E-commerce: Despite a Turnover of 100 Billion Euros, France Lags Behind Its Neighbours

E-commerce: Despite a Turnover of 100 Billion Euros, France Lags Behind Its Neighbours

Philippe de Chanville and Christian Raisson, the founders of ManoMano. Credit: ManoMano.

Online commerce in France, which in 2019 will have exceeded 100 billion euros in turnover, is nevertheless “lagging” behind its European neighbours, hence the need to go “further” in the digitisation of the economy, according to the government. “Total Internet sales in France in 2019 will reach 103.4 billion euros (…) Despite a decline in growth observed in the last quarter, the increase in turnover reached 11.6% compared to 2018 “, announced Wednesday the Federation of e-commerce and distance selling (Fevad), evoking a “historic milestone”. In ten years, sales of products and services on the Internet have quadrupled in France.

However, the Fevad adds, “sales of products still only represent today an average of 10% of the total retail trade, against 90% of sales that are still made in stores”, while e-commerce in the United Kingdom has a penetration rate of nearly 20% and sales reaching 200 billion euros. “E-commerce is a sector of excellence in France – just look at the major fund-raising activities carried out at the beginning of the year, including that of the ManoMano DIY website – but we still need to go further”, said Cédric O, Secretary of State for Digital Commerce, at a press conference.

Digital divide

“We are lagging behind our European counterparts, we are making progress, but too slowly: we need to move towards more digitalisation because the world is not waiting for us and the major platforms are advancing very quickly”, he added. For him, it is first of all “up to business leaders to make this transformation”, even if the digital divide, with 13 million French people still not using the Internet, is a brake that the State is trying to reduce.

According to Fevad, France is indeed behind Germany and the United Kingdom in terms of Internet access and the number of cyber-buyers (it had 40 million in 2019, up 2.1%), but ahead of Spain and especially Italy.

Its “growth potential is still significant”, summarizes its president François Momboisse. To bring the Internet even closer to the French – who already buy an average of 2,500 euros each online per year – Cédric O has announced that he wants to “launch alabel by April to reward “the most virtuous e-merchants”, particularly in terms of taxation.

Ecological Transition

Indeed, according to a recent report by the Direction Nationale des Investigations Fiscales (DNEF), 98% of foreign companies present on marketplaces in France, controlled in 2017 and 2019, “were not registered and did not pay VAT “. “We are in the process of discussing thecriteria for this future label,which will be demanding, promised Cédric O, castigating sites with “pirate” behaviour.

This label is all the more important as the offer continues to grow, with more than 190,000 merchant sites listed at the end of 2019 (+15%). And with certain success: according to a study by the company Oxatis, carried out with the Kedge Business School research centre, “more than 80% of French e-commerce sites are profitable”, says its CEO, Marc Schillaci. Moreover, one of the trends noted in 2019 is that “cyber-buyers are in the midst of an ecological transition”, says Fevad’s General Delegate, Marc Lolivier.

Thus, according to a survey conducted by Médiamétrie, 53% of them state that they take the environment into consideration when making online purchases (by grouping their orders together to limit deliveries, giving preference to French sites) and 45% have already bought a product from the circular economy (second-hand, recycled or reconditioned) on the Internet. Finally, for 2020, Fevad anticipates a level of growth comparable to that of 2019: “e-commerce sites should achieve a turnover of 115 billion euros”.

E-commerce: Despite a Turnover of 100 Billion Euros, France Lags Behind Its Neighbours

E-commerce: Despite a Turnover of 100 Billion Euros, France Lags Behind Its Neighbours

E-commerce: Despite a Turnover of 100 Billion Euros, France Lags Behind Its Neighbours

Credit: Starling Bank.

Starling Bank is raising £60 million or nearly €71 million from Merian Global Investors and the JTC Group, both historical investors in the neobank. This fund raising would bring the total funding for the company to £323 million.

Launched in 2014 by Anne Boden, ex-COO of Allied Irish Banks (AIB), Starling Bank has developed a mobile application offering a variety of banking services for both individuals and businesses. Users can view their account balance in real time, make standard transfers, execute international payments, instantly deactivate or reactivate their credit card, or send money to friends from their phonebook.

Strong European competition

Starling Bank’s services don’t stop there, as the neobank analyses user data via machine learning algorithms to adapt to their needs, for example by alerting the user when they have spent a lot of money over a certain period of time. By applying an open banking system (or “open banking system”), the startup also offers its customers the possibility of making transactions more fluid and faster, although it may share their data with other banking services, subject to their consent.

Since the launch of its application, Starling Bank claims 1.25 million accounts created and over £1.25 billion in deposits. Having opened offices in London, Southampton, Cardiff and Dublin, Starling Bank is more than ever looking to expand further in Europe. Indeed, the startup’s expansion objectives were momentarily thwarted by the uncertainties associated with Brexit.

