Discover the French e-commerce market

  • Last update:
  • Published: 24.04.2024
  • Read in: 5 min

France is one of the largest and wealthiest countries in Europe, making it an extremely attractive market for expansion for many entrepreneurs in the e-commerce sector. However, like any other country, France has its unique consumer characteristics and market requirements that must be met before expanding to ensure success. If you’re interested in learning about the characteristics of the e-commerce market in France, we invite you to read on!

discover the French e-commerce market

From this article, you will learn:

  • What is the population of France?
  • What is the average monthly salary in France?
  • What portion of the society has access to the internet in France?
  • How do French consumers most commonly pay in the e-commerce industry?
  • What are the most popular delivery methods in France?
  • What is the value of the French e-commerce market?
  • Which e-commerce platforms in France attract the most customers?
  • Which e-commerce categories generate the most transactions?
  • What should you remember before entering the French e-commerce market?
  • What tax obligations need to be fulfilled before starting to sell to France?

Population of France

France is one of the most populous countries in Europe. In 2023, its population exceeded 68 million citizens, placing it at the forefront of European countries in this regard, alongside the United Kingdom and Germany.

Average monthly salary in France

After Germany, France is the second-largest economy among the member states of the European Union. In 2022, its gross domestic product amounted to more than 2,624 billion euros. Meanwhile, the average annual salary in France is positioned at $52,763, which equates to approximately $4,397 per month.

Access to mobile devices and the Internet

According to Eurostat data, in 2023, a whopping 92.8% of individuals had overall access to the internet. The catalyst for growth for the e-commerce industry in France, as in other countries, was the pandemic. As a result, in 2022, 77% of society made online purchases, and this result among internet users exceeded 80%.

Online commerce in France is also very strongly linked with the use of smartphones. Internet stores in France were typically visited using smartphones. The average number of visits utilizing this device is about 80%. Moreover, smartphones facilitated as much as 62% of transactions regarding online purchases among the French in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Browsers and social media in France

The e-commerce market in France, as in other countries, is inseparably connected with positioning, which involves browsers and social media. Among the former in France, Google Chrome undoubtedly leads, having garnered 56.55% of the French market in February 2024. The second place went to Safari with a result of 23.78%, and the third and fourth place, with scores of 6.48% and 6.13%, respectively, were taken by Edge and Firefox.

Furthermore, online sales in France can also take place through social media, or they can be used, for example, to contact customers. The most popular social medium in France in the third quarter of 2023 was Facebook. It was used by more than 72% of internet users. Second place was taken by Instagram with a score of 60.3%, and third by Snapchat with 43.2%.

Payment methods in France

Discussing the characteristics of the e-commerce market in France would not be complete without addressing payment methods. Among these, card payments are the most popular, accounting for 57% of purchases among the French. Besides, French consumers opt for digital wallets, mobile payments, or the “buy now, pay later” option.

Delivery methods in France and the largest courier companies

The most popular delivery method in France in 2023 was home delivery package. Nearly 80% of consumers chose this option. 71% also opted for deliveries to collection points, and 26% chose “Click & Collect.” Meanwhile, among those buying groceries, pickups through “drive-thru” were also popular.

In the French market of delivery providers, those that stand out for online shoppers are Le Poste, Chronopost, and DPD. Through these companies, about 37% of French online shoppers received their packages. Interestingly, when it comes to pickup from delivery points, the leading player in the French online sales market here is Colissimo. In 2022, this company had over 25,000 collection points throughout France. UPS took the second place in this respect with around 17,000 points.

French e-commerce - value

Revenue from e-commerce in France in 2023 is estimated at 160 billion euros. Moreover, the French e-commerce market ranks among the top e-commerce markets worldwide. In 2021, it was the second largest in Europe, after the United Kingdom, and the ninth largest in the world.

Which e-commerce platform in France is most popular?

