eCommerce Scenario in France - Starting a Successful Online Business in France (2023)

eCommerce Scenario in France - Starting a Successful Online Business in France (2)

eCommerce Scenario in France – Starting a Successful Online Business in France

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Global eCommerce sales have increased dramatically over the past few years, and the COVID-19 crisis has further boosted the growth of the B2C and B2B eCommerce industries.

Europe is among the biggest eCommerce markets in the world, along with the US and China. The French Republic is among the powerful countries in terms of economy. This is because of the diverse economy that includes tourism, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals.

According to Investopedia, “France is the world’s seventh biggest economy, and the third-largest eCommerce market in Europe, with 73% of the French population having made at least one online purchase in the last year.”

eCommerce Scenario in France - Starting a Successful Online Business in France (5)

The ecommerce industry is becoming more and more accessible for all. Even for the countries where English isn’t the primary language. A research series by Common Sense Advisory -Can’t Read, Won’t Buy is highlighting the importance of multilingual websites for international B2B and B2C marketplaces.

According to this report, “Customers prefer to make purchases from online stores in their local language, as opposed to a foreign language like English.”

Here are some of the findings:

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  • 40% won’t buy in another language.
  • 65% prefer content in their native language.
  • 73% want reviews of products in their language.
  • 65% prefer content in their language — even if it’s of poor quality.

Europeans are also among the people who strongly prefer their native languages. So, how eCommerce is catering to this requirement?

The technological advancements and powerful multilingual & multi-currency features on eCommerce websites is making it easier for people to expand globally and let the people make purchases using their own language and currency.

Moving forward, we will be discussing the current scenario in France and how eCommerce is leading the digital transformation in the country.

Benefits of Starting an Online Business in France

These are some benefits that are applicable for both offline as well as online businesses in France:

  • The president wants you to start your own business and he might help you with the fundings as well. The French president Emmanuel Macron has declared his ambition to rebrand France as ‘the start-up nation’.
  • After a recent amendment in the French unemployment benefits system, employees who quit their job in order to start their own business might be able to claim benefits for 15 months. So technically, the social security system will pay you while you establish yourself.
  • The French ‘micro entrepreneur’ status is specifically designed for people who want to start a relatively smaller business. So, you can start small and then expand.

In simple terms, we can say that the cost of starting a business in France would be less as you get all kinds of support from the government.

How to Start an Online Business in France?

According to the Ernst & Young G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer report 2013, it’s easier to start a business in France than most other G20 countries since it’s cheaper, there are fewer steps, and it takes less time.

The initial steps and requirements for starting a business are common across the globe. Not to mention, this is applicable for both, offline as well as online businesses. This is where to start from:

  1. You’ll need to research the market and identify a potential niche for your business.
  2. You’ll have to make budget forecasts and financial plans.
  3. If required, you will have to look for funding and investors as well.
  4. You will have to set up the infrastructure for your business.
  5. You will need to arrange the inventory for your business (if required).
  6. You will have to hire employees for your business.

Exploring the Types of Businesses in France

The types of businesses in France are segmented into four categories. Entreprise Individuelle, Entreprise Individuelle à Responsabilité Limitée, Société à Responsabilité Limitée, and Société Anonyme Par Actions.

  • A sole proprietorship — or an enterprise individuelle — is comparatively easy to set up. If you wish to begin with sole proprietorship, do not create and establish a separate legal entity for your business.
  • An Entreprise Individuelle à Responsabilité Limitée is a company in which there would be no personal liability and just like enterprise individuelle, there will be no requirement to form a separate legal entity.
  • A Société à Responsibilité Limitée company or limited liability is the most common type of business in France for small to medium sized companies. It combines features that are characteristic of both capital companies and partnerships.
  • A Société Anonyme Par Actions is a joint stock company that is the most frequently used by large companies. In this type of business, shares of the company’s stock can be bought and sold by shareholders.