However, in the neobank market, Starling Bank will have to face much more advanced European players, such as the British company Revolut, which, with its 8 million customers, now dreams of winning 100 million customers and raising 1.5 billion euros, or the German startup N26, which has raised 470 million dollars in 2019.

Starling Bank: key data

Founder:Anne Boden
Founding: 2014
Head office:London
Sector:FinTech
Activity:mobile banking
Competitors: Revolut, N26, Monzo…

Financing: EUR 71 million from Merian Global Investors and the JTC Group in February 2020, EUR 35 million in October 2019, EUR 85 million in February 2019 .

E-commerce: Despite a Turnover of 100 Billion Euros, France Lags Behind Its Neighbours

Assiya Berrima

Journalist at FW – DECODE MEDIA To contact the editorial staff: [email protected]

E-commerce: Despite a Turnover of 100 Billion Euros, France Lags Behind Its Neighbours

All means are good to avoid the spread of coronavirus (even drones)… and to dust off the first movie in history (even the 4K). It may seem like science fiction just a few hours after the Oscars (bravo Joaquin Phoenix and Brad Pitt!), but it’s the real world. Joseph Postec tells you everything in this new episode of Wild Card.

For the time of a podcast, Joseph Postec leaves his camera to take his cap as a columnist. In less than five minutes, he decodes his selection of Tech news to give you a pungent analysis in a podcast, not without humour.

Discover the other Decode Media programs

  • Decode Business:follow the players who are making news in the Tech
  • Decode Exit: how does a business transfer take place? Find out what’s behind the sales of startups
  • Decode VC: discover the best investors, their vision, their practices
  • Decode CTO: discover the CTOs of the best French Tech startups and companies
  • Decode HR: discover the most inspiring HR Directors and their best practices
  • Decode of the week: Richard Menneveux and his guests decipher Tech news around the world.
  • Wild Card :our sniper Joseph Postec shares his view on Tech news in an offbeat tone
  • Silicon Carne: Valley news as seen by Carlos Diaz and his guests

E-commerce: Despite a Turnover of 100 Billion Euros, France Lags Behind Its Neighbours

E-commerce: Despite a Turnover of 100 Billion Euros, France Lags Behind Its Neighbours

Credit: Frenchweb

New DECODE with Cédric O, Secretary of State in charge of digital technology, to draw up an overall assessment of French Tech since its launch eight years ago.

In front of Richard Menneveux, the founder of Decode Media, Cédric O explains the highlights of his first year as Secretary of State for Digital Technology and his ambition to position France as the leading European tech company ahead of Germany and the UK. It is also an opportunity to discuss the construction of a financing ecosystem through the issue of buybacks. Cédric O also mentioned the GAFA tax, the digital transformation of the State and the digital divide. Quantum as the next technological breakthrough and cybersecurity were also discussed during this interview.

With Richard Menneveux (@rMen), founder and CEO of Decode Media.

Discover the other Decode Media programs

  • Decode Business:follow the players who are making news in the Tech
  • Decode VC: discover the best investors, their vision, their practices
  • Decode CTO: discover the CTOs of the best French Tech startups and companies
  • Decode HR: discover the most inspiring HR Directors and their best practices
  • Decode of the week: Richard Menneveux and his guests decipher Tech news around the world.
  • Wild Card :our sniper Joseph Postec shares his view on Tech news in an offbeat tone
  • Silicon Carne: Valley news as seen by Carlos Diaz and his guests

E-commerce: Despite a Turnover of 100 Billion Euros, France Lags Behind Its Neighbours

E-commerce: Despite a Turnover of 100 Billion Euros, France Lags Behind Its Neighbours

Benoît Dageville and Thierry Cruanes, the founders of Snowflake. Credit: Snowflake.

The cloud and big data are constantly reaching new heights, and Snowflake is not going to complain. Proof of this is that the Franco-American unicorn has just completed a new $479 million financing round. This G Series was led by Dragoneer Investment Group and Salesforce Ventures, the venture capital fund of the CRM software specialist. On this occasion, the American giant has formed a partnership with Snowflake, the outlines of which will be unveiled next June at the Snowflake Summit, the annual conference of the Californian start-up.

The historical investors, namely Sequoia, Altimeter Capital, ICONIQ Capital, Madrona Venture Group, Redpoint Ventures and Sutter Hill Ventures, also participated in the transaction. This brings the company’s valuation to $12.4 billion, more than triple the previous one. Indeed, in its $450 million financing round in October 2018, the Franco-American unicorn was valued at $3.9 billion.

On the way to Wall Street?

