French direct marketing for consumer products and services is one of the largest markets in the world and one of the fastest growing in Europe, with a 20 percent growth rate between 2006 and 2007. This market represents over 5 percent of the non-food retail business in France. It was valued at USD 30 (Euro 22 billion) in 2007, with product sales accounting for 57 percent of total sales, and sales of services accounting for 43 percent. In 2007, 73 percent of the French used distance purchasing through mail order, internet, telephone and mobile phones. A general downward trend has been observed in recent years in sales made through the mail due to rapid expansion in Internet sales.
The total number of Internet users in France and the total number of commercial websites has increased drastically. Currently, there are approximately 32 million Internet users and over 21 million online buyers in France.
Retail online sales estimates (B-to-C) in 2007 were USD 22 billion (16 billion euro) and accounted for 72 percent of total direct marketing sales, while they represented only 8 percent in 2000. Total online sales of products and services increased by 33 percent from 2006 to 2007, confirming the expected prominent role that the Internet will have in the future of direct marketing sales. Today 66 percent of Internet users have already purchased on-line, primary services and travel packages, followed by hi-tech and cultural products. The average purchase on-line is (91 Euro).
The categories of products that reported the best growth rates in 2007 are consumer electronics; computers, cameras, mobile phones, then travel and tourism followed by miscellaneous services (subscriptions, downloading, tickets sales).