Choosing a Category for Business in France

In France, businesses are primarily divided into five categories:

  • Commercial or industrial, such as running a factory or shop or cafe;
  • Artisan who do some manufacturing and create unique, functional items on their own;
  • Freelance professionals working independently and providing a services such as a writer, musician;
  • Commercial agent, where you act, negotiate, or sell on behalf of another company;
  • Agriculture related business.

The following graphic shows the top ecommerce product categories and the revenue forecast in France:

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eCommerce Scenario in France - Starting a Successful Online Business in France (6)

Choosing the Company Name in France

The Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle (INPI) lets you check online whether the name you want to use for your company is already in use by another company or not. Similarly, when you create a website, check that the name you want is available through the AFNIC, the registry for .fr domain names.

Financial Assistance by French Banks

French banks offer financial support to the new businesses. You can visit the website of your Conseil Régional for information on financial support, loans and business advice. If you are unemployed or about to become unemployed, it will be worth researching two biz schemes: ACCRE and NACRE.

  • ACCRE offers financial help to unemployed people who want to start a new business. The financial aid is received in the form of paying reduced social charges.
  • NACRE offers interest-free loans and business advice.

Business Registration in France

All businesses must register before they can start their operations. You have to do this through the Centre de Formalités des Entreprises or CFE) or you can also do this online at

You need to make your application through the appropriate CFE as there are different CFE for each type of business activity.

The documents you need to register will vary greatly depending on your type of business but may include:

  • Proof of address (EDF utility bill, rental agreement);
  • Valid ID (valid passport, residence card);
  • Proof that your spouse understands liability.

Creating Online Presence

Irrespective of the nature of your business, online presence has become a must have for all. No matter if you run a manufacturing industry or brick and mortar store or eCommerce store. You have to be present on the digital channels in one way or another.

So, the final step would be to launch a website for your business and create profiles on various social media platforms. This is an important step for ecommerce businesses.

eCommerce Leading the Digital Transformation in France

Over the course of 20 years, ecommerce has evolved from a naive concept into a major contributor for the world’s economy. Every now and then we are introduced to a new kind of business model. For instance, private label, white label, dropshipping, print on demand, subscription box, hyperlocal marketplaces, etc. The French population is significantly interested in advanced technology and digitalization. They are also capable enough to understand and implement these flourishing business models.

When we talk about the current scenario in France, no doubt ecommerce is leading the way in digital transformation.

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eCommerce Scenario in France - Starting a Successful Online Business in France (7)

French marketplaces can be identified by high Internet penetration, growing mobile services and advancements in the delivery structure.From a low baseline, French mobile commerce is set to expand quickly (Source:

eCommerce Scenario in France - Starting a Successful Online Business in France (8)

The market is thriving and booming with several opportunities for online sellers such as:

  • large and diverse consumer base
  • high purchasing power
  • reliable payment methods
  • great location
  • widespread use of the French language

Currently, ecommerce stores in France are mostly either large retailers or small merchants. This is a completely different scenario from the UK or Germany where mid-sized retailers are more common.

eCommerce Business Strategies for Selling Online in France

While ecommerce is generally considered as just buying and selling products online, it’s much more than that. Not every ecommerce business is the same because there are different strategies to launch different types of marketplaces.

And these strategies are not just applicable for France but all other regions as well.

eCommerce Scenario in France - Starting a Successful Online Business in France (9)

Out of these three strategies, the primary and the most important is developing an eCommerce marketplace. You can go with a SaaS based solution or a License Based solution based on your preferences.

CedCommerce helps you build reliable, robust, and unique marketplace solutions both for Magento and Shopify. If you are looking for multi vendor eCommerce platforms near the eCommerce platforms Yo!Kart and CS-Cart But, if you are someone who wants to launch a marketplace quickly, then go for a SaaS based solution like Shopify. The SaaS based solutions will have recurring monthly/yearly charges. Once you have developed your eCommerce marketplace, then you can proceed with the other strategies. The industry domination and business expansion factors will completely depend on your business idea.

