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After a strong showing in Q1 2013, French ecommerce sales continued on a double-digit growth trajectory, up by 13.8% year-on-year in April 2013, according to the monthly index for online payments prepared by Le Journal du Net. The index is based on the value of credit card transactions on French retail sites using the Atos Worldline, PayBox Services and Monex platforms. Total digital sales on these platforms reached €2.79 billion ($3.58 billion) in April 2013, compared with €2.45 billion ($3.14 billion) in April 2012.
The number of transactions rose 15.2% in the 12 months to April 2013, Journal du Net reported, while the average value of a digital shopping basket stood at €84.98 ($108.95) that month.
The continuing strength of ecommerce is a real boost for the French retail sector, especially in view of the fact, revealed in early May, that France returned to recession in Q1 2013. The national economy declined by 0.2% in the first quarter—after registering an identical contraction in Q4 2012.
Fortunately, the habit of buying on digital platforms is now firmly established, and should help mitigate the impact of the economic downturn on consumers as well. France is already the third-largest ecommerce market in Western Europe, following the UK and Germany. There is still much room for expansion, however. eMarketer estimates that the number of digital buyers in France reached 26.5 million in 2012, but will pass 28 million in 2013.
The advent of mobile buying is also driving significant gains in overall digital sales. As of Q4 2012, 22% of web users in France had made a purchase via their mobile phone, according to GlobalWebIndex—the same proportion as in the UK, and one of the highest recorded rates of mobile buying in Europe. eMarketer anticipates a further surge in shopping and buying on handheld devices, as more retailers offer mobile-optimized websites or apps to tempt consumers.
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