France flag France: Buying and Selling

Advertising and marketing in France

Marketing opportunities

Consumer Profile
The French population is aging, the average age being 42.23 years in 2022 versus 38.85 in 2002 (INSEE). More than half of the population (55.3%) is aged between 20 and 64 years old, while 23.7% is under 20 years old, 21% is 65 years old or over, and 9.8% is 75 years old or over (INSEE, 2022). French households are increasingly numerous and small, made up of 2.2 persons on average (INSEE, 2018). More than one-third of households are made up of one person, one-third of 2 people and less than one-third of 3 people or more. The French population has 48.4% men and 51.6% women (INSEE, 2022). More than two thirds of the population is concentrated in urban areas, particularly in the Ile de France region (Paris and its suburbs) (INSEE, 2021). The level of education and number of university graduates is high and continues to increase. Qualified office workers represent 14.8% of the workforce, and low-skilled office workers 11.3%. Middle management occupations (intermediate positions between executives and workers) account for 24.6% of the active population, while qualified workers account for 12.7% and lower-level workers 6.3%. Executives account for 21.5% of the active population while the rest of the labour force consists of tradesmen and entrepreneurs (6.4%) and farmers (1.5%) (INSEE, 2021).
Purchasing Power
In France, GDP per capita had been rising since 2009, but it dropped to 46,991.2 USD in 2020 (World Bank). The yearly net average salary of a French person is EUR 29,070 in 2020 (INSEE). After stagnating in 2020, the purchasing power of the French households increased by 1.9% in 2021 (INSEE). Household consumption fell by an unprecedent -7.1% in volume in 2020 due to the pandemic. It rebounded in 2021, but during the first semester of 2022 it decreased by -1.3% (INSEE) due to rising inflation and the war in Ukraine. Income inequalities persist, with a Gini index of 0.29 (1 representing the highest level of inequality ; OECD, 2019). Men’s revenue from salary is on average 22% higher than that of women, according to INSEE. Seniors have the highest median standard of living, while young people have the lowest median standard of living. The self-employed have the highest standard of living, followed by employees and pensioners. Below average are children under 18, and other inactive populations, i.e. students and unemployed.
Consumer Behaviour
France’s population has a high and diversified level of mass consumption (defined as the very high average level of consumption whereby most of the people consume a large amount of goods and services other than satisfaction of basic needs). Most French believe that consumption is synonymous with pleasure; therefore travel, restaurants, sports, culture and entertainment products and services are quite important to most French consumers. Most consumers purchase from mass retailers and large companies. The average purchase in urban areas is falling but is offset by a higher number of visits to several shops. However, consumer confidence in mass retailers and large companies is two times lower than the trust given to small shops and craftsmen (40% versus 80%). French people are increasingly attracted by online sales, e-commerce and m-commerce (smartphone use). This practice also applies to the purchase of consumer products (primarily food), through the development of drive and home delivery services in major cities. Foreign products are widespread in supermarkets and other distribution channels. In cities, foreign restaurant chains and other foreign services are also omnipresent. However, "Made in France" products are gaining importance to 79% of French consumers, who believe they are participating in support of the local economy and perceive domestic products as a guarantee of quality. 
According to the market research firm IFOP, brand loyalty depends on the type of products. For cosmetics, clothing, TV / hi-tech, half of consumers will be faithful, while for home appliances and home furnishings, the majority will be unfaithful. Most French consumers are worried about big data and personal data protection. Social media can influence consumer decision-making particularly with regards to cooking, beauty products and fashion, thanks to advertisements, opinions and comments of users and influencers. One in three internet users follow an influencer, and 75% of those followers have already made a purchase following advice from an influencer.
However, consumer behaviour in France has undergone several changes in recent years. The consumer seeks to adopt more responsible consumption habits (quality, traceability, composition, authenticity, transparency, environmental respect etc.). In 2021, 79% of the French would choose, for the same price, a “more responsible” product; 22% have recently changed their diet, the majority for environmental or animal welfare reasons; and a third systematically or regularly buys second hand or refurbished devices. There is a growing interest in "sustainable" products: organic, local, natural, without parabens or preservatives (Greenflex & Ademe Barometer 2021). In the food sector despite a fall in prices in the recent years, the quantity of products purchased has decreased whereas quality of purchases has improved (increase in sales of organic products, labelled, vegan, local, fresh, seasonal, highlights of short circuits etc.). Regarding transport, even if the car remains the most used means of transport, there is development of alternative modes of transport in urban areas (cycling, scooters etc.), as well as bus travel. Use of collaborative platforms such as Airbnb, Uber, Blablacar is increasing, especially among young people.
Consumers Associations
The French Consumer Institute
The Federal Union of Consumers (UFC Que Choisir)
The European Consumer Centre in France (ECC)
Main Advertising Agencies
Publicis Groupe SA

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Latest Update: July 2024