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In a Nutshell,

Nearly 70% of the French people prefer buying products from their local brands and are eCommerce ready. Also, the government aims to be one of the global leaders in the digital transformation of businesses. So, setting up an eCommerce business in France is surely a profitable idea.

About FATbit

FATbit Technologies is a globally recognized eCommerce solutions provider that helps entrepreneurs launch various types of eCommerce websites with its broad range of off-the-shelf business solutions. MVP, CMS, CRM, ERP, and Mobile development are some of its other services. Clutch also awarded FATbit as one of the Top 1000 Global companies of 2021


How do I start an ecommerce business in France? ›

You have to do this through the Centre de Formalités des Entreprises or CFE) or you can also do this online at You need to make your application through the appropriate CFE as there are different CFE for each type of business activity.

Is online shopping popular in France? ›

France is one of Europe's e-commerce heavyweights, with a market that has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years. Ranking third after Germany and the United Kingdom, e-commerce users in France were estimated at over 50 million in 2022.

How many people shop online in France? ›

Ecommerce in France
Population65.1 million people
– % internet users89%
Online sales€112.2 billion (2020)
Online stores worth mentioning:3 Suisses, Cdiscount,

Which country is best for ecommerce? ›

10 Best Countries for Opening an E-Commerce Business
  • China.
  • Japan.
  • Singapore.
  • South Korea.
  • Hong Kong.
  • United States.
  • Canada.
  • United Kingdom.
6 Jan 2022

Is France good for starting a business? ›

The country has been at the heart of European history and it is one of the top locations in Europe to open a business. A major economic power, France attracts foreign investors worldwide who are interested in starting a business in France.

Is France a good place to start a business? ›

An advanced and industrialised country, France is the third-largest economy in Europe and the 6th largest in the world in terms of GDP. Fostering a pro-business environment, a sophisticated market and a highly educated workforce, France is an attractive place to set up a business.

What is the most popular product in France? ›

Popular product categories

Among the top products purchased by French online buyers are clothing/footwear, books, home electronics, cosmetics, hair care, and skincare, and children's items. And what do the French like to purchase from abroad?

What is the best brand in France? ›

The BrandZ Top 10 Most Valuable French Brands 2019
Rank 2019BrandCategory
1Louis VuittonLuxury
4L'Oréal ParisPersonal Care
6 more rows

Where do French people shop online? ›

Let's have a look at the top 10 online stores in France.
Top 10 online stores in France.
1. Amazon.fr5.902 million dollars
2. Veepee.fr2.278 million dollars
3. Cdiscount2.127 million dollars
4. Auchan1,328 million dollars
5. Fnac1,269 million dollars
5 more rows

Which online shopping app is best on France? ›

App App NamePublisher Publisher
1ActionAction BV
2Amazon ShoppingAmazon Mobile LLC
3SHEIN-Fashion Shopping OnlineRoadget Business PTE. LTD.
4Lidl PlusLidl
46 more rows

Which E-commerce is best in Europe? ›

Top 100 eCommerce Retailers in Europe
Top E-Commerce Retailers Europe 2020
2Otto GroupGermany
13 more rows

Which ecommerce platform is best in Europe? ›

Online retail stores run on ecommerce software. Some of the best ecommerce software solutions in Europe are Magento or WooCommerce. Want to start your own online business fast and easy? New online stores in Europe often go for hosted ecommerce software such as Shopify, Bigcommerce or Shopware.

What is the biggest ecommerce market in Europe? ›

The e-commerce market continues to grow
CountryExpected E-Commerce revenue 2020Expected E-Commerce revenue 2022
1. Verenigd Koninkrijk€80.533 million€117.351 million
2. Germany€72.681million€81.214 million
3. France€44.265 million€61.920 million
4. Spain€17.042 million€24.689 million
6 more rows

How successful is France? ›

With a GDP of approximately $2.6 trillion in 2020 (down 8.2% in 2020, +1.5% y-o-y growth in 2019), France is the world's fifth-largest economy and Europe's third-largest economy after Germany and the UK. It has substantial agricultural resources and maintains a strong manufacturing sector, despite a recent decline.

