E-commerce in France – What Do You Need to Know Before You Start Selling Online There?

E-commerce in France – What Do You Need to Know Before You Start Selling Online There?

More and more online store owners consider entering the French market. There’s a reason for that. After all, it’s a tycoon that generated 112 billion euros of turnover in 2020 thanks to the local online shoppers. How to encounter this subject? Before starting your adventure with the e-commerce market in France, it’s worth conducting thorough research.

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We’ve decided to facilitate your task and gather a lot of useful information that will certainly help you if you want to start selling online in France. Enjoy!
Table of Contents:

E-commerce in France – basic facts

France is the fourth largest country in Europe, it’s home to over 65 million people that are 42.4 years old on average. According to the Hootsuite report “Digital 2021 France“, as many as 91% of residents are active Internet users and 75.9% have social media accounts. Every day, the French spend nearly 5 hours and 40 minutes online, including more than 90 minutes devoted to social media. Statistically speaking, an average French person spends 1177 dollars online a year.

These figures clearly indicate that the e-commerce market in France is a truly appealing destination. After all, it is the seventh largest market in the world. Poland also marked its presence there – InPost recently announced that it wants to buy Mondial Relay, the largest logistics company in France. If the transaction turns out to be successful, it’ll significantly facilitate the process of deliveries from this country to Poland.

e-commerce in france statistics
This is how French e-commerce improved over the last few years. Willing to enter this market?

Most popular devices in France

If you aim at conquering the e-commerce market in France, you must remember about mobile-first. Your online store or company website needs to be perfectly optimized and adapted to mobile devices. As many as 95.7% of French Internet users have smartphones and 48.9% of them use tablets, also for online shopping. Already 16% of all online transactions are mobile purchases and this indicator continues to increase. Moreover, 54.3% of the French willingly shop online via mobile apps. What other devices are used to surf the net in French homes?

  • laptops and desktops – 79.8%
  • game consoles (e.g. Playstation, Xbox) – 43.8%
  • smartwatches and smart bands – 16.5%
  • smart TVs 11.9%

Most popular search engines and web browsers in France

Knowing which devices are chosen by French Internet users is one thing. But being aware of browsers and search engines they use on mobile and desktop devices is another important customer journey step that makes it possible to be successful in the e-commerce sector in France. After all, your online store or company website needs to operate flawlessly. The adopted SEO strategy should also match specific browsers, search engines and algorithms. Which browsers do we mean?

  • Google Chrome – 57.7%
  • Safari – 21.4%
  • Firefox – 8.4%
  • Microsoft Edge – 4.9%
  • Samsung Internet – 3.5%
  • Other browsers (including Internet Explorer, Opera) – 4%

Which search engines are the absolute creme de la creme in France? Unsurprisingly, in February 2021, Google was first in the ranking (91.73%). It was followed by bing (4.27%) and Yahoo! (1,17%). About one percent of users benefit from search engines such as Ecosia, Qwant and DuckDuckGo.

It’s worth mentioning that 26.2% of French residents state that they use voice search at least once a month. Therefore, it’s important to optimize your website also for this functionality.

Most popular social media platforms in France

28% of French people do social media research to obtain information about the brand they’re interested in. When entering the e-commerce market in France, remember to set up professional social media channels to communicate with local residents in their native language. So where to run your company account?

social media channels in france statistics
Source: https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2021-france
  • Youtube – 79.6% (Product vlogs? Compelling video content marketing? You’re welcome!)
  • Facebook – 73.9% (this is where the average French person spends 14.2 hours per month watching videos alone)
  • Messenger – 58.1%
  • Instagram – 49.3%
  • Whatsapp – 49.1%
  • Snapchat – 36.9%
  • Twitter – 32.2%
  • Pinterest – 25%
  • LinkedIn – 23.9%
  • TikTok – 21.9% (the former Musically is quickly gaining popularity – TikTok was the most frequently downloaded app in France in the last year)

Most popular French websites

Why should you know which websites are frequently visited by French Internet users? Well, to learn about their shopping habits, visited online places, or favorite brands. Moreover, thanks to it you can find out where to focus on PPC advertising or sponsored SEO links.

