Omnichannel the Norm for France’s Digital Consumers—and Retailers

Mobile devices increasingly integrated in the purchase process

Author: Karin von Abrams

March 10, 2017

An explosion in mobile phone usage hasn’t totally transformed digital shopping habits in France. Nearly all (97%) of digital buyers still made purchases via desktop and laptop PCs in September 2016, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). But the shares of digital buyers purchasing with a tablet or smartphone was up sharply from the prior year, to 56% in each case. Penetration of tablet buying was 12 percentage points higher than in 2015, and smartphone buying had jumped 15 percentage points. 

In fact, mobile devices are central to most recent developments in France’s ecommerce market. For a start, being able to research and purchase on the go means digital consumers are shopping online more frequently. One in three internet users made at least one digital purchase per week, on average, the study revealed. In other developed ecommerce markets surveyed by PwC, the average was 28%.

Crucially, mobile also played a role throughout the purchase process. A third of digital buyers in France used a mobile device to search for products, PwC reported, and 26% used one to compare prices. More than one in five digital buyers read product reviews on a mobile phone or tablet, accessed a coupon, checked in to a loyalty program or received an email alerting them to collect a product.

Thanks to such mobile activities, France also posted significantly higher engagement with multichannel retail than most other countries surveyed. According to PwC, 85% of retailers in France generated revenues from multichannel operations, compared with 71% of merchants in other European countries.

Among other key results of the study in France:

  • 21% of digital retailers’ omnichannel customers had bought via mobile.
  • 41% of digital buyers ages 25 to 34 said their smartphone would become their primary purchasing device in the future.

With so many shoppers active on mobile platforms, it’s not surprising that 67% of retailers surveyed in France said their top priority was accelerating revenue growth from mobile and online channels.