In the second quarter of 2021, e-commerce turnover increased by 25% in France. This sector, which has seen steady growth in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, seems to be continuing its momentum. E-commerces in France will still have to adapt their strategies to the evolution of consumer behaviour and to the scenarios in vogue in the ecommerce market. Read this guide to know the french e-commerce market and discover new online shopping trends in 2022.
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- Overview of the ecommerce market in France in 2022
- The online shopping trends in France for 2022
- The online buying behaviour of French consumers
- Profile and demographics of the French e-buyer
- Where do French consumers discover the products they buy?
- Online channels used by French consumers to search for a product
- French consumers’ expectations when navigating an ecommerce website
- The delivery method used: how do people get their items?
- Payment method: how do people pay for their product?
- Conclusion: The future of e-commerce in France
Overview of the ecommerce market in France in 2022
The French ecommerce market size and revenue
In 2020, the e-commerce market in France had a value of around $114 billion. By 2026, experts predict that number to almost double to $203 billion. With a CAGR of 10.04%, this growth is one of the fastest in the European e-commerce market. Below, we go into more of the e-commerce trends in France in 2021 to establish where the market is going in the near future, and what specific aspects of e-commerce are performing best.
The context of the health crisis led to a new increase (the largest since 2015) in the number of online buyers, with 1.5 million new buyers among all populations. Today, data shows that 41.6 million French people buy online (81.4% of Internet users). Online shopping has become a new habit for French consumers since it allowed them to purchase goods and services while limiting their exposure to health risks during the Covid 19 pandemic.
Analysis from experts predicts that total revenue in the French e-commerce market will reach around $59 billion in 2021, with a growth rate of 5.7% in the next five years, reaching nearly $72 billion by 2025. The number of users in the e-commerce market in France is expected to rise to 51.5 million in that time, and user penetration will jump from 74% in 2021 to 78% in 5 years’ time. Compared with the average across Europe, total internet penetration is almost 15% higher in France.
Ecommerce market in France is expecting a growth rate of 5.7% in the next five years […] Compared with the average across Europe, total internet penetration is almost 15% higher in France.
The average revenue per user in 2025 is expected to be around $1432. This is much higher than the expected European average of $999 per user. This year, 93% of all e-commerce purchases in France will be domestic, and more than half of them will be paid for by cards.
Market share of mobile ecommerce (or M-Ecommerce)
Importantly, a growing share of eCommerce purchases in France occurs on mobile devices due to the pandemic of Covid 19. France was suffering one of the lowest market shares in the European Union for mobile commerce (compared with Germany for example), with less than 25% of online sales completed on mobile. But most French merchants prepared themselves for rising mobile commerce in the next year and the lockdown has accelerated this process.
The market share of mobile commerce is now around 40% and CAGR is about 17%.
In 2021, the market share of mobile commerce, or m-commerce, is now around 40%, representing $32 billion. All businesses are changing their habits and turning full digital and mobile-first. With more than 28 million users buying items on their mobiles, it’s a key area to target if you’re a business owner or online retailer looking to maximise your reach in 2022.
The role of Beauty & Fashion in France’s e-commerce market
France is almost synonymous with beauty and fashion, with Paris being an official world fashion capital. It ranks up there with the likes of Milan, London and New York, and the country has seen some of the most famous names within the fashion industry capture audiences across the globe. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the beauty and fashion industry is the largest component of France’s e-commerce market. In 2021, the e-commerce beauty and fashion market in France is estimated to be worth just under $22 billion.
Fashion has always been an important aspect of France’s culture, and while it is known the world over, it is of course one of the staples of e-commerce within the country too. French people are fairly price-sensitive, making offers, discounts and sales very lucrative opportunities for businesses. This appears to stand no matter whether the brand is a luxury brand or a discount store. This is largely due to the fact that you can find vast selections of all kinds of brands online, whereas the discount store used to only be profitable as a brick-and-mortar shop. Ease of delivery has opened the door to brands both small and large.
Other major industries playing a role in the French ecommerce
Faced with the health crisis, the French bought online all the categories of goods they couldn’t find in shops during lockdowns and many of them continued to do so after lockdowns rather than going back to the shops—for nonfood and grocery products. The average transaction amount increased again after 8 consecutive years of decline.
Given that fashion accounts for 29% of all e-commerce revenue in France, where the fashion market goes the rest of the e-commerce market will likely follow. However, other industries within the wider French e-commerce market have at least 20% apiece including toys, hobbies and DIY, and electronics and media. It probably comes as no surprise that the main company behind these industries in France is Amazon.fr. With revenue of $6.5 billion in 2020, Amazon brought in almost 3 times as much as second-place cdiscount.com.
The 5 most important French online shopping stores
The top 5 ecommerce websites in France are dominated by local e-commerce companies. Exception made for Amazon that trusts the 1st place in terms of the number of customers and net sales. Of course, the top 5 list changes every year. But in general, French consumers tend to defend local actors and made in France products.
