Expand into France: the third biggest marketplace in Europe

You may associate the French nation with snacking on snails and frog legs, drinking loads of wine and knowing well what sophisticated fashion means. The fact that French women dress well and are interested in fashion is common knowledge.

In fact, fashion is a very popular product category in the world of e-commerce and we’re not talking berets here! However, fashion is not the only type of product that is sold and bought online.

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What is the French marketplace like?

The French marketplace can be generally characterised by high Internet penetration, growing mobile services and a modern delivery structure.

The most visited online store is Amazon with more than 15 million unique visitors per month. The French consumer likes to shop for both chic brands as well as bargains. The local e-commerce market is the third largest in the EU and 6th in the world.

The French marketplace & the French consumer can be associated with:

  • The French language
  • Global growing market
  • The savvy, confident French shopper
  • The popularity of credit cards
  • The popularity of home delivery
  • The low rate of returns

Find out more about all the factors named above in our all-inclusive guidebook!

Online sales: basic facts

  • 25% of French websites generate 10% of their sales internationally.
  • There seems to be international demand for French fashion and beauty brands.
  • As to cross-border shopping, 19% of French shop across borders. Their favourite shopping destinations are Germany (41%), the UK (29%) and Belgium (15%).
  • In terms of sales on international markets, French online merchants sell mostly to Belgium / Luxembourg (42%), Spain (27%), Italy (26%), the UK (17%) and the US (6.9%).


The most popular retail categories on the French marketplace:

  • travel & tourism
  • services
  • cultural products
  • clothing & accessories
  • technical products

Domestically, French online consumers prefer to buy products and services in the travel category most often. On foreign sites, they tend to buy technical products.

Shipping: meet the French expectations

The French eCommerce logistics seem less complex than the issues sometimes encountered entering the markets of other countries and the distribution costs can be comparatively low, too. Hence, many cross-border retailers are happy to enter the French eCommerce market.

La Poste is the historical postal operator there and a recognised and trusted brand in France. Hence, it is quite crucial that the French consumers see the La Poste as a delivery option on your website. By the same token, they are more likely to put trust into your business.

One of the biggest challenges for retailers may be differing consumer expectations: Some want one-hour delivery slots, others might want to have their product delivered to a secure locker.

Buying behaviour: present & future

How are products ordered?

  • 77% from computers
  • 12% from tablets
  • 11% from phones

France traffic

Source: Demandware 

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