Amazon provides the largest online market in France among dedicated e-commerce platforms in this country. In February 2024, it recorded 152 million views, and the average time spent on this platform was 6 minutes and 56 seconds. If you are interested in listing your offers on this platform, keep in mind that selling on Amazon in France, like in other countries, may involve the necessity of local VAT registration. If you need support in this aspect, schedule a consultation and let our experts take care of it on your behalf.

Meanwhile, Leboncoin recorded a slightly lower result, with nearly 119 million views. The average visit length on this site was 11 minutes and 10 seconds.

Selling on the CDiscount platform is also very popular in France. In February 2024, this marketplace recorded over 26 million visits. A similar result was also achieved by the French version of eBay.

If you want to learn more about eBay, check out how to sell on eBay, how eBay VeRO works, or how to sell on CDiscount.

Besides these platforms, the Chinese Aliexpress and Teemu are also at the top. Not to forget mobile applications, among which Vinted recorded 3.7 million downloads in 2022, and Shein 3.46 million.

E-commerce categories - Best-selling products

The French e-commerce has several categories that stand out in terms of generated revenue in the overall sales on the electronic commerce market in France. The most popular among them is “Hobbies and Leisure,” which includes all products related to entertainment and free time, such as sports equipment, pet food, garden equipment, etc. Online purchases among the French in this category generate 22.5% of revenues in this industry.

Second place goes to food products with 19.9%, third to fashion with 16.3%, and fourth to electronics with 13%.

Expansion to the e-commerce market in France - what to know and how to ensure brand visibility?

Starting online sales in France may seem like a challenge, but proper preparation can significantly ease this process.


Adapting the Offer

Wanting to sell through websites in France, it’s primarily important to linguistically adapt the offer to the audience. Thus, a key practice is translating product descriptions and providing photos of the products listed.


Customizing the Order Form

Entering the French e-commerce market requires adapting the order form to the French consumer. This includes, among others, the format of the telephone number and the address.


Holidays and Sales Potential in the French Market

Besides the holidays that contribute to sales increase worldwide, such as Cyber Monday or Black Friday, France also has its own commercial holidays. These include:

  • Mother’s Day on the last Sunday of May;
  • Father’s Day, boosting sales in the French market from the second to the last Sunday of June;
  • Sales seasons lasting about 6 weeks: from the beginning of January and from the end of June.

It’s important to note that sale dates in France are defined by French commercial law.

Cross-border trade and tax obligations in France

Expansion to any other market in the European Union often involves the obligation of VAT registration.

In the case of France, it will be necessary (if not using the VAT OSS procedure) when the value of sales in the French market exceeds 10,000 euros, which is the limit for distance sales in EU countries, or if entrepreneurs will store their products in France and from there send them to private consumers in other countries.

If you are looking for information on VAT in France or need support with VAT or VAT OSS, check our article “VAT Tax France 2024,” or schedule a consultation and see how our VAT Compliance experts can assist you and your business.

Characteristics of the e-commerce market in France - summary

Expansion to a new market and cross-border trade offers many entrepreneurs the chance to expand and increase the profits of their enterprise. It’s no wonder, then, that those companies seeking a new field for selling their products often want to appear in the French online sales market. This country not only has over 68 million citizens but is also the second largest e-commerce market in Europe and offers many sales channels. Among these, sales on Amazon France, which records over 150 million visits monthly, predominate.

However, it’s important to remember when entering the French market to adapt your business to the demands of the local consumer, i.e., by translating your offers, ensuring brand visibility, or synchronizing calendars with holidays in France.

Moreover, expansion to the e-commerce market in France also involves tax issues, which are worth addressing well in advance to avoid financial penalties due to neglect in this area. Therefore, if you need support with e-commerce accounting or VAT or VAT OSSregistrations, settlements, or declarations – schedule a consultation, and let our VAT Compliance experts take care of the rest!

Antoni Merkun Copywriter and marketer, who has been cooperating with Taxology since March 2023. Interested in SEO and content marketing.