Selling in France – The State of French Electronic Commerce


In this five-part series, in partnership with Cdiscount, we’ll take a look at the French e-commerce market and explore what UK sellers need to know about selling in France. Today we take a look at the state of French e-commerce:

The state of French electronic commerce

2019 was a great year for France because it took an important step: online sales of products and services exceeded 100 billion euros to reach 103.4 billion euros. This is reflected in the shift of many physical retailers to a digital strategy.

Data from the official French e-commerce association Fevad revealed that online revenue has grown 11.6% year-over-year and quadrupled in the past ten years. The online market is still immature compared to the UK, with online product sales accounting for around 10% of the total
retail sales, the remainder being done in-store. The UK figure is wavering but on several occasions over the past 12 months it has exceeded 20%, according to ONS figures.

It is likely that the proportion of sales (if not necessarily the absolute volume) made online in France will increase this year due to government measures to prevent the coronavirus, involving the closure of physical stores and citizens confined to their homes.

The number of merchant sites increased by 15% in one year to reach 190,000 listed merchant sites, the majority of these sites carrying out less than 100 transactions per month.

This growth came as the average basket size continued to drop below € 60 over the year, a drop that Fevad said began in 2012, as consumers turned to smaller and more frequent transactions. . Consumers make 3.5 transactions per month for an expenditure of € 2,577 over the year.

This decline was offset by a significant increase in the number of transactions, with more than 1.7 billion orders recorded. This figure is up 15.7% year over year.

Within these figures, Fevad notes that sales via marketplaces increased by 14% over one year, with a third of the volume of business on these sites being carried out by third-party merchants.

In forecasts made before the scale of the coronavirus pandemic became apparent, Fevad said e-commerce sites are expected to achieve similar growth in 2020, reaching revenue of € 115 billion and nearly of 2 billion transactions. However, in an update released at the end of March, Fevad said that while 94% of e-commerce sites are still open, 76% have seen sales decline since March 15.

According to the Ecommerce Foundation, fashion will be both the most important and the fastest growing sector between 2020 and 2021. Its share of the e-commerce market will be 15% in 2020, rising to 18% in 2021 .

The second largest sector is food and personal care, which is expected to increase from 11% to 12% over the same period. Meanwhile, toys, hobbies and crafts will drop from 10% to 11% while electronics and media will drop from 8% to 9%.

Check back next week to learn more about the French Shopper, what he buys and what he expects from retailers.
To learn more, sign up for our “What to Know About Selling in France” webinar to be held at the end of this series on October 1st. Register here.


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