With spending at over €130 billion in 2021 (an increase of 16% compared to 2020), things are looking good – great, even –for French e-commerce. According to the French organisation FEVAD (Federation of E-commerce and Distance Selling), 81% of French internet users now buy online, putting France in second place in the European market, after the UK.
What profiles do these consumers have? How do they behave online? Which are the latest trends to follow? Let’s find out with our digital portrait of online buyers in France!
Online buyer profiles
Whereas more and more French people are buying online each year, the profile of an online buyer hasn’t changed much: they are still young, city-dwelling, ultra-connected graduates.
The 25-34 yrs age bracket is the most representative, despite a substantial increase in the over-sixties (a general sign of the growth of e-commerce). People from the Paris region buy more online than those who live in the country, and professionals buy online more readily than non-graduates.
Beyond these socio-professional characteristics, online buyers have become more demanding as consumers. They have little patience with stock shortages or delays in delivery these days. They are used to researching any intended purchases online and in-store in terms of their reviews and prices.
Consumer buying behaviour
Although most French internet users buy from their computers, purchases made directly from mobile phones continue to gain ground, with 17.1 million people in France already doing so (i.e. 41.4% of online buyers). Unsurprisingly, young people are the most inclined to buy from their smartphones while the over-sixties still largely prefer to use their computers.
In terms of payment methods, almost 80% of purchases are still paid by bank card in France despite the appearance of some alternative payment methods like digital wallets (like PayPal) and gift vouchers.
Finally, deliveries made to home addresses remain the most common, with over 86% of internet users having chosen this kind of delivery. Deliveries to pick up points (64.3%) and Click & Collect (41.1%) are the two other most popular alternatives.
Any advice for attracting buyers?
#1 Be consistent across the business
Lines between physical and virtual channels don’t exist for online buyers whose buying journey is an entirely multichannel experience.
For example, two-thirds of internet users carry out research online before buying in store, while only a third of online buyers will go to a store before purchasing online. From the selling side, it is more important than ever to adopt an online multichannel strategy aligned to customer needs.
#2 Nurture your platform’s user experience (UX)
Online buyers are tough cookies when it comes to the speed of pages loading and the smoothness of their buying journey. But these things go without saying, other levers need to be pulled to offer a high-quality, memorable experience to your customers.
Personalising the buying journey (displaying the cart in brand colours, dynamic payment forms, customised acknowledgement page, etc) is a great way to create an environment that builds trust and boosts conversion rates.
#3 Offer a range of payment methods
Split, deferred and shared payments – there are many different payment methods that allow consumers to enjoy greater flexibility when managing their expenses!
For merchants, these payment methods (which are simple and inexpensive to implement) translate into an often significant increase in purchase value and conversion rates.
As regards split payments, 74% of sellers say they have a “significant” impact on their turnover (with 30% calling the impact “very significant”)!
Young, urban, and educated, today's online shoppers are increasingly demanding and no longer tolerate lines between in-store and online sales. To stand out in an increasingly competitive environment, your business needs to offer a seamless shopping experience.