Consumer E-Commerce Grows in France

A study by Benchmark Group on e-commerce in France puts the value of online business-to-consumer sales in 1999 at 1.3 billion French francs (200 million Euros), and much of the credit goes to increased promotion.

Online Business to Consumer Sales in France
Year Sales Percent
French Francs Euros
1996 39 million 6 million
1997 160 million 24.5 million +310 %
1998 400 million 61 million +150 %
1300 million 198 million +225 %
3800 million 579 million +192 %
Source: Benchmark Group

In 1998, Internet sales amounted to 400 million FRF (61 million Euros), the study found. E-commerce sites have, on average, doubled their audience in the space of the last six months. Thirty-eight percent of sites reported more than 1 million pages viewed. Only 5 percent topped the million mark in 1998.

Benchmark’s survey of the 75 most active online sales sites found that two-thirds of the sites generated a turnover of more than 200,000 FRF (30,500 Euros) per month. The conversion rate from visitors to customers was 2 percent on average.

Promotion budgets have grown substantially among the top e-commerce sites in France. Budgets of between 300,000 and 500,000 FRF (46,000 and 76,000 Euros) are now the norm, the study found. In 1998, most budgets fell short of 200,00 francs (30,500 euros).

Travel and tourism is the leading e-commerce sector in France, according to Benchmark, ahead of information technology and cultural products. The study also found 700,000 Internet users made online purchases in 1999, and this number is set to rise to 2 million in 2000. Also in 2000, commercial transactions over the Internet are set to exceed sales via the French Minitel system for the first time. Benchmark predicts that online sales will top 3.8 billion francs (580 million euros) in 2000.

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