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European Ecommerce Overview: France

France is the 7th biggest economy in the world by nominal figures. In the European Union, it is placed just right after Germany, which means it is the 2nd largest economy in the community. GDP per capita in 2019 stood at the level of US$40,493.929.

In this article, you will find out how French e-commerce is doing and what are the biggest strengths and flaws of this market.  

E-commerce overview

France is the 6th largest e-commerce in the world and the 2nd in Europe. Its revenue in 2020 is predicted to reach US$54,266m. The user penetration on France e-commerce is going to hit 77.8% by 2024. It means almost an 8% increase, comparing to this year. E-commerce in this country stands by 10% of retail sales

The biggest sector is Fashion – 32% of France’s revenue. The second place belongs to Toys, Hobby & DIY with 20%, Electronics & Media is placed the 3rd – 19%. The last two Furniture & Appliances with 16% and Food & Personal Care –  13%.

source:https://www.growcode.com/blog/ecommerce-in-france/

When it comes to e-commerce popularity, Amazon wins, but Cdiscount and Vente-Privee are very close to the winner. Amazon in France in 2019, crossed US$3,8m in net sales. Zalando which closes the tab with US$512.5m net sales. 

Consumers behavior

French society can be classified as a consumption one. They consider consumption as a pleasure. In connection with this fact, cultural services, restaurants, or entertainment are very important to them. 

The French like to buy from large, mass companies. Interestingly, they trust large retailers twice times less comparing to small local retailers. E-commerce and m-commerce are developing quite fast in France. The French have easily convinced about the convenience of online shopping and practice it often. Their purchases also concern consumer goods, including food. France is a country where globalization is common. This can be seen in the number of foreign goods or restaurants. Nevertheless, for 79% of consumers, products made in France are synonymous with a guarantee of quality. Thanks to such purchases, the French also feel they support their domestic economy.

source:https://www.nl.kearney.com/ca/consumer-retail/article/?/a/swimming-with-the-piranhas-and-reinventing-the-mass-consumer-model

What seems interesting, cross-border shopping is not a very popular way of shopping in France. 60% do shopping only domestically – it seems like a lot, but it still below the European average. 

The issue of brand loyalty is very fluid in French society. It depends very much on the type of product. In the case of large purchases, such as household appliances or home furnishings, brand loyalty is quite low, while when it comes to cosmetics or clothing, half of the consumers will be faithful. In 2019, nearly 70% of French people admitted they had changed their habits towards responsible consumption, while 13% said they were doing everything they could to increase their negative consumption impact.

Responsible consumption is reflected in the choice of ecological and natural products. Despite the drop in prices in the food sector, the French began to buy less but better in quality. Concern for the environment is also manifested in the frequent choices of mass communication or bicycles. Car sharing (Blablacar) is also well-known the same as Uber.

The return rate in France is one of the highest in Europe. French people like to return their items – they send back clothes and shoes the most often. 

source: https://www.growcode.com/blog/ecommerce-in-france/

Payment

There is no popular payment way than a debit card. Bancaires is a domestic payment system in France. It supports Carte Bleue, which works like a debit and credit card. Transactions with this card account for 22-25% of all transactions. In France, digital wallets are also relatively popular; they occupy 20.9% of the market. The most popular of them is PayPal. It may be due to the fact that it is considered one of the safest digital wallets.

source: https://www.jpmorgan.com/merchant-services/insights/reports/france

Bank transfers are the fastest growing payment method in France. Thanks to this trend, for example, eBay has made it possible for French consumers to pay in this way. Importantly – Single Euro Payments Area Instant Credit Transfer supports traditional transfers to make them safer. Such a solution is now implemented in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and since 2017 in France.

Payment Safety

For French consumers, safety during shopping is very important. But surprisingly, France has one of the highest fraud rates in Europe. As many as 3% of online consumers experience fraud. Nevertheless, the country is beginning to take care of such aspects by introducing, among others, 3D Secure, which has a positive effect on the situation. Unfortunately, French consumers are still very concerned about credit card fraud – the percentage of this type of fraud is much higher than that of the rest of Europe’s economic powers. 

Social media 

In January 2020, there were over 58 million users of the internet in France, and 39 million were active social media users.

source: https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2020-france

Social media has quite a big influence on purchasing decisions in France. 33% follow influencers on the Internet, while as many as 3/4 made a purchase on their recommendation. It is worth adding that areas such as fashion, cosmetics, and cooking are those in which social media has the greatest impact on consumers.

source: https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2020-france

Over 80% of internet users admitted to searching for online products they want to buy. And almost 90% of consumers visit an online store on the web, while 31% buy via a mobile device.

If e-commerce providers want to reach potential customers, they should be present on YouTube and Facebook. What is more, communication via Messanger is also crucial.

source: https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2020-france

Logistics

Logistics in France works at a relatively high level. 4,432 companies operate there, working on over. 5,000 warehouse spaces. It is forecasted that by 2024, annual revenue will grow by 6.4%

The most frequently chosen provider is La Poste; as many as 61% of the French decide to have their parcels delivered by post. 33% choose chronopost, and 25% Mondial Relay. 

source:https://www.businessfrance.fr/Media/PRODUCTION/INVEST/Secteurs%20d’investissement/Logistics%20in%20France.pdf

According to data from July 2020, 58% of parcels at Collection Points are collected in less than 48h. During Christmas time, which is an online shopping pike, there are even up to 70% more parcels.  

To sum up

E-commerce in France is high-developed. And consumers take advantage of this state. French like to buy online, and that is obvious. It is also a well-known fact that French people are quite consumerists, but they are aware of that and try to do better for our planet. 

Another aspect is logistics – there is quite a lot of warehouse space. Most of the international shipments are from economic powers such as the UK and Germany and from the neighbor – Belgium. 

Thanks to this quick overview of France, we hope that we helped you understand how e-commerce should act to win French customers’ hearts.