Mcommerce Faces Strong Headwinds in France - eMarketer

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Mcommerce Faces Strong Headwinds in France

Mobile retail apps and coupons are not popular

September 16, 2013

Mcommerce—the subject of much enthusiasm and speculation in the UK and the US—is not taking off so quickly in other European markets, according to June 2013 research by—owner of the discount aggregator—and Ipsos Public Affairs. The “Shoppers Trend Report” indicated that while one in 10 consumers in Great Britain had made a purchase using a mobile device, take-up was substantially lower in Germany (6%), Italy (4%) and the Netherlands (4%)—and a truly minimal 2% in France.

By contrast, China and India registered at least 15% of web users buying via mobile devices. However, these two emerging markets are particularly disposed to mobile web engagement of all kinds.

Internet Users in Select Countries Who Primarily Purchase Items via Mobile Device, June 2013 (% of respondents)

France appeared the most underdeveloped market by several measures. The proportion of internet users researching products with mobile devices was reportedly just 17%, for example, compared with more than 30% in most European countries surveyed. Similarly, only 4% of respondents in France said they had downloaded and used a retailer’s mobile app compared with 13% in Germany and 20% in Britain.

Mobile Shopping Activities* of Internet Users in Select Countries in Europe, June 2013 (% of respondents)

According to the survey, 70% of web users in France said they had not used a mobile phone to perform any of the six mobile shopping activities investigated by RetailMeNot, or did not have a mobile phone at all. If true, this suggests that France’s digital buyers are far happier making their purchases on PCs or laptops. There is certainly no suggestion that digital buying itself is unpopular. More than 78% of the country’s web users—equivalent to more than half the entire population—will buy via digital platforms this year, eMarketer estimates.

Digital Buyers in France, 2011-2017

That said, RetailMeNot is not the only firm to indicate that the ecommerce marketplace in France is less advanced by some measures than some of its counterparts in the region. For example, a September 2013 study from Mintel reported that Norway and Sweden registered the highest online spending per consumer in 2012, while Germany and the UK were by far the largest markets in terms of overall spending. According to Mintel, the total value of business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce in France ranked third in Europe last year, but France was “five years behind” the UK and Germany with respect to market maturity.

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