Ecommerce in France: Loyalty to National Sellers

France has the third-largest population in Europe with 65.3 million residents and the second-largest ecommerce marketplace. French customers are loyal to their national brands and frequently shun cross-border ecommerce. Roughly 60 percent of French shoppers create just domestic purchases, according to the Ecommerce Foundation, a Netherlands-based research company.

The French also purchase services online — mostly travel, event tickets, and audio subscriptions. Foreign merchants would probably have relatively more success by promoting their merchandise on one of France’s many marketplaces.

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E.U. 2019 Retail Ecommerce Revenue

Combination chart with two data series.
Billions of Euros; percent of Gross Domestic Product
View as information table, E.U. 2019 Retail Ecommerce Sales
The graph has 1 X axis displaying classes.
The graph has 2 Y axes displaying values and percent of GDP.

Percent of GDPBillions of Euros; percent of Gross Domestic Product$200​$200$103​$103$94​$94$53​$53$32​$32$26​$26Retail Ecommerce Sales% of GDPU.K.FranceGermanySpainItalyNetherlands$0$80$160$2400%5%10%15%

E.U. 2019 Retail Ecommerce SalesPRACTICAL ECOMMERCE | Source: RetailX

End of interactive graph.

During the past several decades France has experienced modest ecommerce expansion in a declining rate. The Fédération E-commerce et vente à distance (Federation of E-Commerce and Distance Selling, or Fevad) reports that total French online sales — physical products and services — are expected to reach $115 billion, an increase of 11.4 percent . Most sites are in French and run from .fr domain names, including Amazon, the largest online marketplace in that nation.

The French market is right below the European average in terms of Internet penetration, the proportion of ecommerce customers, and normal expenditure. Compared to other significant E.U. nations, Internet penetration is low in France, particularly in rural areas. However, the proportion of consumers who purchase online is increasing, reaching 77 percent in 2019. Shoppers spent, normally, $2,266 final year.

Popular Ecommerce Sites

The French show an affinity for marketplaces, which account for half of online shopping, based on SimilarWeb. Amazon is the most popular online shop with 8 million active customers, based on Fevad, representing 63 percent of market customers.

Cdiscount, a native French market, is next with 2.5 million active customers and 20 percent of all market sales. It provides low prices on technologies, appliances, and furniture.

Fnac is another popular native French market. It represents 17.3 percent of French market sales and is also a popular physical outlet with 160 retail shops. Founded in 1954, Fnac united with major merchant Darty in 2016. Ecommerce now accounts for 19 percent of their total sales of the combined entity. Fnac offers a click-and-collect alternative for in-store pick-up. Fnac Express+, a competitor to Amazon Prime, provides same-day shipping . Fnac has expanded its market to Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland.

Auchan is a France-based worldwide retailer that opened an internet market in 2015. Its core products are groceries and apparel, but in addition, it sells home products and electronics. The market is open to third party sellers. Auchan owns grocery shops throughout Europe.

Other foreign marketplaces that function in France include eBay, Rakuten, and AliExpress.

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While not a market, Veepee is a member-based French merchant that launched in 2011. It gives online flash revenue for, mainly, apparel goods. Besides France, it operates in 10 European countries.

French Consumers

According to this”France 2020: Ecommerce Country Report” from RetailX, a U.K.-based evaluation company,”Privacy and information security are particularly important to French customers. These might be a substantial element in whether and how they decide to buy online, and in determining whether they select new market entrants over recognized French manufacturers and retailers.”

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Click-and-collect ecommerce is popular in France. While 86 percent of online shoppers use home delivery, 83 percent also use third-party click-and-collect points. Same day delivery isn’t a high priority for French internet shoppers.

Bank debit cards are the preferred payment system of 80 percent of the populace, based on Fevad. Forty-percent of French mobile-payment shoppers utilize Apple Pay, based on Statista. Google Pay is also common.

In accordance with Statista, apparel is the most popular product purchased online at 58 percent of French Internet users. Travel and tourism come in at 40 percent, while games, footwear, and toys garner 39 percent of Internet users. The fashion-conscious inhabitants spent $12.4 billion on the internet on apparel in 2019.


France can seem hostile to foreign companies. In July, the country announced plans to curtail the growth of new warehouses by ecommerce businesses. The newly-appointed Minister of Environment, Barbara Pompili, clarified that France wants to protect small retail businesses that suffered during the Covid-19 outbreak, by helping them survive the growth of big ecommerce companies like Amazon.

The French government has a controversial relationship with Amazon and shut a number of the corporation’s warehouses early in the pandemic after workers complained about unsafe working conditions. The warehouses have since re-opened. Nevertheless, if overseas ecommerce businesses are perceived as a threat to small French companies, the authorities may take additional actions.

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