Europe’s second-richest country behind only Germany in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the French Republic is one of the European Union’s most strategically desirable markets for international sellers of imported goods.
The 100 most valuable consumer products imported into France attracted a subtotal US$272.1 billion worth of spending on international goods in 2020. That consumer-specific dollar amount represents 47.9% of the overall value of all goods imported into France, an impressive $568.3 billion worth of spending.
The 5 most valuable consumer products imported into France during 2020 were cars, medications, refined petroleum oils, automobile parts or accessories and phones.
The total dollar amount for the top 100 imported consumer products from the nation nicknamed The Republic by patriotic locals declined by -6% from 2019 to 2020. The top 100 consumer metric compares to a -10.9% drop for all of France’s imported goods for the year.
France’s purchases of imported consumer products dropped at a slower pace than the global average decline of -8.2% from 2019 to 2020 for all importing countries.
Among the top 100 consumer products imported by France, 36 increased in total value from 2019 to 2020 whereas 64 declined.
Changes in French consumer demand for essential imports offer future opportunities for international suppliers who correctly anticipate which upward or downward trends will continue.
Consumer Products Defined
Economics educator BoyceWire defines a consumer product as a final good or end product that a business creates for consumers to buy. For example, consumers often purchase refined petroleum oil at the gas station while imported crude oil is an intermediate good subject to further processing before being sold to end users.
Although there may be a few wealthy individual buyers, products like turbojets are excluded from the consumer products targeted by this study. That is because turbojets are usually purchased by corporations. In contrast, it is common for a consumer to buy a motorcycle.
Types of Consumer Products
This article focuses on 3 distinct consumer product types.
Convenience Products are easy to access, non-durable, have relatively lower prices and therefore consumers frequently purchase them. Examples of convenience products are food, alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, and soap.
Shopping Products are not as easily available, involve more time to make a buying decision, are durable and are not bought as often as most convenience products. A great example of a shopping product is a mobile phone where buying the wrong model is a much more expensive mistake than buying a disappointing loaf of bread.
Specialty Products describe another consumer product type. This grey area includes infrequently purchased, expensive, durable and sometimes rare items. Consumers may consider the product’s brand image when making their purchase decisions. Some examples of speciality products are gold, silver, diamonds, jewelry, and branded refrigerators and dishwashers.
France’s Consumer Imports Smart List
The searchable marketing intelligence table below showcases France’s 100 highest-value imported consumer products in descending order. Items were selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level.
The table’s fourth column is labeled YOY for year over year. The fifth column identifies each entry’s consumer product type.
|3||Processed petroleum oils||$16,350,036,000||-31.6%||CP|
|6||Computers, optical readers||$10,339,608,000||+9.9%||SP|
|7||Miscellaneous textile items||$7,019,018,000||+904.6%||SP|
|11||Cases, handbags, wallets||$3,630,139,000||-18.6%||SP|
|13||Miscellaneous plastic items||$3,563,996,000||+3%||CP|
|15||Seats (not barber/dentist chairs)||$3,255,421,000||-14.8%||SP|
|17||Women's clothing (not knit/crochet)||$3,127,003,000||-14%||SP|
|18||Rubber tires (new)||$3,095,978,000||-13.5%||SP|
|19||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$2,934,254,000||-8.2%||SP|
|20||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$2,887,991,000||-4.8%||CP|
|23||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$2,862,660,000||0%||SY|
|24||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$2,771,187,000||-13%||SP|
|26||Electric storage batteries||$2,517,923,000||+0.6%||SY|
|27||Electrical converters/power units||$2,367,095,000||+2.3%||SP|
|28||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$2,340,902,000||-1.2%||CP|
|31||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$2,207,191,000||+1.8%||CP|
|32||Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys||$2,163,640,000||-3.9%||SP|
|33||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$2,153,190,000||-10.2%||SP|
|34||Packaged insecticides, herbicides||$2,133,342,000||+6.6%||SP|
|36||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$2,027,335,000||-12.9%||SP|
|39||Paper containers, cellulose wadding||$1,911,665,000||+0.1%||SP|
|41||Men's suits (unknit/non-crochet)||$1,849,016,000||-16.1%||SP|
|43||Other organic cleaning preparations||$1,662,280,000||+6.4%||CP|
|44||Whole fish (fresh)||$1,530,544,000||-2.2%||CP|
|45||Computer parts, accessories||$1,495,055,000||+18.8%||SP|
|46||Fish fillets, pieces||$1,486,273,000||-6%||CP|
|47||Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins||$1,481,680,000||-14.6%||SP|
|48||Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines||$1,473,213,000||-6.4%||SY|
|49||Video console games, table games||$1,425,298,000||-1.1%||SP|
|50||Footwear (rubber or plastic)||$1,422,509,000||-13.6%||SP|