What is the most popular business in France? ›

LVMH was the leading company in France by market capitalization as of November 2022, with a market capitalization amounting to approximately 366.3 billion U.S. dollars. L'Oréal and Hermes followed, with market capitalizations reaching 192.9 billion and 159.1 billion U.S. dollars, respectively.

Why is French Good for business? ›

It's also a language used for trade and business in parts of Africa, North America and Europe. French is a romance language and while it may seem old-fashioned, it's an extremely versatile tongue spoken in over 40 countries including France, Canada, Belgium, and Switzerland. It's in no way a dying language!

What are the business opportunities in France? ›

Business ideas to start in France without money
  • Social media management: One of the business ideas that you can start in France without money is the social media management business. ...
  • Content writing: ...
  • Translating: ...
  • Life coaching: ...
  • Babysitting: ...
  • Verbatim Talents: ...
  • MaxiMagic: ...
  • Palermo Coffee:
28 Jun 2022

Why is France a successful country? ›

Tourism is a major contributor to the economy – France generally tops lists of most visited countries. Other major economic sectors include industry, agriculture, energy and defense. The country is one of the world's top exporters of weapons.

Is France a successful country? ›

France's economic freedom score is 65.9, making its economy the 52nd freest in the 2022 Index. France is ranked 31st among 45 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is below the regional average but above the world average.

Where is best style in France? ›

Known as the 'City of Lights', Paris is famous for being one of the major fashion capitals of the world. A perfect place for clothes shopping in France, one can go to stores with high-fashion designer labels or thrift stores with amazing collections of vintage clothing, accessories and other items.

How many websites are there in France? ›

By the end of 2021, there were about 200,100 active e-commerce websites in France. That is a slight decrease compared to the previous year when the e-commerce sector had about 200,600 active websites.

What is the biggest media in France? ›

Founded in 1826, Le Figaro is the oldest national daily in France. With it's conservative editorial line, Le Figaro is also the largest national newspaper in France. Other Groupe Figaro publications include TV Magazine and Evene.

What is the most sold thing in France? ›

As of January 2022, fashion was the leading e-commerce category in France, purchased by nearly 60 percent of online shoppers. Cultural products ranked second, with 47 percent.

What products does France need? ›

Imports The top imports of France are Cars ($35.5B), Packaged Medicaments ($18.5B), Refined Petroleum ($14.7B), Motor vehicles; parts and accessories (8701 to 8705) ($12.7B), and Crude Petroleum ($10.5B), importing mostly from Germany ($101B), Italy ($49.5B), Spain ($47.6B), Belgium ($44.4B), and Netherlands ($43.7B).

What is France known best for? ›

France is known all around the world for Paris and its monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and the Notre-Dame cathedral. French people are very passionate about their culture and art, which is showcased in many museums like the Louvre.

What products sell well in France? ›

Top Selling Products In France Online 2022
  • Consumer Goods.
  • Clothing.
  • Food and Beverages.
  • Home Electronics.
  • Sports Equipment.
  • Books.
  • Beauty and Personal Care.
  • Toys.
7 Feb 2022

What are 3 things made in France? ›

Here are 10 French Innovations that have Changed the World:
  • The Parachute. The modern parachute was invented in the late 18th century by Louis-Sébastien Lenormand. ...
  • The Word Entrepreneur. ...
  • The Stethoscope. ...
  • The Photograph. ...
  • Asprin. ...
  • Pasteurization. ...
  • Cinema. ...
  • The Baguette.
17 Nov 2015

Are brands cheaper in France? ›

It is substantially cheaper to buy luxury products from brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, or Gucci in Paris, their prices being on average between 30% and 40% cheaper in France than in other countries, especially those outside the European Union.

