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Travel is the leading B2C ecommerce category in France, accounting for nearly one-quarter of all online purchases in Q3 2012, according to DIBS Payment Services. eMarketer estimates that total B2C ecommerce in France reached €33.33 billion ($42.73 billion) in 2012.
There’s still room for travel ecommerce to grow in France, however, given the disparity between lookers and bookers. In a March 2013 survey from telecom company Orange and women’s network Terrafemina, 69% of internet users in France who vacationed in the preceding 12 months both researched and booked trips online, while about one in five travelers researched online but ultimately booked in person.
Google, TNS Infratest and IAB Europe found similar results in their 2012 “Consumer Barometer” survey. While 86% of internet users in France who’d purchased travel in the past 12 months had researched online, only 64% booked online. By comparison, about three-quarters of UK and US consumers booked travel online. And these countries displayed the same or lower levels of online research as in France.
Package holiday and flight comparison sites were the most popular for online travel research among respondents to the Orange and Terrafemina study—nearly 60% of consumers in France looked to them for information.
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