Social networks are continuing to gain ground in France, where this channel is playing an increasingly important role in shaping purchase decisions. According to figures from Médiamétrie and l’Observatoire, the number of individuals visiting services such as Facebook has climbed by 4.2m in the last 12 months, to 20.3m.
Eight million members log in to this kind of site every day, while a further 39.7% engaging in this activity on at least a weekly basis.
Consumers under the age of 24 years old make up 36.9% of the social networking population, a total that is considerably higher than their 26.3% share of the online audience as a whole.
Overall, two million 11–15 year olds have joined one of these Web 2.0 platforms, an uptick of 63% on 2009. Elsewhere, five million 35-49 year olds are registered with properties like MySpace and Twitter, an improvement of 28%.
Women contributed just 46.5% of social networkers in the previous round of research, but have now achieved parity with men.
Some 54.4% of respondents questioned by Médiamétrie read online reviews prior to making purchases, while 21.6% browsed for this type of information for any major acquisition.
Based on data drawn from this representative panel, it was estimated that 6.9m consumers would feel more comfortable about buying a specific brand if it was recommended by other shoppers on the web. Similarly, 7.5m were likely to opt against a product having encountered negative feedback in the same way.
“Young people – and the not so young – have always sought advice from their friends when shopping,” said Jamila Yahia Messaoud of Médiamétrie. “The influence of others on decisions is now much greater than before … Word-of-mouth is not new, but the internet amplifies it.”