E-commerce in Hauts-de-France

Online sellers in Hauts-de-France enjoy three competitive advantages—an outstanding customer catchment area around the region, comprehensive transport infrastructures, and qualified workers to meet your recruitment needs. Find out what Hauts-de-France can do for your e-commerce business.

E-commerce in Hauts-de-France

Online sellers in Hauts-de-France enjoy three competitive advantages—an outstanding customer catchment area around the region, comprehensive transport infrastructures, and qualified workers to meet your recruitment needs. Find out what Hauts-de-France can do for your e-commerce business.

Premium market for online sellers

With online sales quadrupling in a decade1, e-commerce offers real opportunities for your retail business. And many companies use strategic synergies between their on- and offline activities to boost in-store sales.

1 Sources: Fevad, Insee, BNP Paribas Real Estate

E-commerce growth and opportunities in France

E-commerce has grown steadily in France, strengthening our position as the premium market for pure players in Europe.

From 2015 to 2019, e-commerce sales averaged 12% growth annually. According to FEVAD, France’s association for e-commerce and distance selling, 2019 was a record year for e-commerce in France: “Total Internet sales in France topped €100bn.”

And there’s still plenty of room for growth. In 2019, digital sales accounted for just 10% of retail business, and online shopping has become second nature for today’s consumers—so it’s safe to say that the online share of the market will increase in coming years.

Loyer annuel d’un terrain (coût m²/an HT HC)

Click-and-mortar synergies

According to a 2019 study by Oxatis, in partnership with Fevad and the Kedge Business School:

  • pure players account for 43% of the e-commerce ecosystem
  • the majority of online retailers (57%) sell products in traditional stores or through distribution networks.

Some traditional retailers have adopted a “click and mortar” strategy, growing their sales by combining brick-and-mortar with e-commerce:

  • an e-commerce site boosts in-store sales by 14% on average
  • 22% of pure players surveyed want to open a physical point of sale

The region’s growth potential continues to attract online sellers, and among France’s fastest-growing regions, Hauts-de-France is the location of choice.

A tightly-woven e-commerce ecosystem

Hauts-de-France is the birthplace of distance selling, and it continues to be an e-commerce stronghold in France. Sellers of consumer goods (such as Amazon, La Redoute, Auchan, Décathlon and Ingram) and services (such as Booking.com, Egencia and Airbnb) have made it their bastion.

They recognized the powerful competitive advantages the region offers and made the strategic choice to do business here.

Outreach of the hauts-de-France

Choose a location in the heart of your biggest market

The #1 priority for online sellers is to be at the center of their markets, and Hauts-de-France is surrounded by an outstanding customer catchment area. Some 78 million consumers with €1,500 billion in disposable income are within a 300-km radius—just half a day by truck. In short, we offer a consumer market unrivalled anywhere in Europe.

In the 2019 Oxatis study cited above, researchers found that online sellers in France had tapped into markets in neighboring countries.

In short, an Hauts-de-France location is a strategic advantage for growing your export business. And it offers the double benefit of direct access to both the Paris Region and countries in northwestern Europe.

Top 5 export markets

Optimize your shipping

Comprehensive transport infrastructure

In addition to our strategic location, Hauts-de-France offers seamless connections to major European transport corridors, with access to large highways, waterways and leading European ports and airports. All you have to do is choose the transport mode that meets your shipping needs.

Logistics specialists in the region

Tap into the ideal e-commerce ecosystem

Reap the benefits of high-performance IT

There’s much more to e-commerce than shipping and storing products. That’s why Hauts-de-France offers the digital assets you need to grow your business, including:

  • A photo studio
  • Electronic document management
  • Web development
  • UX/UI expertise
  • Content production
  • Digital customer journey
  • Data processing
  • Web marketing solutions
  • Hardware and software

Close-up: Powering e-commerce with Blanchemaille

EuraTechnologies is the #1 business incubator and accelerator in France. This 80,000-sq m digital hyper-hub is the undisputed IT mecca for our region, and its growth strategy includes spinning off specialized facilities in key focus areas. Blanchemaille is the first product of this effort.

