PARIS, May 23 (Reuters) - Online retail sales in France rose by 11.9% to 24.9 billion euros ($27.7 billion) in the first quarter, said the French E-Commerce Federation (Fevad), reflecting growth in a sector that has seen Amazon put pressure on traditional retailers such as Carrefour.
As the French economy stages a gradual recovery, online sales growth has been boosted by a growing number of online vendors and people using the Internet to shop more often.
The Fevad federation said an additional 1.358 million people made online purchases in the quarter, up 4% from a year ago.
Sales generated via tablets and smartphones rose 22% and Fevad predicted orders made on smartphones could outpace those made via computers by 2021.
The average value of the basket fell 6% to 61 euros in the first quarter, although there was an increase in the frequency of purchases, added Fevad.
There were, on average, 12.7 online transactions per buyer in the first quarter, up from 10.7 a year ago.
In 2018, E-commerce represented 9.7% of overall French retail sales, up from 8.7% in 2017.
In February, Fevad said online retail sales in France could exceed 100 billion euros for 2019.
CLICK-AND-COLLECT ON THE RISE IN FRANCE
A separate statement by Fevad and research firm Nielsen showed that E-commerce made 7.1% of the sales of so-called ‘fast moving consumer goods’ (FMCG) in France, ahead of 6.3% in Britain, the United States’ 5.6% and Germany’s 1.4% but behind 20% for South Korea and 18% for China.
One reason for France’s advance was that click and collect had become a key part of shoppers’ routines, while drive-through services - where consumers order online but collect the shopping by car or on foot or by home delivery - were also increasing in prominence.
Drive-through services were on the rise with the opening of new pedestrian outlets in city centers where people order online and pick up their purchase on foot, with over 5,100 selling points and sales up 7% on a year-on-year basis in 2018.
Amazon has made no secret of its desire to launch a grocery delivery service in France as part of its global ambitions to expand into food retail.
Last month Amazon and French retailer Casino expanded their partnership, with Amazon installing pick-up lockers in Casino stores and making more of the French company’s products available on Amazon.
$1 = 0.8977 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta