Despite the financial crisis, eCommerce is still going strong in France

May 15, 2012
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It looks like eCommerce is still going strong in France.  FEVAD, France’s industry association focusing on the eCommerce and other non retail location sales (ie mail order), recently posted results on the performance of eCommerce in France during Q1 2012.  Although France, as the rest of Europe, has been dealing with the ongoing fallout of the financial crisis, eCommerce sales grew 24% vs Q1 2011, arriving at a total of €11 billion in sales.  FEVAD estimates that total eCommerce sales in France will reach €45 billion for 2012.  Enterpreneurial activity has be one of the biggest drivers of this growth as the number of eCommerce sites in France has grown to 104k (the number of sites has been growing at a rate of 22% per quarter).

Not only is the eCommerce sector growing in terms of revenues and vendors, but it’s also growing in terms of total shoppers as there are now 31 million consumers purchasing online, growing by 3 million year-on-year.  Much of the growth is being driven by women (+17%) and the 65+ age group (+22%).   In addition, consumers are also purchasing more frequently online as they now buy something online 5 times per quarter vs 4 times in (Q1 2011).

The one bit of disappointing news in FEVAD’s findings was that the economic crisis did seem to have an impact on the total amount spent per purchase (‘basket size’) as it declined to €89 from €92, which is the lowest level since 2009.

FEVAD’s numbers also dig a bit into what eCommerce vendors are doing to address the rapidly growing mCommerce sector.  Surprisingly, only 45% of e-commerce sites have adapted their websites for mobile devices.  This is a big leap from last year where this figure was 22%, but it still demonstrates that there’s a long way to go before consumers have a comparable shopping experience on mobile that they have on the PCs or Macs. Currently only 3% of eCommerce vendors’ sales are generated via mobile, so perhaps many vendors do not feel it is yet worth the investment to adapt their websites for mobile.  However, as FEVAD’s synopsis points out, it will take a lot more than just making a website mobile compatible to encourage consumers to purchase via mobile.  Vendors need to make sure that they have an offer that is optimized for the mobile shopping experience and that they find a way to facilitate consumers’ movement between devices.