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Online sales seasons in France - statistics & facts

While traditional sales seasons in France contribute greatly to end-of-year sales, especially for the retail sector, e-commerce sales are experiencing fluctuating periods of intense activity. Each year, the same events boost online sales: Black Friday week, the French Days and Christmas sales. Amazon, the biggest player, has created Amazon Prime Day with its discounts, and has remained the most popular e-commerce platform for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Black Friday week, Christmas and the French Days

The most dynamic months in terms of transactions are those around end-of-year celebrations: December, November and January record the highest online sales volume in France, with around 15 percent of purchases made online in 2019.
Black Friday, which took place on November 27 in 2020, has quickly conquered France, with total online expenditure amounting to 332 million euros in 2019. Cyber Monday is as popular as the latter and had an average online expenditure of 320 million euros. The French Days were born in March 2018, as a French equivalent to Black Friday. With the intent to support and revive commerce in France (outside of the regular sales periods), the e-commerce platform reported a frequentation index of 139, despite the sales index of the French Days being the strongest on inauguration in 2018, with an index of 1.4, compared to sales 30 days before the promotions.
Amazon ranks at the top every season, except for the French Days. Fnac also did well, with a steady market share of eight percent during the sales season. Fnac (Fédération nationale d'achats des cadres) is one of the biggest French retail store chains, specializing in electronics and cultural products. The company has also expanded its online sales.
For Christmas 2020, shopping took place at least three weeks before the holiday, and during Black Friday promotions. However, with the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, 62 percent of shoppers are expected to buy their gifts online, mainly to avoid crowds.

Online shopping rise during COVID-19

With the number of COVID-19 cases in France rising, regulated social interactions and closed shops, buying Christmas presents online, while knowing that popular local shops are closing, has become somewhat of a moral struggle for French consumers. But for most, maintaining online sales activity seems crucial, allowing households with financial difficulties to make purchases at a lower cost, as many felt visiting physical stores was unsafe. Thus, the French willingness to spend for the 2020 holiday season varied, with 19 percent of consumers wanting to spend between 51 and 100 euros before the reconfinement was announced.
Delivery services were of crucial importance for French e-commerce. Typically, French people's preferred method of delivery for the French Days were directly to the home or to a collection point. With the current restictions due to COVID-19, home delivery saw more demand, even though major delays were reported during the first confinement. Click and collect, especially for products such as books, has seen a significant rise in France.

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Online sales seasons in France

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Black Friday Week

French Days

Christmas sales

Delivery methods

Changes due to COVID-19


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