Of course, Google (surprisingly the .com, not the .fr version), Facebook and YouTube are in the highest positions. Undoubtedly, Google and Facebook Ads are a great way to improve your brand recognition in this country, especially if you’re just starting your adventure there.

Wikipedia (that’s where French people look for information) and Amazon.fr (that’s where they most often search for their dream products) are next in the ranking. Then, we have:

  • fr (with advertisements)
  • fr (the most popular mobile operator in France)
  • com
  • programme-tv.net (the French watch TV 3.5 hours a day)
  • com (e-mail software from Microsoft)
  • com (the largest French marketplace – why not to place your products there?)
  • ouest-france.fr and fr

Most popular payment methods in France

most popular payment methods in french e-commerce market

According to J.P. Morgan, the French usually pay for online purchases by credit card (53.9%). Digital wallets with 20.9% are second in the ranking. Traditional bank transfers are chosen by 13.2% of the French. Cash on delivery is preferred by 7% of respondents.

What do the French people buy online?

  • USD 17.5 billion on travel, accommodation, and transport (this will probably change significantly in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • USD 17.13 billion on fashion & beauty products – clothes, cosmetics – it might be a compelling direction for e-commerce companies willing to conquer the French market
  • USD 10.86 billion on toys, DIY products, and hobbies
  • USD 10.14 billion on electronics and gadgets
  • USD 9 billion on furniture and home appliances
  • USD 7.21 billion on food
  • USD 2.36 billion on games

SEO in France - Delante will help you with any market

10 greatest French online stores

Experts indicate that there are over 120,000 online shops in France. So who will be your main market rival when fighting to win the hearts of French buyers? Below you can see a list of the 10 greatest French online stores, according to 2018 data:

  • Amazon
  • Cdiscount
  • Vente-Privee
  • Auchan
  • Apple
  • Fnac
  • Showroomprive
  • La Redoute
  • Carrefour
  • Zalando

Analyze these brands to search for inspiration and ready-made solutions that work perfectly on the French e-commerce market.

How to reach French customers?

As indicated by the statistics, SEO is the most important factor that helps to improve brand recognition in the French market. It was chosen by 42.5% of respondents.

E-commerce in France strategies

Subsequent positions in the report prepared by Hootsuite are occupied by recommendations,  product samples, marketplaces, price comparison sites, TV ads, product landing pages, and online reviews. However, without a shadow of a doubt, international SEO is the finest way to begin your journey of conquering the French e-commerce sector. Your online business in France can be developed without leaving the cozy armchair in your country.

E-commerce in France – how to start?

Start with research and identifying your user personas and market rivals. Then, move to devise the strategy tailored to the .fr market. Once you optimize your website in a way that ensures it meets the expectations of French users, saturate it with quality content and start performing appropriate SEO activities. As you can see in the abovementioned statistics and arguments, the French e-commerce market is an ideal place to develop your business.

A high position of your online store in the organic search results, as well as Google or social media PPC advertisements, are a good starting point. Want to ensure that your products or services mark their presence in the French online world? Don’t hesitate and contact us, we’re experienced in working with foreign language websites (to learn more about it, go to international SEO). Moreover, we’re constantly expanding our expertise and we’re ready to assist you!


Hootsuite research shows that 42.5% of French Internet users start searching for information on given brands in the search engine. If you take care of a proper international SEO strategy for your online store, you’re likely to be successful in France.

Take a look at InPost. The company of Rafał Brzoska already wants to mark its presence there. This path appeals to all online stores which already cooperate with InPost. It would be a shame to miss such a boat, wouldn’t it?

Delante is an online marketing agency specialized in generating website traffic from search engines and paid ads (SEO / SEM). Over 80% of our clients are from rapidly growing e-commerce industry.

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