Few French Companies Have Web Sites

Less than one-third of the largest businesses in France have a Web site, according to research by Benchmark Group.

By the end of 1998, only 27 percent of the 1,500 French firms had set up a Web site, Benchmark found. For the study, Benchmark visited over 400 sites and interviewed 100 site managers during the last quarter of 1998. The complete results are available in Benchmark’s report “Les Grandes Enterprises Francaises Et L’Internet.”

The communications industry was the best represented on the Web, with 59 percent of its companies having a Web presence. The agribusiness sector was the worst with only 16 percent of its firms on the Web.

Eighty percent of French business sites cost more than 76,000 euros ($82,000 US) to develop. Eight percent cost more than 152,000 euros ($164,165 US), Benchmark found. Three-quarters of the French sites are hosted on company servers. One-third of the sites in the study are updated on a daily basis.

The most efficient sites in terms of speed and content were in the commerce and transportation sectors, Benchmark found. Finance firms have the most elaborate sites, and the automotive industry has the most sophisticated. Benchmark found that chemical-pharmaceutical concerns have the best corporate communications, and agribusiness sites have the poorest development.

Other findings of the Benchmark study include:

  • 43 percent of the sites were at least bilingual
  • 70 percent contained information on the company’s corporate communications
  • 13 percent allow for e-commerce
  • 28 percent have a heading labeled “employment”
  • 4 percent offer a mailing list
  • 24 percent feature a search engine
  • 44 percent get fewer than 5,000 hits a month
  • 20 percent get more than 100,000 hits a month
  • 50 percent of the sites have never taken advertising and don’t plan on it.

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