Reaching and engaging your consumers


  • It is essential for e-retailers to display all elements of their pricing in the local currency, Euros, and be transparent about any additional charges. Where international shipping is required, it is necessary to be up-front about shipping costs and any export duties or other taxes due.
  • Though French consumers are rated as ‘moderately proficient’ in English, an e-retailer should take all possible steps to translate his webpage into French, even if just a translation option is offered.
  • E-retailers targeting French consumers should clearly offer them the online payment mechanisms they are familiar with; this is overwhelmingly credit and debit cards (51%). The e-money service Paypal is, however, growing in popularity and accounts for 16% of online payments.
  • French consumers are very confident when it comes to placing trust in online payment mechanisms. Most make online purchases using bank cards, and consumers have become even more confident with plastic due to wide-spread improvements in payment security. Privacy and security policies, however, should always be made easily accessible no matter what market you’re targeting.
  • Placing high value on convenience and speed, the French should be given the information they need to make a quick decision, including measurements in metric. Apparel and footwear should always be converted into European sizes.
  • The French are known to be very demanding when it comes to delivery – low-cost or free shipping is a must. Consumers expect free delivery for small items in a 48-hour timeframe, but infrequently free next day delivery, please see our Logistics section for further information.
  • Home delivery as a delivery service option is a must in French e-commerce, with 87.2% of online buyers using this delivery method over a 12 month period. An e-retailer should also consider collection points and Click & Collect service options.
  • French consumers want all the information they need to answer questions, resolve problems, or learn more about specific products on a webpage itself. A majority (73%) will only call a toll-free number for customer service as a last resort and 84% say that they require more online assistance before purchasing.


  • M-commerce is still very much developing in France. In the first quarter of 2015, purchases made via mobile device only accounted for around 22% of total e-commerce, well below the global average of 34%.
  • Only just over a quarter of French consumers have purchased an item using a smartphone, and just 15% of consumers stated that mobile apps were their preferred method of online shopping.
  • However, the growth of purchases made on smartphone and tablet devices is now far outstripping the growth of conventional computers, and retailers should not ignore the necessity of optimising their online shop for this channel.
  • French smartphone users tend to use apps more than websites on their phones. Despite this, large French retailers’ apps get consistently low reviews. E-shoppers report bugs, broken code scanners, irritating ads, and privacy intrusions, creating a demand for more user-friendly apps.
    60% of e-retailers polled said m-commerce was their main growth driver during 2014, and this proportion is expected to increase in the near future.
  • Personalised marketing is the key to breaking into the French m-commerce market – French consumers are more likely to make purchases where they are treated as individuals; 54% of customers say that they’d buy more if their interfaces were personalised.

Ecommerce Sales By Device

Currently, 63% of consumers now use mobile devices to research products and it is expected that in coming years increasing numbers of these consumers will become mobile purchasers; m-commerce is expected to increase 40% year-on-year to 2016.


  • Relatively affluent consumers who spend a significant amount of their free time shopping. Most online shoppers fit into the 25-34 year-old age bracket.
  • Hesitant spenders who frequently shop around for the best deal. Price is an essential part of a French consumer’s purchasing decision.
  • Despite a historic inclination towards low prices, quality is becoming increasingly important for French consumers, who are now tending to favour products with quality labels.
  • The quality and quantity of after-sales service is a pivotal part of a French consumer’s purchasing decision.
  • Frequently purchase new and innovative products.
  • Whether or not French customers prefer to buy local products often depends upon what is being purchased; French customers place more trust in domestic websites for travel, but tend to rely on foreign websites when buying technical products.
  • French online shoppers like to compare products and read reviews before committing to a sale. >70% of online buyers have reported that they buy goods on recommendations from friends and relatives and actively seek peer-to-peer advice before making a purchase.
  • Repeated purchases can be encouraged with store loyalty cards, a particular preference amongst French consumers.


As with many other Western countries, online shopping peaks around the Christmas period in France.

The busiest online shopping day in France is January 7th.

Wednesday is the busiest online shopping day of the week.


In France a vast proportion of marketing budgets are still being devoted to offline marketing channels, which of a total ad spend of $15.2 billion in 2015 will cost French marketeers roughly $12 billion, a large sum when compared with the expected $3.2 billion spent on digital ads and $714 million spent on mobile.

Likely drawing on the still comparatively low rate of mobile spending, mobile ad’s proportion of the digital budget in France is fairly insubstantial when compared to most other developed internet markets.

However, a shift of French marketing budgets from traditional media to digital channels is under way, despite happening at a slower pace than in most other developed internet markets.



Social media is a marketing channel for an e-retailer in France, rather than a sales one.

Other areas of interest

Meeting your regulatory responsibilities

The legislation and tax applicable to you when selling to French consumers will vary depending on whether you are an EU incorporated entity.

Receiving Payment From Your Customers

Online shoppers in France are very confident when it comes to placing trust in online payment mechanisms.

Getting the goods to your customers

Low-cost or free delivery options have been reported to be the most influential factor for French consumers.

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