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E-commerce in France

E-commerce

Internet access
With a population of around 65 million France is the second biggest country in the EU. According to a report from Arcep, internet penetration rate reached 88%, 82% of the population has a computer at home and 85% enjoys fixed internet access. About 92% have their own mobile phone, two-thirds of which are smartphones. According to the same report, 74% of the French population connects to the internet daily. The French now spend an average of 18 hours per week on the internet, almost the same time they dedicate to watching TV (20 hours). The most popular web search engines in France are Google.fr (91%), Bing (5.2%) and Yahoo (2%).
E-commerce market
The French are among the leading consumers in Europe in terms of online purchases: in 2017 the B2C market reached EUR 82 billion, a 14% increase compared to the previous year, and is expected to rise even further in coming years (E-commerce Foundation). E-commerce through internet mobile devices has also shown significant growth in the past few years. At the end of 2017, the French e-commerce federation Fevad estimated that there were about 173,000 active retail websites in France (+10% when compared to 2016). The most visited online store is Amazon, with more than 15 million unique visitors per month. Other big online players are Cdiscount, eBay, Fnac and Priceminister. In the fashion industry La Redoute and 3 Suisses are among the biggest players. Recently, Google signed a deal with Carrefour to sell groceries online in France, so that customers will be able to buy Carrefour’s products through Google’s platforms such as Google Home, Google Assistant and Google Shopping. Smartphones have become popular for online shopping. According to a 2017 survey by iCM Direct, nearly one third of the business volume is now carried out on mobile devices, a 6% increase compared to the previous year. Finally, it has been reported that the French Senate is planning to introduce a tax on e-commerce. The tax would be imposed on deliveries from e-commerce companies to e-shoppers and the declared objective is to protect the shops in the city centres and smaller businesses across the country.
E-commerce sales and customers
According to a study by Médiamétrie, 37.4 million French consumers shopped online during the first quarter of 2018. The majority of online shoppers (54%) shop online at least once a month and around 28% do so at least twice a month. The average annual amount for a transaction lowered to EUR 65.5 in 2017 compared to EUR 69 euro the previous year, a 5% drop (Fevad - La Fédération du e-commerce et de la vente à distance). Nevertheless, this decline in average spending is counterbalanced by purchase frequency which has increased sharply over the last 3 years: after a 21% increase in 2016 and 19% in 2015, it went up 19% in 2017. On average, internet shoppers carry out 33 transactions online per year (Fevad). Consumers aged 25-34 order products online most frequently. When purchasing goods online, e-shoppers in France like to pay with credit cards (one of the most popular way to do so is with Carte-Bleue, a debit card that can also be used as a credit card). Other popular online payment methods in France are Visa and PayPal. As regards the latter, there are more than 8 million PayPal accounts in France, which makes it the third European country in terms of the number of PayPal accounts. Among other alternative payment methods there are Allopass, CM-CIC Paiement, Hipay, Moneo, Paysafecard and bank transfers. Fevad’s data show that French consumers prefer to have their online purchases delivered at home or at work, compared to other solutions like in-store delivery or delivery at a pick-up point. While purchasing from national sellers has decreased, the number of e-shoppers that bought from sellers in non-EU countries has increased from 15% in 2016 to 17% in 2017. The main cross-border commercial partners where China and the United States.
Social media
According to data from Statista, as of January 2018, 58% of the population had an active social network account. A survey conducted by Cint and published by Statista shows that the age group with the highest penetration rate of social media services in France is 18-24 year olds: 94% of respondents in this age group reported using social media services. The rate was 82% among those aged 25-39 years. The average time spent per French visitor on social networks is 247 minutes a month. The most popular social network is YouTube with a 69% penetration rate, closely followed by Facebook. Twitter has a penetration rate of 24%. As reported by eMarketer, almost 27 million accessed Facebook regularly in 2017, while Instagram accounted for 10.3 million users. The professional social networking platform Linked-in has 15 million users in France (data: Thinknum). When it comes to messaging apps, Messenger is the most popular one, followed by WhatsApp.

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Latest Update: May 2022

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