The online shopping trends in France for 2022
The importance of the “made in France” products
Consuming French products is more than just a slogan, it is a symbol of solidarity in the post-covid market. In 2018, 81% of household consumption was made in France and this habit has been strengthened during the coronavirus crisis. Feeling concerned by the difficulties that were facing local shops and local businesses, French consumers have made a big effort to consume local products. More than ever, they want to give privilege to products made in France and brands established in the country.
Sustainable ecommerce and circular economy in France
63% of French people want to consume better. And 77% of them are even ready to give up products from a brand whose production methods are harmful to the environment. French consumers are following the green trend, so now is the time to make your e-commerce going green. French customers are willing to pay more for eco-responsible offers.
At its core, the circular economy is based on the idea that everything should be designed to be reused and shared, rather than thrown away. 51% of French people say they prefer products from the circular economy firstly for an environmental issue, but also for the quality of purchases as well as support for local businesses that have suffered from the various successive crises. An important subject for the French since 54% of them declare that the lifespan of products has become a criterion of choice.
This goes through the referencing of ecological brands (even organic), but also through your shipping methods. Cybershoppers are very interested in your packaging methods (do you use recycled/recyclable packs? do you avoid over-packaging?), the carriers used and the impact of your logistics in general. If you have taken ecological initiatives, promote them on your merchant site.
The online buying behaviour of French consumers
Profile and demographics of the French e-buyer
41.6 million French people buy online 1.5 million more compared to 2019 amounting to 81% of web users (compared to 78.4% in Q4 2019). The distribution is very equal with 82% of men and 80% of women who buy on the internet. We also observe that the generational gap is currently disappearing: 73% of 65 years old and above population bought at least once on the internet last year.
Where do French consumers discover the products they buy?
French consumers trust a lot in the word of mouth and the referral system remains the most powerful to make your product discovered.
- 37% of consumers claim to have discovered products by word of mouth (40% among women), France is 5 points above the average compared with other countries (32%).
- 34% of consumers say through online marketplaces
- 27% of consumers say through the Recommended product section of Amazon
- 22% say through Social networks and advertisements on these networks, which the main discovery channels for the age group 18-25.
- 19% say through TV and Gaming platform
- 18% say through advertising on Google
Online channels used by French consumers to search for a product
French shoppers are more likely to search for their products first on Amazon.
- 47% search first on Amazon
- 28% search first on search engines
There is a strong prevalence of Amazon as the first shopping destination. This is a trend that has been growing for several years: many buyers use the Amazon search engine directly, without going through a traditional search engine like Google. Conclusion: e-merchants, therefore, have every interest in being well referenced on marketplaces such as Amazon.
French consumers’ expectations when navigating an ecommerce website
In 2022, Salsify Consumer Research revealed the results of its 2022 Consumer Study, a report that highlights consumer concerns and expectations when navigating on an eCommerce website.
- 56% of consumers abandon their shopping cart if they cannot find relevant product information
- 47% of consumers ranked the quality of product images and descriptions in the top 3 reasons they decide to buy
- 60% research product quality, while 41% prioritize customer service and 31% customer reviews,
- 44% of consumers pay to spend more for brands they trust
- 44% of consumers say they care about the environment and are looking for information on recycling products
- 25% of consumers say they need to know if a product has independent environmental certification before buying it (compared to 53% in Germany)
The delivery method used: how do people get their items?
When considering the latest e-commerce trends in specific countries, it’s worth taking a look at how people receive the goods they pay for. In France, the overwhelming share of the delivery market goes to La Poste. Accounting for 68% of the shipping market in the country, La Poste is the clear winner. Following in second and third place are Chronopost and Mondial Relay, with 38% and 29% of the market share respectively.
In this unusual year, shoppers continued to favour home deliveries to receive their orders, but also use click and collect much more, which merchants promoted during lockdowns to deal with the influx of orders. 20% of e-buyers have used at least one express delivery service in the past three months
20% of e-buyers have used at least one express delivery service in the past three months
Payment method: how do people pay for their product?
Bank cards are the main method of online payments, with instalments becoming increasingly popular payment solutions. Another trend is the growth of e-wallet payments.
|Payment method||Payment split (%)|
From a business point of view, having an online presence is key in any country. However, in France, it’s absolutely vital. The French have a large degree of scepticism about websites based in other countries and prefer to shop on sites based in their home nation. This is because 60% of online shoppers in France feel a lack of trust in foreign sites. This means e-commerce businesses in France have a natural edge over foreign competitors.
Conclusion: The future of e-commerce in France
However, taking a wider and more general look at the e-commerce market in France, data clearly shows that more and more people are choosing online over brick-and-mortar stores. Largely due to the impact of COVID-19, internet traffic in France increased by 70% between March and April 2020.
This continued into 2021, but it’s not just everyday internet users that have increased in volume. The number of e-commerce websites in France has grown rapidly over the last three years as well. In 2019, there were just over 191,000 e-commerce websites in France. A year later that had risen to more than 200,000.
The e-commerce market in France is clearly following similar trends to the global e-commerce market. With more and more of our interactions moving online, as a result of increased digitisation and the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s only natural that we move most of our purchases online too. The e-commerce market in France is likely to continue to grow, with the rising mobile share being an increasingly important factor as businesses must optimise their operations for those users.
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