2018 report on e-commerce in France : the French spent €90 billion on the Internet


    Paris, 5 February 2019  


2018 report on e-commerce in France : the French spent

€90 billion on the Internet

According to the study published today by Fevad, online sales continued to progress in 2018.

This study is based on data gathered from the main retail sites and the aggregate amount of transactions made via the main payment service providers. The methodology’s consistency and data processing have been validated by KPMG.

A 13.4% rise in sales in 2018

In total, €92.6 billion were spent on the Internet last year. The dynamic continued for the e-commerce sector in 2018 with an overall increase of 13.4% despite a decrease in growth in December as a result of the social climate (Yellow Vests movement) with an 8% growth (compared to +16% in October and +14% in November). The impact of this slowdown on the annual e-commerce turnover is estimated to be 0.7 point growth, namely about €600 million.

1.5 billion transactions with a shopping basket that continues to decrease

The average amount of transactions in 2018 are in the region of €60, namely €5 less than one year ago. The decrease, which started in 2012, continues. It reflects a change in buying behaviour on the Internet, which increasingly concerns everyday products. Furthermore, it continues to be compensated for by the increase in buying frequency. This means a sharp rise in the number of transactions with more than 1.5 billion orders registered, namely +20.7% compared to 2017.

The creation of online retail sites continues with a 12.6% increase in one year, namely 21,800 additional websites and almost 200,000 active retail websites.  

The leading sites maintain their growth despite the economic climate

The B2C products retail websites of the iCE 100 Panel (index which allows the growth of the leading websites to be measured on a like-for-like basis) saw their sales progress by 7% in 2018. This growth was slightly below that of 2017 (by 1.6 points) but reflected the more pronounced slowdown in household consumption (-1.36% in 2018 compared to -0.8% in 2017 – Source: Banque de France). It is also noted that the downward impact of the Yellow Vests crisis appears to have been more limited on the leading websites than on the rest of the market.

Online travel-tourism sales maintained a high level of growth in the 4th quarter despite a slight slowdown in December. Over the past two years, it has shown strong growth with +9% in 2018, in a climate of good sales performance for all on and offline travel agencies (business volume for bookings +7% in 2018 after +8,5% in 2017) (Source: Baromètre Les Entreprises du Voyage/Gestour/Orchestra).

Internet sales for professionals continue to enjoy a strong growth with a 17.8% increase in 2018. 

Mobile purchases have reached a new level 

The iPM index, designed to measure the volume of sales occurred on marketplaces (sales by retailers hosted on the iCE’s marketplaces) continued to grow in 2018 in a similar pace than in 2017 with +16%. These sales are increasingly important for the sites’ activities: they represent 30% of the total volume of business for the websites participating in the iPM (compared to 27% in 2017).

The iCM index, which measures mobile Internet sales (smartphones and tablets, mobile sites and apps excluding the download of apps and excluding sales on marketplaces) progressed by 22% in one year after very strong growth in 2017 (+38%). Mobile sales reached a new milestone with a business volume of 35% for iCM Panel sites on mobile terminals, namely +5 points in one year.

€100 milliard turnover expected in 2019 

As expected, the €90 billion mark for Internet sales was crossed in 2018. This shows the sector’s ability to overcome adverse market conditions thanks to its intrinsic dynamism which allows it to maintain a high level of growth. This dynamism should allow e-commerce to pass the historic €100 billion mark by the end of the year, despite uncertainties concerning changes in household consumption in 2019.


The data collected by Fevad from retail sites correspond to the following definitions: 

Electronic commerce index (iCE): Turnover realised directly by iCE 100 Panel companies via fixed and mobile Internet. The sites which edit a marketplace do not count the volume of business realised on the marketplace, nor the commission generated, but only orders delivered in France. All delivery sites are used (including in-store collections). It consists in ordered turnover (the order date is taken into account and not the delivery date). Cancellations, exchanges and returns are deducted and shipping costs included. The VAT for sales to private individuals is included and the VAT for sales to professionals is excluded.

Marketplace index (iPM): Sites that edit a marketplace declare sales realised on the market place by user retailers.

Mobile commerce index (iCM): Turnover realised directly by the company on smartphones and digital tablets in the context of mobile sites and applications (excluding  applications downloading).

Composition of the iCE 100 panel: More than 100 sites: mass consumer products (100 sites), e-tourism (15 sites) and sales to professionals (20 sites).

Composition of the PSP panel: Nine secure payment platforms: Adyen, Dalenys, Ingenico Payment Services, Monetico Paiement, Monext, Paypal, PayZen, Verifone, Worldline.

Estimation of the total market: The calculation for the estimation of the total market is obtained from data collected from the iCE 100 panel websites, as well as the value of electronic payments (excluding members of the iCE 100 panel) communicated by service providers participating in the PSP panel and an estimation of offline payments (FEVAD survey of iCE 100 retailers).

About Fevad:

The Fédération du e-commerce et de la vente à distance (e-commerce and distance selling federation) brings together 600 companies and 800 websites. It is the representative organisation for the electronic and distance selling sector in France. In particular, the Fevad’s mission is to collect and publish information enabling a better understanding of the sector and to act in favour of the sustainable and responsible development of e-commerce and distance selling in France.

To find out more: www.fevad.com / follow us on Twitter: @FevadActu

About KPMG France

KPMG France’s Data & Analytics teams and e-commerce experts accompany FEVAD in the review process for the figures communicated to the market. KPMG France’s Data & Analytics experts intervene more widely in order to support their customers throughout the entire data value chain around three strategic sectors: growth and customer experience, performance optimisation and risk management.

KPMG is a leading accounting and consulting group in France. KPMG France is a member of KPMG International, a network of independent firms practicing in 152 countries. Our 9,600 professionals intervene for international key accounts, medium-sized enterprises and family businesses as well as micro-businesses across different sectors of industry, trade and financial services.

Press Contact: Nathalie Laîné – Communication Manager

+33 (0)1 42 56 38 86 nlaine@fevad.com