While the Dutch-French language divide impacts many aspects of life in Belgium, it has little influence over mobile device adoption. Recent research shows that Dutch speakers and French speakers in the country are equally likely to use smartphones and tablets.
According to data from Centrum voor Informatie over de Media (CIM), 70% of Dutch-speaking internet users in Belgium used a smartphone in 2016, compared with 72% of francophone internet users. In both language groups, smartphone user penetration was highest among young adults and declined steadily with age.
Tablet usage was also fairly even among Dutch-speaking and francophone internet users, at 46% and 43%, respectively.
Dutch and French are both official languages of Belgium, and they are spoken in different areas of the country. Dutch predominates in the northern region of Flanders, where approximately 57.5% of Belgium’s population resides, based on data from Statistics Belgium. French is spoken in the southern region of Wallonia—home to roughly 32% of the country’s population. Belgium’s capital, Brussels, is considered bilingual, and the 10.5% of the population that lives there speak a mix of Dutch and French.
German, the third official language of Belgium, is spoken by less than 1% of the population, primarily along the country’s eastern border. German speakers were not included in CIM’s study.