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Nicola Mira
Published
Feb 6, 2020
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Online sales in France top €100 billion mark in 2019

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Published
Feb 6, 2020

In the 2019 financial year, online sales in France rose by 11.6%, and were in total worth €103.4 billion. This despite an unusual slow-down in online sales growth in the last quarter, when e-commerce failed to take advantage of the slump in brick-and-mortar retail sales, which were hampered by social unrest in the country. Eventually, online sales accounted for 9.9% of total retail revenue in 2019, up from a 9.1% share a year earlier.


In Q4 2019, e-tail failed to take advantage of the slump in traditional retail sales, and posted the year’s weakest growth rate - Shutterstock


In 2019, no fewer than 1.7 billion online transactions were recorded, a 15% increase that masked the constant erosion of the average purchase basket, which fell by another 3.6%, down to €59. This decrease was, however, once again compensated by an increase in purchasing frequency, as French online customers placed on average 43 orders in the course of the year, about one per week per customer. The average annual expenditure per customer went up from €2,357 to €2,577.
 
“This increase shows the effect of flat-rate delivery fees, which mean customers are no longer pushed to reach a certain purchasing basket value before placing an order,” said François Momboisse, president of France's e-commerce federation (FEVAD).

“Added to this, there was a rise in the number of e-tail sites, with many among them lowering purchasing basket value by offering free delivery,” he added.

Once again, in fact, the number of online shopping sites in France rose, with an additional 25,000 sites active in the year, a 15% increase, which brought the current total to approximately 190,000 websites, half of which generated less than 100 sales transactions per month.

M-commerce and e-marketplaces gaining influence


 
As for m-commerce, FEVAD’s iCM index showed that sales made via smartphones and tablets grew four-times faster than the total. Mobile sales accounted for 39% of the iCM panel's total revenue, an increase of four percentage points in one year.

“In two years’ time, they are likely to account for a majority share,” said FEVAD.


Shutterstock


As for sales made through e-marketplaces, FEVAD’s iPM index showed a regular 14% growth rate in the course of the year. Of the total 2019 e-marketplace sales, 33% were generated by third-party vendors, a 3% rise over the previous year.

No transfer effect during France’s strikes


 
In 2019, online sales in France rose by 11.6%, a weaker growth rate than the 14.3% one posted in 2017, and the 13.4% one in 2018. This remarkable slow-down was due to the troubled last quarter of the year experienced by e-tail. After growing by respectively 4.9%, 5.9% and 4.8% in the year’s first three quarters, in Q4 2019 online retail sales increased only by 1.9%.

“Similarly to what happened a year ago, when the ‘yellow vest’ protests first started [in France], online retail did not benefit from a shift of brick-and-mortar retail sales towards the web,” said Momboisse.

“When social conflict is high, people simply don’t feel at all like spending, neither online nor offline. Notably, the sector’s growth remained by and large the same, despite the situational factors affecting the economy,” he added.

For 2020, FEVAD is expecting a growth rate consistent with previous years, and is forecasting an 11.5% increase in online sales, reaching a total revenue of €115 billion for the year.

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