French Financial Times subsidiary – Les Echos - reports that 1 million people started buying online in the second quarter of 2007 compared to the first with the result that 4% of all retail is now transacted online in France. The number of active online merchants in the same period has grown by 50% and 7.8 billion Euros were spent on line in the first quarter of 2007 – an increase of 38% on the same quarter in the previous year.
The forecast from Fevad (la Fédération du commerce électronique et de la vente à distance) is for 16 billion Euros in 2007 followed by 30 billion Euros by the year 2010. In total there are 19 million online buyers in France.
According to Médiamétrie/Net Ratings Ebay is the most visited site with 9,5 millions visitors in the second quarter, followed by the French rail network voyages-sncf.com (5,6 millions), laredoute.fr (5,5), fnac.com (5,3) et cdiscount.com (4,7).
The conclusion: If you have something to sell which appeals to French consumers – they are becoming serious online buyers. The French were a little slower to move online than other countries because they have had access in most homes to a sophisticated electronic consumer directory provided by France Telecom and La Poste called Minitel. Minitel – which is now also available online . This provided not only information quickly and electronically before the web, it also allowed travel bookings and online purchases to be made using credit cards. In most of the rest of the world, people were still relying on Yellow printed guides delivered to homes! Now that’s changing rapidly and the web is replacying Minitel as the information source of choice.
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