A summary of eCommerce related information relating to France. This information is from "Preparing Your Business for Global eCommerce" prepared by the U.S. Commercial Service for exporters.
Last Published: 7/17/2016

Overview

In France in 2014, almost 34 million people (59 percent of the population) shopped online. The total business to consumer (B2C) sales amounted to EUR 57.5 billion (USD 64 billion) and business to business (B2B) sales made by 20 percent of companies were estimated at EUR 71 billion (USD 79 billion). France ranks number six in the world for ecommerce (B2C) and third in Europe behind the United Kingdom and Germany. It is three times larger than Russia, the fourth-largest European market. The shares of B2B and B2C e-commerce represent, respectively, 3 percent and 9 percent of the total commerce in France.


Statistics

Capital : Paris
Population :67 million(2014)
GDP (USD) :2.27 trillion (2014)
Currency:Euro
Language: French

Market Entry

Popular E-Commerce Sites

On average 28.7 million Internet users have visited 1 of the top 15 e-commerce sites at least once.
 
The top five sites in France in order of unique visitors per month   are
 
  • Amazon, with over 16 million  visitors
  • Cdiscount, an e-commerce website with everything from high-tech items to food, with 9.8 million visitors
  • Fnac, a retail chain selling cultural and electronic goods, with over 9 million   visitors
eBay and Price Minister, online buying and selling platforms for individuals and professionals, with 8.65 million and 7.79 million visitors,  respectively 
 

Digital Advertising

Digital devices rank second, after TV but ahead of printed press, in advertising investments in France, with 25 percent of market share and a total investment of EUR 2.9 billion. Ads are mainly placed on mobile applications (14 percent of total digital market), video, and social media. Social media represents 41 percent of display mobile investments, while video represents 28 percent.
 
French Internet users declare that ads should be related to the web content and thus traditional advertising is not as efficient anymore. Therefore, new advertising methods such as “native advertising” are emerging to cope with the challenges of the mobile environment and to match with Internet users’  preferences.
 

Online Payment

In France, 80 percent of online purchases are paid for with credit cards, 27 percent by   virtual wallet, 14 percent by gift cards, 11 percent by virtual credit cards, 8 percent through installment plans, 7 percent by debit authorization, 5 percent by checks, and 5 percent by bank transfers.
 
Common alternative payment methods include Allopass, which allows customers to pay via text or phone call; CM-CIC Paiement, online payment for small businesses; Hipay, an e-wallet; Moneo, a service allowed on French bankcards to make small purchases; PayPal; and Paysafecard, a payment-processing service that allows customers to pay with a username and password instead of a  PIN.

Fulfillment Centers

Current Market Trends

A couple of trends are becoming more important, including m-commerce (smartphones and tablets), which already accounts for EUR 2.6 billion of e-commerce sales. “Click and collect,” in which people order online and then pick up their goods at a store or locker, is increasingly popular. Collaborative consumption also is emerging; for example, car  sharing

Social Media

Over 30 million French people use social media. Of French Internet users, 86 percent say that they belong to at least one social media site, but only 50 percent are active   users.
 
The top 10 sites in France by total number of members   are:
 
  • Facebook: 63 percent
  • Skype: 47 percent
  • Copains d’avant: 36 percent
  • Google+: 32 percent
  • Deezer: 28 percent
  • YouTube: 27 percent
  • Twitter: 17 percent
  • Picasa: 16 percent
  • Trombi: 14 percent
  • 14 percentLinkedIn:
Facebook, YouTube, and Google+ are leaders that continue to progress. Twitter, Spotify, Dailymotion, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest also are progressing. Firms such as Picasa, Trombi, and Copains d’avant have a large number of members but are less active and are expected to decline.
 

Cross-Border E-Commerce

In France, consumers buy domestically and cross border on web shops across the    European Union (EU), in Germany (41 percent), in the United Kingdom (29 percent), and cross regionally. They also purchase from web shops in (French-speaking) Canada (18 percent) and from the United States (18 percent). In France, shoppers plan and pay for their business trips and vacation expenses online, but they also purchase books, music, fashion, and consumer electronics from web shops across Europe. French online buyers are above average in Europe when it comes to buying goods and services by Internet in another EU language: 19 percent shop across borders, compared with an average of 15   percent.
 
Cross-border e-commerce offers multichannel retailers business opportunities for international expansion. Some 25 percent of France’s online merchants already sell abroad, generating 10 percent of their sales internationally. Sales are supported by international demand for French fashion and beauty  brands.
 
Language is a main driver for cross-border e-commerce because 368 million people worldwide speak French. Many French speakers live across the Mediterranean Sea, 10 million live in Canada, and 11 million inhabit neighboring Belgium and   Switzerland.
 

Mobile E–Commerce

In 2014, 33.8 million people (7 percent of France’s population) made purchases online—4.6 million of them via their smartphones and  tablets.
                                                            

Promotions/Discounts

A variety of successful online promotions are used, including offers of free installment packages or free samples. In addition, free shipping, free next-day delivery, or free returns are good services to offer to attract  customers.
 
The key to success is not only having a professionally translated website but also choosing the right partners to promote your brand or website to clients. This is essential to optimize your chances in this sophisticated and highly competitive  market.

 

 

Prepared by the International Trade Administration. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



France eCommerce Industry eCommerce