The French Days will not oust Black Friday

The French Days will not oust Black Friday

Six months after the first edition of the French Days ¹, the operation, expected to become Black Friday for French players only, was disrupted by Amazon, participating in the sales as well. This turned the French Days into a casual sales day. Like its first edition, the operation was not a major sales booster. It confirmed that the French Days’ impact is not comparable with Black Friday’s.

The Autumn deception confirms the event’s low impact

Launched in April 2018, the sales operation appealed to most French e-commerce websites: dozens of e-commerce websites participated, in addition to the six founding merchants Boulanger, Fnac, Cdiscount, La Redoute, Rue du Commerce and Showroom Privé. But apparently, this was not enough to turn it into a sales success.

Indeed, neither in April nor in September did the French Days give a major boost to online sales. At least, not in the same proportion as Black Friday. The Autumn French Days increased sales by 23%, compared to a normal day ²The French Day Spring edition (April 27th to May 1st) managed to increase sales by 35% ³. But 2017 edition of Black Friday multiplied sales by more than 6 ⁴.

In addition, the French Days were originally presented as a way for French merchants to fend off Amazon’s dominance over e-commerce and the very American Black Friday operation, by creating a French specific event. As a result, the first edition saw French participants win market shares over Amazon (- 9 points of market shares for Amazon). But during those Autumn French Days, Amazon burst into the sales, offering 10€ discount on all orders above 50€. As a consequence, Amazon resisted the French-branded attack, only losing 3 percentage points of market shares.

Nevertheless, some merchants benefited from the French Days more than others: Cdiscount, Darty and La Redoute each won 1 percentage point of market shares in value.

French Days is attracting top e-commerce customers

French Days customers are already top online customers ⁶. Their 2018 spend (until October 6th) was more than three times higher than the rest of the e-commerce customers’. And they are bigger online spenders than 2017 Black Friday’s customers, spending 2.8 times more than the rest of the customers.

Many e-commerce websites participated in the French Days and the timing was perfect: after the end of Summer sales (August 7th) and before Black Friday (November 23rd). Nonetheless, this was not enough to compete with Black Friday and give a great sales boost to participating websites. And the reason for that might be very obvious: the limited number of items on sales !

French Days’ disappointing discounts lead to disappointing performance

The share of discounted items was noticeably lower than during other similar events, such as the 2017 edition of Black Friday. Discounted items might not have appealed to customers, and the number of discounted items may have been lower than during Black Friday.

French retailers expected a major hit. The French Days were not the boom they could have been: the sales were not majorly impacted and less than a quarter of Spring French Days’ customers came back for the Autumn edition. The French Days proved not to be impactful enough to challenge Amazon’s position.


(1): The first edition of the French Days: from April 27th to May 1st 2018 and the second edition: from September 28th to October 1st 2018

(2): Compared to: March 26th 2018 to April 4th 2018

(3): Compared to: August 31st 2018 to September 9th 2018

(4): Compared to: October 20th 2017 to November 17th 2017

(5): Merchants taken into account: Cdiscount, Darty, Fnac, La Redoute, PriceMinister, Sarenza and Showroom Privé

(6): People who made at least one order at Amazon, Cdiscount, Darty, Fnac, La Redoute, PriceMinister, Sarenza and Showroom Privé during the Spring French Days or the Autumn French Days

Thanks to Capucine Columelli, Quentin Leloir and Florian Cleyet-Merle.

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