Millennials in France Look Ready for Social Commerce

Positive response could help spur slowing retail ecommerce growth in the country

Author: Cliff Annicelli

September 20, 2017

Ecommerce has grown steadily in France, but more modestly than in leading retail ecommerce nations like the UK. But a recent study has found nearly half of millennials surveyed in France would say oui to social commerce, potentially giving overall ecommerce a lift.

According to a July 2017 poll of internet users in France by Havas Paris and OpinionWay Research, 45% of respondents ages 18 to 35 would like to make direct purchases on social networks. Millennials' positive response toward social commerce was nearly twice the rate seen among respondents overall.

Social commerce of the buy button type has yet to truly take off in France, or really anywhere else in the Western world. In contrast, the approach has been adopted in parts of Asia-Pacific, such as Southeast Asia, where some sources estimate 30% of digital sales occurred via social networks in 2016.

But in the past 18 months, several social networks have upped their efforts to spur social commerce outside of Asia-Pacific. For instance, last month Facebook announced its intention to roll out Marketplace, its consumer-to-consumer (C2C) ecommerce platform, in France and 16 other countries in Europe.

An October 2016 study by OpinionWay Research found nearly two-thirds of digital buyers ages 15 to 69 in France had made a C2C purchase. That means Facebook's Marketplace might tap into existing desires for C2C shopping in the country, and help pave the way for more retail-driven social commerce there.

A significant minority of retailers are ready for social commerce to take off. In a December 2016 study by 1WorldSync, about four in 10 merchants surveyed in Europe and North America said their current digital capabilities included social commerce.

Were it to gain steam, social commerce could give a lift to France's slowing retail ecommerce growth. eMarketer expects retail ecommerce sales (excluding travel and event tickets) will rise 8.8% this year to nearly $42.5 billion (€38.42 billion). But that annual growth rate is expected to decline over the next four years, eMarketer predicts.

Photo credit: Paul Rysz on Unsplash