Trade and distribution
We all use e-commerce (and some of us all of the time), but do we fully realize in our economic crystal balls what the virtual universe of the Internet can do for a business? France does, to the tune of €51,1billion in 2013.
With broadband internet feeding households like never before, this trend is accelerating, up 13.5% this past year, even while traditional sales outlets are declining. Naturally, French e-commerce is part of a European phenomenon: sophisticated, well-educated consumers shopping and comparing on-line, whether it is for train tickets, fashion items, books and downloaded films, not to mention concert tickets or even electronic products and vacations. In fact, France finds itself positioned right in the middle of more mature on-line markets such as the UK and Scandinavia, while catering to fast-growing cyber-markets in Southern Europe.
Impressive numbers – and then there’s Christmas!
The typical cyber-consumer in France spends on average €1400 annually, with a choice spanning 138,000 merchandizing sites, clicking to satisfy 33.7 million purchasers, each one with his or her own very personalized criteria. This represents a 17% growth rate for the number of sites in 2013, fueled by a rise of 5% in on-line buyers last year. Christmas frenzy often spells financial success for many e-commerce sites. For France, December 2013 accounted for a whopping €10 billion of the year’s total results.
The Best in Class go international
15% of French sites export, generating 10% of their sales internationally. The really successful sites, representing over €10 million in turnover, are able to boost these international sales by up to 20% of their total turnover. For 2013, the champions are Vente Privée, with € 1,6 billion, Showroom Privé, €350 million, Sarenza at €150 million and in 29 different countries, while Spartoo out-does them by €130 million in 20 countries throughout Europe.
Traditional companies such as Darty, Auchan and even Air France have grasped the importance of developing interfaces with e-commerce, selling cross-channel, from virtual to POS (Place of Sale). Tourism is an especially heavy-hitter, with Opodo and Go Voyages receiving avid travelers. Even SNCF-Voyages is also getting into the trend with offers covering car rentals and hotels, not just trains, and not just trains in Europe! E-commerce allows companies to envision doing business in entirely refreshing and international ways.
In B to B, the office supplies segment is active, with Bruneau and Viking modeling their entire business on-line, a lesson not lost on Manutan for its equipment.
The rules to play by
With smart-phones now in every pocket, French companies are alert to adapting to international opportunities: respecting local-country consumer legislation, marketing with multi-lingual sites, regularly upgrading to be ergonomic, enriching their offers constantly. The usual rate of transformation from visit to virtual shopping cart is 2.5%; so New Age merchants must be quick to adapt to this new breed of impatient, demanding clientele. The e-consumer wants easy, practical and totally secure payment solutions ranging from credit card to Paypal. They also expect EU legislation on profiling and reimbursements to be strictly adhered to by the e-commerce site.
Up and coming events where Ubifrance can leverage exhibition opportunities for French e-commerce companies will be in Milan on May 20th, in the UK and Ireland, from September 16 – 18th, followed by San Paolo, October 6 – 7th, with BtoB meetings dedicated to private sales.
For Further information about French companies in the e-commerce Sector :
> Electronics and IT
> Telecommunications and Space
> Trade and distribution
> Audiovisual content, Multimedia
UBIFRANCE, the French agency for international business developement, comes under the aegis of France's Ministry for the Economy, Industry & Employment. UBIFRANCE lies at the heart of France's public-sector export support framework.