Founded by two Frenchmen, Benoît Dageville and Thierry Cruanes, two former Oracle employees, with the support of Marcin Zukowski, the start-up specializes in the implementation of a virtual data warehouse (cloud data warehouse) that allows customers to extract indicators and simplified analyses on large stored volumes. Concretely, the company has developed a platform that allows the centralization of a company’s data, whether structured or not, so that teams can extract the main material from it to get an overview of the performance achieved and make forecasts for example.

Snowflake is positioning itself in a very flourishing market, as more and more companies are opting for a multi-cloud approach. In this context, the start-up is working to facilitate the movement of data between the main cloud platforms. Thus, Snowflake’s offer is deployed on the cloud infrastructures of Amazon, Microsoft and Google. Although the Franco-American unicorn appears to be a competitor of these industry giants, it is also one of the main customers of Amazon, which nevertheless offers Redshift, an offer similar to that of Snowflake.

This round of financing and the alliance with Salesforce should enable the company to consolidate its position in the cloud data warehouse market. This also puts the company in the best possible position before taking its first steps on Wall Street. Snowflake has appointed Frank Slootman as CEO. He led ServiceNow, another cloud computing company, to a stock market listing. To date, Snowflake claims 3,400 customers, including Accor, JetBlue, Netflix, Electronic Arts and Monoprix.

Snowflake: key data

Founders:Benoît Dageville, Thierry Cruanes and Marcin Zukowski
Founded:2012
Head office:San Mateo (USA)
Sector: Cloud
Activity:centralized data storage

Funding: $,479 million in February 2020, $450 million in October 2018 .

E-commerce: Despite a Turnover of 100 Billion Euros, France Lags Behind Its Neighbours

Maxence Fabrion

Journalist at FW – DECODE MEDIAPo contact the editorial staff: [email protected]

E-commerce: Despite a Turnover of 100 Billion Euros, France Lags Behind Its Neighbours

Credit: Ofo.

Victim of the free-floating bicycle bubble, one of the former leading figures in the sector, the Chinese Ofo, notably supported by Alibaba, was unable to repay the balance still held in some accounts. To achieve this, the company has achieved an astonishing feat in China: transforming its application into a shopping platform.

How much are we talking about? For Ofo, and the sector in general, the difficulties began in 2018. The company with the yellow bikes had to withdraw from some cities, even in China where it was particularly present. At the end of 2018, several Chinese media reported that 8 million people were awaiting reimbursement of their filing fees for amounts between $15 and $30. In addition, some users had even gone to the company’s headquarters in Beijing to ask for their refund, forming an impressive queue spilling out onto the street.

Ofo has fundamentally no assets ”

Since then, the situation is still complicated and not all Chinese users have been reimbursed. How is such a situation possible?  After being sued for unpaid bills in June 2019 by a local court in Tiajin, the court declared the company – which had raised $2.2 billion since its inception in 2014 – unable to pay its debts. “Ofo basically has noassets,” he said.

On the user side, the company began implementing its application conversion strategy in February 2019. A path in which it persists and signs by having launched in recent weeks a new version of its application that puts even more emphasis on the possibility for Chinese users to use the rest of their credits to shop via the platform.

A shopping and lifestyle platform

In concrete terms, via the application, users who had not applied for a refund before February 2019 are strongly encouraged to make purchases via the application instead. Tech in Asia reports that as soon as they open their application a pop-up invites them to convert their money into cash-back rewards. Both the site and the application have even been redesigned to look more like a shopping and lifestyle platform. And the offer is varied: the latter can make purchases on JD.com, Taobao & Tmall or even order a meal via ele.me (these last three platforms belong to Alibaba). Not sure, however, if it works so well. Also according to Chinese media, negative comments populate different platforms such as the social network Weibo.

Note that the application also still allows you to order a bike for Chinese cities where Ofo is still present.

A departure from France in December 2018

As a reminder, the Chinese company, which had an international presence, had begun to withdraw from certain countries in 2018, including France. In December of the same year, the company admitted that it was “on a break” in France. The same problem of repayment arose at the time. The persons concerned were invited to send an email for reimbursement.

The #ofo service is unfortunately on pause
We will keep you informed, in the meantime please help us to find any abandoned bikes (please send us the addresses in DM, thank you ) https://t.co/89rGBc8LiV

– ofo France (@ofo_fr) December 17, 2018

Former Frenchmen from Ofo create Dott

In the meantime, early last year, Ofo closed its international division, creating a haemorrhage of employees at the same time. For example, as regards France, Laurent Kennel, who was then Managing Director France and responsible for EMEA, joined Dott – an electric scooter company founded by two former French executives who had also worked for Ofo – as “head of strategic development”.

E-commerce: Despite a Turnover of 100 Billion Euros, France Lags Behind Its Neighbours

Innocentia Agbe

Journalist @FrenchWeb.fr and @LeJournaldesRH. Please send your press releases and information to [email protected]