France is one of Europe’s top online markets for fashion. French consumers favor credit cards, though their preferred payment methods vary based on what they’re buying. Any company expanding into France should be prepared to offer all preferred local payment methods to ensure that customers can checkout using whichever method they deem most convenient and secure.

This report is your field guide to growing online sales and increasing payment acceptance, cart conversions and revenue in France.

France at a Glance1

  • Population: 67.1 million
  • GDP: €2.3 trillion
  • eCommerce market value: €81.7 billion
  • Mobile commerce market value: €17.2 billion
  • % of Population using the internet: 88%
  • % of adults with a smartphone: 67.8%
  • % of Population with bank accounts: 94%
  • Card penetration per capita: 0.66

eCommerce and Payment Trends in France

Discounts and Deals Drive Sales

To capitalize on this market, businesses should accommodate the French appetite for discounts and deals. Consumers are keen to price-compare before purchasing, and they gravitate toward flash sales and other promotions.1 However, businesses will need to figure out a way to increase sale volume in order to make up for lower margins resulting from discounts.1

Embrace Mobile Apps and the Mobile Web 

One of the fastest-growing areas in French ecommerce is mobile commerce. In-app and mobile browser purchases each represented €8.6 billion in sales. It’s clear that optimizing for the smartphone shopping experience online and in-app is crucial.1

Bank Transfers Are Popular for Big Ticket Purchases

Bank transfers are currently the fastest growing payment method in terms of value.1 However, they are mainly used for high-priced items, making the overall number of transactions conducted with bank transfers appear low. This may lead some merchants to overlook this important payment option, which is rapidly gaining in popularity.

Accept the most popular payment methods in Europe

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eCommerce in France2

  • Annual eCommerce Revenue: $42,674 million
  • Average ecommerce revenue per user: $949.80
  • % of ecommerce purchases that are cross-border: 3%
  • % of population making online purchases: 59%

Popular eCommerce Payment Methods in France (by Value)

Chatrt showing cards are the most popular payment method in France
2019 J.P. Morgan Global Payment Trends

Which Payment Methods Have You Used in the Past Three Months to Purchase Products or Services?

Chart of payment methods french consumers report using in the last three months.
Consumer Technographics Global Online Benchmark Survey, 2019, Forrester Research, Inc.

Key Considerations:

Credit cards: Sixty-one percent of French shoppers use credit cards for digital purchases, and this checkout method will grow in popularity in the next several years.2 In fact, credit card spend is expected to grow at 15.8% until 2021.1

Digital wallets: PayPal is the most popular digital wallet in France, with more than 10 million active users. MasterPass by Mastercard, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, and Google Pay all have a market presence as well.2 PayPal holds the advantage because it is perceived to be more secure than other options, though that could change as consumers gain confidence in other wallets.1

Bank transfers: As local payment methods go, bank transfers are not going to eclipse domestic credit cards, but they are becoming more in vogue for big-ticket items. This may be a result of consumers who used to rely on paper checks adopting bank transfers as a digital way to pay for high-priced purchases.1

Meet French Consumers’ Expectations for Convenience and Value

To succeed in a mature market like France, businesses must offer locally preferred payment methods and cater to the ways consumers shop. In France, that means providing the discounts and click+collect options people want, allowing them to save money and make purchases their way.

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