Retail Mcommerce in France Rising but Remains Modest

Far from the levels seen in the UK or Germany

Author: eMarketer Editors

February 28, 2017

Mobile commerce will contribute more than a quarter of France’s retail ecommerce sales this year, eMarketer estimates. Yet despite double-digit sales gains in each of the past two years, mcommerce still has a way to go before it contributes a significant share of the country’s overall retail sales.

According to eMarketer’s latest report, “Retail Mcommerce in France: Mobile Buying Is Taking Off, but Sales Remain Modest” (available only to eMarketer PRO subscribers), retail mcommerce in France surged by more than 34% last year. Annual growth rates will slow as the market gradually matures, but will remain in double digits through 2020, pushing up the value of goods and services ordered on smartphones and tablets (excluding travel and event tickets) to $11.22 billion in 2017, and past $17 billion by the end of the decade.

While spending is on the rise, consumer adoption of mcommerce remains a mixed bag in France. Product research using mobile devices continues to gain strength, for example, but buying behavior has been slower to develop.

Compared with Western European leaders the UK and Germany—and in some cases the regional average in general—France’s mcommerce figures are middling at best. Case in point: When Criteo analyzed the share of digital retailers’ ecommerce transactions on its network made via mobile devices in Q2 2016, France’s 27% figure was the lowest of the six countries in the region studied.

Moreover, the share of total retail sales in France derived from mcommerce this year will be just 1.8%, whereas Germany and the UK will see rates of 2.9% and 7.8%, respectively, eMarketer predicts.

Nonetheless, there are some encouraging signs that France’s consumers are warming to mobile commerce.

Mappy, for instance, found that nearly half of digital buyers surveyed in France in July 2016 turned to tablets for purchases regularly or very often, and approximately four in 10 used smartphones for that purpose at that frequency. Similarly, a study by RetailMeNot found the number of mobile transactions per consumer in France rose sharply in 2016, counterbalancing a shrinking average order value.

Marketers are also doing more to boost mcommerce. Many, for example, are already using influencers to appeal to digital consumers via social media. An April 2016 Cision study found that approximately 70% of marketing professionals in France employed bloggers, and a little more than half used individuals with large followings on social media to promote their brands.