This article was originally published in Chinese on Momentum Works’s WeChat account, translated by Momentum Team into English. 

Witnessing Shopee entering Poland a few weeks ago, it is not hard to see Shopee’s ambition to expand into more countries across Europe. 

When Shopee launched its Spain site about a week ago, we predicted that the next stop would be France. Indeed, Shopee’s France website, Shopee.fr, went live yesterday.

Interestingly, around the same time, J&T Express, one of Shopee’s long term logistics partners, also opened up a charter flight from Shenzhen to Paris. Each flight would carry 45 tonnes of cargo, and J&T is scheduling one flight every two days. 

When you visit Shopee.fr, you can see that Shopee is launching a series of special promotions – including the famous free shipping (Livraison gratuite)!


Compared to Spain, where we hardly find any serious compeitior to Shopee, the e-commerce competitive landscape in France is a bit more nuanced. 

But in fact, there isn’t much strong competition either. A few colleagues at Momentum Works who have lived in France before, and have some first hand sense about consumption and consumers there.

The following are the current  App rankings in Shopping Category for both Apple App Store and Google Play Store in France. AliExpress and Shein are both there – I think our friends should be very familiar with these two Chinese cross border players. Another Chinese cross-border platform we see in the list of Google Play Store is Joom, which has been focusing on the Russian market.

Lidl Plus, by German-headquartered discount retail chain Lidl , ranks first in both lists. But this is more a loyalty and discount tool rather than ecommerce platform. 

As Lidl has about 1,500 outlets in France and discounts are very appealing in the country, it is natural that Lidl Plus has many users. We also noticed that both Carrefour and Casino (another two major retailers) have their own apps, but they rank far behind.

Used goods e-commerce platforms are also very popular in France.

Vinted, ranks second in both lists, is a Lithuanian second hand e-commerce platform that focuses on clothing, accessories, and second-hand items.  We mentioned it in our previous assessment about ecommerce market plandscape in Poland. Vinted completed a US$300 million Series F financing in May this year, which was led by EQT Growth, a subsidiary of the Swedish investment and holding conglomerate Investor AB.

You can also see Leboncoin, a classified site created in 2006 in the Android ranking. The sector of classifieds are very resilient in developed countries, despite the usually poor product experiences. Leboncoin seems to have sizable headcount compared to many of its peers:

Another notable app on the list is the second-hand luxury e-commerce platform run by former  CEO of Lazada Max Bittner. I wonder how he, and Pierre Poignant – another former Lazada CEO – feel seeing Shopee again. 


There is also Amazon, which closed six logistics centers in France for a while last year due to labour disputes.

In conclusion, France is a goodmarket with no serious rivals for Shopee. 

Like everyone else, Shopee there will eventually face the challenge of local/national politics, labour issues and  other bits and pieces of the localisation puzzle. 

How to effectively sail through these challenges will test its management, both local and global. 

 

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at hello@mworks.asia.