Adding to cart: The French e-commerce explosion

France is ranked as the fifth-biggest e-commerce market in the world as digital-savvy French shoppers head to the virtual checkouts.  

E-commerce in France is enjoying steady growth, with figures from FEVAD, the Fédération E-commerce et Vente À Distance, the national French e-commerce system, revealing French consumers spent €72 billion online in 2016, a year-on-year increase of 14.6%.

FEVAD also found that there were over one billion e-commerce purchases in 2016, the equivalent of 33 transactions per second.

The latest data predicts that 2017 will top previous records, with the first quarter already totalling €20 billion. Experts estimate that online retail sales will reach at least €80 billion this year as e-commerce functionality and technology evolves at a rapid pace.


Currently, there are 206,800 active e-commerce sites, serving 36.6 million cybershoppers. French consumers also proved that they are open to testing new e-commerce functions, with sales via web-based marketplaces rising 18% and mobile purchases increasing by 30% YOY.

However, the influx of e-commerce sites now means merchants need to employ a competitive pricing strategy, the most popular being free shipping and flash promotions. For the sixth consecutive year, the average basket value fell, coming in at €68. Nonetheless, while the value of individual e-commerce purchases was 7% lower, the rate of purchases continued to increase, with an average of 28 online transactions per buyer per year in 2016.

According to the FEVAD report, more than 40% of French people log on every day to one of the top seven online vendors: Amazon, eBay, CDiscount, Vente-Privee, Ali Express, FNAC and A staggering 4 million French consumers visit Amazon, the number one e-commerce site, every single day.


Despite the recession that has plagued European merchants in recent years, the future for France’s e-commerce looks bright. Paris Retail Week, from 19–21 September, will further explore the future trends in the industry, as well as showcasing innovative payment solutions and new digital technologies.