Located in a 15,000-sq m building formerly owned by La Redoute, Blanchemaille offers targeted support to digital startups and companies specializing in e-commerce, retail tech and real estate tech. Once selected by the EuraTechnologies incubator/accelerator, participants are immersed in an ecosystem dedicated to e-commerce and innovation. Our pioneering role in distance selling, has drawn many leading companies to Hauts-de-France, including Syndic One/Sergic, Devred, SaleSupply and Supermarchés Match. The region is also home to digital education and training centers such as POP School and the Showroomprivé Foundation’s intensive e-commerce program.

Find the qualified employees you need in Hauts-de-France

The 2019 study by Oxatis, Fevad and the Kedge Business School² contained valuable information on the recruitment needs of e-commerce companies. In particular, it showed that business want candidates with high value-added skills

2Le Profil du e-commerçant 2020. Published in February 2020, this Oxatis study surveyed 1,839 online sellers (including 345 in France), between December 5 and December 20, 2019. Its methodology, data collection and processing procedure, and results were audited and validated by the Kedge Business School in January 2020.

Hauts-de-France has the high value-added talent you need

Hauts-de-France is France’s #2 region for education, with 9% of French students enrolled here. Our training offer is particularly extensive, especially in the areas most sought after by online sellers.

We’re home to:

  • 9 universities
  • 6 business schools, including EDHEC and SKEMA—both listed in the global rankings published by the Financial Times
  • the Euralogistic Campus, providing training for both traditional and new logistics jobs

Better yet, in France you won’t be fighting a tight job market. We have enough qualified candidates to meet the business community’s needs immediately.

Need for high value-added skills in 2019, by sector

Source: Oxatis study, February 2020

Highly competitive labor costs

In Hauts-de-France, payroll costs are lower than in other areas of France and Europe.

Salary with benefits for qualified logistics workers is:

  • 3% less than in competing French regions
  • 18% less than in competing European regions

Salary with benefits for qualified service sector workers is:

  • 15% less than in competing French regions
  • 6% less than in competing European regions

Close-up: An interview with Caroline Barbe, a French Labor and Employment law specialist with Solucial, a law firm in Lille

Flexibility and the workweek

“Contrary to popular belief, the 35-hour workweek is a benchmark, not an absolute limit.

Companies can and often do routinely plan for employees to work more than 35 hours per week by agreeing to a fixed salary package that builds in overtime compensation.”

Flexibility and changing demands

“During peak periods, you can also bring in temporary or contract employees to meet demand.

And if volume drops temporarily, mechanisms such as partial furloughs allow employers to reduce or suspend activity. Under this scenario, the company pays part of the employee’s compensation, and the French State covers the rest.”

Flexibility and layoffs

“Since September 2017, companies have enjoyed greater predictability under guidelines setting the minimum and maximum damages they may pay if a court rules that an employee has been dismissed without real and serious cause.”

Competitive real estate solutions

You’ll find a wide range of land and building options in Hauts-de-France. Lille is the #3 market for office space in France, with real opportunities for your business.

The market for available warehouse space in Hauts-de-France reached a peak in 2019, at nearly 750,000 sq m, or nearly 25% of the total nationwide—so there are great opportunities for your business here.

Annual rent per sq m of non-refrigerated space, before taxes and expenses in 2019

Hauts-de-France Paris Region Marseille Region Lyon Region
Class A : €41-45
Class B : €35-40
Class A : €45-50
Class B : €52
Class A : €48
Class B : €43
Class A : €50
Class B : €45

Source: Arthur Loyd, 2019

Average annual rent per sq m of prime space, before taxes and expenses

Source: Tostain-Laffineur Immobilier, 2019

Launch your business from a turnkey site

Hauts-de-France offers a wide range of outstanding turnkey options, from logistics parks to specialized e-commerce sites. Contact Nord France Invest to find a location that meets all your needs.