May 11, 2012, 4:36 PM

More e-commerce sites help grow online sales in France

31 million French shoppers spent 11 billion euros online (US $14.25 billion) in Q1.

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Three million more French consumers shopped online in the first three months of 2012 compared with a year earlier, according to the latest quarterly report published by France’s national e-commerce and mail order retail federation, Fevad. That brings the number of online shoppers in the country to 31 million.

The findings are based on a study of 104,000 e-commerce sites conducted by Fevad in conjunction with media audience monitoring company Médiamétrie.

The growing number of French online shoppers spent 11 billion euros (US $14.25) in the first three months of 2012, says Fevad, up 24% compared to the first quarter of 2011. Transactions in the first quarter increased 30% year-over-year. The 31 million of the 45 million Internet users in France who made online purchases in the first quarter represent an 11% increase in online shoppers from a year earlier. 28 million French consumers shopped online in the same period in 2011, according to Médiamétries' e-commerce audience barometer.  

“The frequency of online shopping continues to develop,” says Bertrand Krug, director of Médiamétrie//NetRatings department of online efficiency measures. “47% of Internet users have purchased online in the past month alone, compared to 43% a year ago.”

The growth of online shoppers is outpacing the growth in Internet users, and those shoppers are spending more on the web, according to Fevad.

“E-commerce is growing faster than the number of people going online is,” says the association’s director general Marc Lolivier. “Not only is there an increasing number of French online consumers, but those consumers are tending to spend more and more.”

Online consumers make about five web purchases per quarter on average, up from four purchases a year earlier, Fevad says.

More online stores are also helping to grow web sales, Fevad says. The number of French e-commerce sites grew more than 20% in the first quarter compared to last year, swelling to 104,100 sites 18,000 more than during the same period last year.

Lolivier says consumer confidence in online sales is also on the rise, with 67.7% of web users saying they feel comfortable buying online, up 6% from last year.

Amazon.fr tops Fevad’s list of the 15 most-visited e-commerce sites in France for the first quarter, with 12.65 million unique visitors per month on average, according to Fevad. Next came PriceMinister with over 9.02 million visitors, eBay with 8.97 million, Cdiscount 8.94 million and the Fnac with 8.20 million.

26.9 million French visited one of the top 15 sites between January and March compared to 26.3 million in 2011, the Fevad/Médiamétrie barometer finds.

The study points out several other French e-commerce other trends:

  • Consumers over the age of 65 are buying more online, according to Fevad. 22% more shoppers in that age group are buying online compared to the first quarter 2011.
  •  French who reside outside big cities are beginning to shop more online—the amount of web shoppers living in rural France rose 12%.
  • 4.3 million French make purchases via their smartphones, and tablet commerce is gradually developing. 82% of 1,000 iPad owners surveyed had consulted e-commerce sites or apps via their tablets in the first quarter of 2012.
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