Key Figures for E-commerce in 2023: Comparative Analysis of B2B and B2C

by Elliot Infelta on Aug 17, 2023

With no less than 42 million French people making their purchases online, this practice has become a profound part of consumers' daily lives. From now on, buying on the internet is much more than just a habit: it has become second nature for a large majority of the population. This transition to digital is driven by key factors. Nearly 92% of e-shoppers view online shopping as an essential way to save time, a valuable resource in our modern lives. This trend is particularly pronounced among Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2010, who show a significant attraction to digital resources for their purchases. An interesting dimension of e-commerce in France is the relationship between online buyers and local merchants. Around 15% of e-buyers favor online purchases from local retailers or independent producers, proof that independent businesses still have a future. Supporting local commerce represents a major motivation, with 60% expressing this sentiment. Practicality (57%) and the desire to encourage local consumption (53%) are also key elements guiding these choices. However, it is undeniable that one of the highlights is France's place as leader in e-commerce in Europe (TOP 2, ahead of the United Kingdom). This high-ranking position is illustrated by these impressive figures and these captivating trends linked, for example, to the strength of the luxury industry. Over the years, e-commerce has gone from a simple trend to an unavoidable reality, with an undeniable influence on the way we buy and interact with the commercial world.

Part 1: General Trends in E-commerce in 2023

The year 2023 saw explosive growth in the e-commerce market, with impressive figures illustrating this evolution. In France, the number of e-shoppers continued to increase, reaching 42 million by the end of 2022, an increase of 0.5% compared to the previous year. This growth is partly due to major influences such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which has pushed more consumers to embrace online shopping for safety and convenience. In 2023, we also expect growth in e-commerce, although this will undoubtedly be weaker than in previous years. Technological innovation has also played a key role in this growth. The rise of artificial intelligence has enabled increased personalization of shopping recommendations, which has positively influenced consumers' purchasing decisions. Chat bots and virtual assistants, used by 48% of online shoppers, have improved the customer experience by providing real-time assistance. Mobile commerce (m-commerce) has seen a significant rise, with 61% of shoppers using mobile devices for online purchases. This trend has reshaped website and app design, emphasizing user-friendly mobile user experience. Businesses have had to adapt their platforms to ensure smooth navigation and ease of shopping on smartphones, which has contributed to the continued growth of the market. Another major trend is the expansion of social commerce, where social media platforms have become essential channels for online sales. The figures reveal that sales campaigns via social media have seen significant success. For example, engagement rates on shopping posts on Instagram have increased noticeably, which has opened up new opportunities for businesses to promote their products and reach larger audiences.

Part 2: B2B e-commerce in 2023

The rise of online B2B marked 2022 significantly, with growth in sales to professionals increasing by 10% compared to the previous year. This trend has been on an upward trajectory since the start of the COVID crisis in 2019, recording an impressive increase of 41% compared to that year. Key e-commerce revenue figures reinforce this trend, with continued growth of 14% in 2019, followed by 11% in 2020, then 16% in 2021. In 2022, growth of 10% was observed, thus marking a notable progression compared to the previous year and confirming the upward trajectory of online B2B. The digitalization of B2B relationships has become a crucial issue. Buyer decision-makers in the B2B sector are currently facing an inflationary trend that is forcing them to reevaluate their purchasing methods. Negotiations with suppliers and environmental considerations are at the top of the challenges they will have to face between now and 2025. In this context, B2B suppliers, whether distributors or industrialists, are implementing strategies aimed at developing their e-commerce turnover and respond proactively to the growing digitalization of purchases. This data highlights the undeniable need for digitalization of B2B relationships to maintain competitiveness and adapt to changing customer needs. The diversity of sectors and products plays a major role in the growth of the online B2B sector. Among the fastest growing online sectors, medical supplies and industrial equipment stand out. E-commerce solutions also have a significant impact on supply chain and distribution, driving businesses to adopt digital platforms to optimize these processes. This trend reflects changing purchasing practices in the B2B space, with increasing adoption of online platforms to facilitate wholesale transactions and improve operational efficiencies.

An important data to take into account is that 52% of online buyers have opted for reconditioned or second-hand products on the internet in 2022. This evolution of the digitalization of B2B players is a response to the inflationary trend which pushes purchasing decision-makers to revise their purchasing practices. Negotiating with suppliers remains a major challenge for them through 2025, closely followed by environmental concerns. For B2B suppliers, whether distributors or manufacturers, the key issues lie in the growth of e-commerce turnover and in an effective response to the increasing digitalization of purchases.

Part 3: B2C e-commerce in 2023

The year 2023 brings notable developments to the world of e-commerce, driven by impressive figures. In fact, 92% of French people recognize that e-commerce is a real time saver. This translates to an average of 54 online purchases per year, with an average spend of 3,500 euros per person. Across Europe, 75% of shoppers have adopted e-commerce.

The e-commerce sector, encompassing products and services, has reached new heights, with a turnover of 146.9 billion euros in 2022. This performance marks a significant increase of 13.8% compared to the last year. In France, the number of e-shoppers rose 0.5% to reach 42 million by the end of 2022, thanks to the growing use of artificial intelligence to personalize shopping recommendations. Chat bots and virtual assistants also play a key role, guiding 48% of e-shoppers across multiple screens, while 61% shop online via mobile devices.

Another major trend is the rise of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). The adoption of these technologies is increasing, particularly for virtual product testing. The use of mobile devices for online purchases increased by 2 points compared to 2021, illustrating the positive impact of AR and VR in reducing return rates. These technologies offer customers the opportunity to virtually try products before purchasing, creating an immersive experience that promotes engagement.

At the same time, sustainability and social responsibility are gaining importance. Despite the 80.4% of French Internet users who make online purchases, consumers are increasingly aware of sustainable practices. Companies that integrate environmental initiatives into their e-commerce strategy are responding to this growing demand. This awareness is associated with the need for efficiency, illustrated by the fact that 92% of French people consider e-commerce as a way to save time.

Conclusion

The year 2023 confirms the continued growth of e-commerce, both in B2C and B2B. The key figures reflect the growing adoption of online shopping, driven by efficiency, personalization and new technologies such as virtual reality. The rise of local commerce and the growth of the B2B sector demonstrate a shift in purchasing habits and sustainability priorities. In this dynamic landscape, e-commerce is now shaping the way we interact with commerce, with an essential place for innovation and social responsibility.