What is the most famous store in France? ›

The oldest (and arguably the most exclusive) department store in Paris is Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche.

Is Amazon popular in France? ›

France: Top 10 online stores is leading the French e-commerce market, with e-commerce net sales of US$5,903 million in 2021 generated in France, followed by with US$2,066 million.

What is Facebook called in France? ›

What's the French Facebook ? The French social network “Copains d'Avant” was created in 2001.

What is the most popular form of advertising in France? ›

Data on the distribution of digital ad spend in France reveals that search advertising remains the top format, followed by social and display.

Which payment app is used in France? ›

App App NamePublisher Publisher
1Google WalletGoogle LLC
2PayPal - Send, Shop, ManagePayPal Mobile
3Paylib, le paiement mobilePaylib Services
46 more rows

What are the delivery apps in France? ›

Main food delivery apps in France 2021, by downloads

In France, Uber Eats' mobile downloads outdid other food delivery services in 2021. While the Uber Eats app was downloaded almost 5.4 million times, Deliveroo and Leclerc reached about 3.1 and 1.2 million downloads, respectively.

How many clients say delivery is the most important factor when buying online in France? ›

The price of delivery remains an essential element: 36% of respondents cite the cost of delivery as a determining factor for their purchase among the 16 criteria listed. For many, it is even the most important criterion (32% in Germany, 38% in France).

Which country is No 1 in E-commerce? ›

1. China. China is the world's biggest e-commerce market, led by e-commerce subsidiaries of the Alibaba group – Taobao, and Tmall. With an annual growth rate of 21%, China is also one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets.

Where ecommerce is growing fastest? ›

Singapore and Indonesia were forecast to exhibit the largest growth, with increases in online sales of 36 and 34 percent, respectively.
Leading countries based on retail e-commerce sales growth in 2022.
CharacteristicRetail e-commerce sales growth
9 more rows
25 Nov 2022

Which 3 countries spend the most on e-commerce? ›

Who spends the most online?
RankCountryEcommerce Spend Per Capita
#1United Kingdom$4,201
#2United States$3,428
#3South Korea$2,591
6 more rows
7 Sept 2021

How many ecommerce sites are in Europe? ›

Ecommerce Europe is the European digital commerce industry's voice. They represent over 75,000 ecommerce companies selling goods and services to European consumers online through their 19 national e-commerce associations.

What is the easiest ecommerce platform? ›

Top 10 Easiest Ecommerce Platforms Of 2022
  • Ecwid by Lightspeed. Best ecommerce platform for adaptability and flexibility of use. ...
  • WP Engine. Best ecommerce platform for lightning-fast web speed. ...
  • Shopify. Best ecommerce platform for stability and always-on availability. ...
  • PrestaShop. ...
  • BigCommerce. ...
  • Wix. ...
  • Volusion. ...
  • ERP Gold.
4 Jan 2022

What ecommerce sells the most? ›

According to recent data on ecommerce sales by product category, the top-selling items of 2022 are expected to be computer and consumer electronics. Total retail ecommerce sales from these products are forecast to reach $219.33 billion.

What is the fastest ecommerce market in the world? ›

Singapore was the second-fastest, with a 71.1% increase in eCommerce sales.
Which Markets Saw the Most Growth?
RankCountrySales Growth YoY (2020)
6 more rows
9 Sept 2021

Is E commerce popular in Europe? ›

In 2019, e-commerce reached 11 percent of total retail sales in the eight European countries we studied for this report (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom).
Environmental Impact.
France (Paris)Germany (National)
8 more columns

Can foreigners start a business in France? ›

Nationals from the European Union, the European Economic Area and Switzerland, graduates of the French higher education system, can freely start a company in France. Nationals of other countries must have an Autorisation Provisoire de Séjour (APS - temporary residency permit), to be able to create a company in France.

What are the requirements to start for an e-commerce business? ›

How to start an e-commerce business
  • Step 1: Research the e-commerce space and find your niche.
  • Step 2: Select your business name and choose a legal structure.
  • Step 3: Apply for an EIN.
  • Step 4: Obtain business permits and licenses.
  • Step 5: Choose an e-commerce platform and create your website.
15 Sept 2020

How do I start a simple ecommerce business? ›

How to start an ecommerce business
  1. Find product opportunities and choose what to sell.
  2. Thoroughly research your competition and write a business plan.
  3. Choose a logo and name and set up your online store.
  4. Choose your shipping strategy and set sales and marketing goals.
  5. Launch your business.
11 Feb 2022

Can I start my own e-commerce business? ›

It's possible to build and run a profitable, long-term business with the help of eCommerce. Whether you're a physical store owner who wants to take business online or you want to start a small online business from home, this blog is for you. Knowing the best way to start is crucial for building your business.

What are the benefits of doing business in France? ›

Pros of doing business in France
  • The French economy is the third largest in Europe.
  • The buying force is populated by 67.3 million domestic consumers.
  • French residents have buying power, with consumer expenditures rising each year.
  • The unemployment rate is low and steady, ensuring large-scale cash flow.
19 Jul 2022

What is the main business in France? ›

Economy of France
Average net salary€27,543 / $31,304 annually (2022)
Main industriesMachinery chemicals automobiles metallurgy aircraft electronics textiles food processing tourism
Ease-of-doing-business rank32nd (very easy, 2020)
38 more rows

What are 5 important requirements for e-commerce? ›

5 Essential Requirements for Effective E-Commerce
  • Payment Systems. A significant component to consider is the payment system for your shopping cart. ...
  • Mobile-Friendly Website and Storefront. ...
  • Customizable Themes and Templates. ...
  • Integration of Third-Party Apps. ...
  • Customer Support and Interface. ...
  • Conclusion.
14 Dec 2020

How do I start a successful ecommerce business 2022? ›

Got it!
  1. How do you start an e-commerce business in 2022? ...
  2. Decide on what it is that you actually are going to be offering your customer. ...
  3. Identify how you are going to package and ship your products. ...
  4. Check how much profit you are making on every single product.
23 Dec 2021

What are the 7 steps to starting an online business? ›

7 Steps to Start Your Online Business
  1. Find Your Motivation. Before venturing into any business, take a moment or two and question your true motivation. ...
  2. Develop An Idea. ...
  3. Do Your Research. ...
  4. Craft A Business Plan. ...
  5. Determine A Corporate Identity. ...
  6. Build A Reliable Team. ...
  7. Just Keep Working.
22 Jun 2018

What are the 4 types of e-commerce? ›

The Most Common Types of Ecommerce Business Models
  • B2C (Business-to-consumer). B2C businesses sell directly to their end-users. ...
  • B2B (Business-to-business). ...
  • B2B2C (Business-to-business-to-consumer). ...
  • B2G (Business-to-government). ...
  • C2B (Consumer-to-business). ...
  • D2C (Direct-to-consumer). ...
  • C2C (Consumer-to-consumer).

Is ecommerce a good business? ›

Many consumers are shifting towards the trend of shopping online, and so vendors are taking their businesses to where the consumers are at. Starting an eCommerce business would be massively successful and worth it for entrepreneurs who are prepared to invest in it, not just in money, but in effort and dedication.

What are the 3 types of e commerce? ›

There are three main types of e-commerce: business-to-business (websites such as Shopify), business-to-consumer (websites such as Amazon), and consumer-to-consumer (websites such as eBay).

Which is the most popular example of e commerce? ›

Top Examples of Ecommerce. There are some pretty major examples of ecommerce businesses that have made it big, including Amazon, FlipKart, eBay, and Myntra.


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