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French shoppers spend over €90 billion online in 2018, but basket size falls

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France saw ecommerce sales rise to €92.6 billion as consumers pivoted to smaller, more frequent transactions. The data from ecommerce association Fevad found that online sales had risen 13.4% year-on-year.

This growth came as the average basket size fell 8% to €60 in the year, a decline which Fevad said had started in 2012.

However, this fall was offset by a considerable increase in the number of transactions, with over 1.5 billion orders registered. This was up 20.7% year-on-year.

Fevad said this “reflect[ed] an evolution of buying behaviours on the internet which concern more and more everyday products.”

December decline

The growth was despite a slowdown in December, during which sales showed an annual rise of only 8%. This compared to 16% in October and 14% in November.

Fevad attributed the December decline to the beginning of the Yellow Vest protests, sparked by a rise in fuel tax but expanding to encompass a number of dissidents.

However, it is worth comparing to the UK figures, where a similar slowdown in growth manifested despite the lack of any similarly disruptive events were taking place despite political in-fighting over the state’s impending exit from the European Union.

There the Capgemini IMRG eRetail Sales Index recorded only a 3.6% growth figure for December, well below the year’s annual average of 11.8%. The report’s authors blamed low shopper confidence and results and projected that as this uncertainty continued

Plus ça change

Fevad said that its index of leading sites had seen growth of 7% in 2018 – the growth was down 1.6 percentage points compared to 2017. The agency claimed that the impact of the Yellow Vests crisis had been less on these sites than on other sections of the market.

More mobile

Mobile sales saw impressive growth of 22%, less than the even higher figure of 38% in 2017.

Projections for 2019

Fevad said that the passing of the €90 billion mark had shown the underlying strength of the market in the face of challenges.

The agency was therefore confident that 2019 sales would hit €100 billion, “despite the uncertainties that weigh on the evolution of household consumption in 2019.”

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