following:
• The relatively high iPhone penetration has led to considerable demand from advertisers for mobile apps.
• Mediametrie has been providing log-based audience measurement in France since November 2010.
• The mobile ecosystem is well developed, with a high level of innovation.
• MNOs and mobile marketing providers have played an active role in combating mobile spam.
Q4. How do French consumers use their mobile devices?
• Multimedia services were used by 24.8 million people or 40 percent of subscribers. Multimedia services includes mobile Web, i-mode, MMS and email, but does not include SMS (ARCEP’s Quarterly observatory – Q2).
• 3G services such as video calling, mobile TV or data transfer were used by 19.4 million or 31 percent of subscribers (ARCEP).
• French people sent 24 billion SMS messages in Q2, that’s an average of 130 text messages each month (ARCEP).
• As of December 2010, France has 15.5 million mobile web users, out of 43.4 million mobile telephone owners. In the space of a year, 3.3 million more French people began accessing new media services and content on their telephones (Mediametrie, January 2011).
• Mobile web users are primarily men (60 percent) and are largely between the ages of 16 and 49. The percentage of mobile web users, who are logging on with increasing frequency to mobile sites, portals and applications, is growing (Mediametrie, January 2011).
• 20 percent of French people expect to access the mobile Web more than once a week in 2011 (slightly less than in UK or Germany), with the most popular mobile sites being news, weather, social networking and mobile search, according to respondents to a survey by MMA/Lightspeed Research (September 2010). It also found that 56 percent said they were very unlikely to use mobile sites that charged them a fee. 25 percent of respondents were prepared to receive alerts from websites of interest.
• Opt-in SMS advertising is the most likely sort of mobile advertising to get a response, striking a chord with 21 percent of French consumers, according to another survey by MMA/Lightspeed Research (October 2010). Consumers are most likely to react to time sensitive special offers or discounts. Also mobile coupons are popular.
Q5. What are the key mobile marketing activities for companies – mobile Web; mobile advertising; text campaigns; opt-in lists; applications etc?
• Mobile messaging campaigns are well developed in France, accounting for approximately 500 million messages being sent each year – 99 percent of these are SMS, as opposed to MMS or email.
• The demand for mobile Internet sites has received a boost in France due to the recent surge in demand for mobile apps.
• The mobile advertising market was evaluated at €27 million (US $36.85 million) in 2010, by SRI/Cap Gemini (January, 2011), up 23 percent from 2009 (helped by brands promoting their mobile apps)
Q6. What role do mobile operators play in the mobile ecosystem?
MNOs are active players in the French mobile marketing ecosystem, offering advertising both via opt-in database and display advertising on their mobile portals. Both have been popular with large advertisers. In 2009, the MNOs were the dominant force in the mobile ad market, but in 2010 independent media agencies appear to have been increasing their market share.
Q7. What role does the French government play in the mobile ecosystem?
• In 2010, the French government provided €10 million to finance 68 innovative mobile Web and app projects through the Proxima Mobile Portal.
• In France, mobile marketing has seen little in the way of regulation.
Q8. What associations/industry initiatives are helping to push forward mobile best practice and standards?
• The Mobile Marketing Association France (MMAF) is the local council of MMA Europe and is dedicated to developing mobile marketing in France. At the end of 2010 MMA France had 72 member companies (see the online directory for details).
• Association France du Mobile Multimedia (AFMM) was founded by the French mobile operators Bouygues Telecom, Orange France, SFR and other organizations to promote the use of and standards in mobile media such SMS/MMA, mobile Web, micropayments, 2D mobile barcodes.
Q9. Which industries/sectors have shown the most interest in mobile Web/services/marketing in France?
In some industries the use of mobile marketing tools and campaigns is already becoming common – this includes distribution, banks, transportation companies and mobile operators.
Q10. Which brands/publishers are the most innovative with mobile?
Some of the best French mobile campaigns are highlighted in the recent Mobile Awards (organized by MMAF and Strategie). Winners included Mercedes, PMU, Accor, L’Oréal, Gulli, Microsoft, Lustucru and LTU.
Q11. Which companies (or sectors) are not using mobile, or not using mobile enough, that really would benefit from using mobile? Why?
Most B2C sectors are already using mobile marketing, however in some sectors the size of the screen is a proving a barrier to those companies that are legally required to display substantial warnings or terms and conditions, such as cigarettes, alcohol and credit.
There is little evidence of mobile marketing being used in the B2B space, I am not sure if this is restricted to the French market.
Q12. What are the most popular mobile sites in France?
The top 20 mobile destinations (mobile site and/or apps, by parent group) in terms of audience in Q4 were:
Most popular mobile destinations in France in Q4 2010, according to Mediametrie
France Telecom – Orange
Source: Mediametrie (January 2011)
Q14. What are the key mobile agencies in France?
According to Le Journal du Net (2010) the largest mobile agencies in France include the following. For details of many more mobile agencies, please see the directory of MMAF members
The main players in mobile marketing in France, according to Le Journal du Net
Sales in 2009 (in Euros)
Phonevalley France (Publicis)
Nestlé, Purina, Lancôme, Puma, General Motors
Etablissements Français du Sang, France Loisirs, Radio France, RATP
Renault, L’Oréal, Mc Donald’s, Adidas, Ikea
L’Equipe, Leboncoin.fr, RedBull, Leroy Merlin
M6, Meetic, ADP, Leclerc, Suez
SNCF, Allocine, Fnac, Vente-preivee.com, SFR
Le Figaro, TF1, Deezer, VIadeo, France Soir
Bouygues Telecom, NRJ mobile, MSN, eTF1, Accorhotels.com
Marvellous France (Isobar)
NPES, Coca-Cola, Gemey Maybelline, Philips, Total
Disneyland Paris, Go Voyages, BrandAlley, Nouvelles Frontières, AuFeminin.com
Nespresso, National Citer, Carrefour, Etam, Vertbaudet
LCL, But, PMU, Club Med, RegionsJob
Warner, PMU, M&M’s, MMA
BNP, Nestlé, Citröen, BMW, Guide du Routard
Freedent, BNP Parisbas, Meilleurs Agents, Arc
Source: Le Journal du Net (2010)
Q15. Where should people go for more information on mobile in France?
News and views: Services Mobiles; Mediametrie
Associations: The Mobile Marketing Association France (MMAF); Association France du Mobile Multimedia (AFMM)
Conferences and events: Mobile Mondays Paris (MMAF is co-organizer); Le Mobile 2.0; Buzzness Mobile
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