|51||Unrecorded sound media||$1,415,334,000||-8.9%||SP|
|53||Fresh or dried citrus fruit||$1,355,179,000||+21.5%||CP|
|54||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$1,311,485,000||-8.5%||SP|
|56||Glass bottles, other containers||$1,280,745,000||+1.9%||SP|
|58||Other food preparations||$1,254,725,000||+3.6%||CP|
|60||Wrist/pocket watches (regular case)||$1,220,191,000||-19.7%||SP|
|61||Household base metal mountings||$1,215,678,000||-20.1%||SY|
|64||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)||$1,172,527,000||-11.3%||CP|
|65||Fruit and vegetable juices||$1,160,034,000||-6.8%||CP|
|66||Felt or other non-woven garments||$1,150,013,000||+80.1%||SP|
|67||Hot-rolled iron/non-alloy steel items||$1,128,701,000||-27.9%||SP|
|69||Other fresh/chilled vegetables||$1,092,857,000||+11.6%||CP|
|70||Women's coats (unknit/non-crochet)||$1,066,902,000||-13.4%||SP|
|71||Crustaceans (including lobsters)||$1,065,774,000||-0.7%||CP|
|72||Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)||$1,047,657,000||+8.2%||CP|
|76||Miscellaneous preserved fruits||$926,971,000||+4.1%||CP|
|77||Fresh or chilled beef||$913,039,000||-18.2%||CP|
|79||Uncoated paper for writing/printing||$902,995,000||-13.1%||CP|
|81||Coal, solid fuels made from coal||$866,640,000||-47.3%||CP|
|82||Vulcanized rubber items||$856,877,000||-12.5%||SP|
|86||Prepared vegetables (non-frozen)||$803,227,000||-1.7%||CP|
|87||Waters with added sugar||$787,594,000||+5.4%||CP|
|90||Miscellaneous aluminum items||$770,954,000||-15.7%||SP|
|92||Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners||$754,199,000||-0.8%||SP|
|93||Printed books, brochures||$742,098,000||-3.2%||SP|
|95||Compasses, other navigational aids||$731,061,000||-22%||SY|
|96||Other meats (preserved/prepared)||$724,513,000||+1.9%||CP|
|97||Sauces, mixed condiments, seasoning||$722,905,000||+0.4%||CP|
|98||Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)||$722,655,000||+5.9%||CP|
|100||Yachts, canoes, row boats||$707,816,000||-17.5%||SP|
France’s most popular product type is shopping products (SP) led by imported cars, automobile parts or accessories, phones including smartphones, computers, miscellaneous textile items and trucks. Shopping products represent 49 of France’s top 100 imported consumer goods.
In second place via 38 items are convenience products (CP). Examples include medications, processed petroleum oils, miscellaneous plastic items as well as plastic packing goods like lids and caps, coffee, bread, biscuits, cakes and pastries.
There were 13 speciality products (SY) ranking among the top 100. Major speciality products imported into France include jewelry, electric water heaters, beauty makeup and skincare products, and gold.
Durable consumer products are goods like cars, trucks, printing machinery, insulated wire or cable, and furniture that last a relatively long time. Consumers can put durable products to use again and again. By product type, note that both shopping products and speciality products are considered as durable consumer goods.
Non-durable consumer products (ND) are goods that are not re-used once consumed. Coal, medications and sugar are examples of non-durable goods. Convenience products are uniquely non-durable consumer products.
Based on the product types identified in the above table, 62 of France’s highest-value consumer imported products are durable while 38 are classified as non-durable.
Using the provided table, you can also peruse the greatest increases or decreases in product values from 2019 to 2020. To do so, click on the heading of the fourth column.
Fastest-Growing Consumer Imports
Listed below are the top 10 consumer products imported into France that experienced the highest percentage increases in spending from 2019 to 2020.
- Miscellaneous textile items: Up 904.6% ($7 billion)
- Felt or other non-woven garments: Up 80.1% ($1.15 billion)
- Fresh or dried citrus fruit: Up 21.5% ($1.4 billion)
- Computer parts or accessories: Up 18.8% ($1.5 billion)
- Medications: Up 15.7% ($18.2 billion)
- Gold: Up 13.5% ($1.2 billion)
- Miscellaneous fresh or chilled vegetables: Up 11.6% ($1.1 billion)
- Pasta, couscous: Up 9.9% ($780.1 million)
- Computers including optical readers: Up 9.9% ($10.3 billion)
- Preserved or prepared fish including caviar: Up 8.2% ($1 billion)
Among the above top 10 gainers, 5 qualify as durable goods that consumers can re-use over time. Four of those durable items are shopping products including miscellaneous textile items, felt or other non-woven garments, computer parts or accessories and computers including optical readers. The fastest-growing specialty product is gold which also satisfies the technical definition for durable goods.
The fastest-growing convenience products are fresh or dried citrus fruits, medications, miscellaneous fresh and chilled vegetables, pasta and couscous, and preserved or otherwise prepared fish and caviar. Consumers consider these items as non-durable products, commonly referred to as disposable goods that normally are used only once.
Worst-Declining Consumer Imports
Spending by buyers in France on the following 10 items decreased in value at the severest rate from 2019 to 2020.
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: Down -47.3% ($866.6 million)
- Jewelry: Down -38.2% ($3.2 billion)
- Processed petroleum oils: Down -31.6% ($16.4 billion)
- Items made from hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel: Down -27.9% ($1.1 billion)
- Tractors: Down -25.5% ($2.9 billion)
- Automobile parts or accessories: Down -22.6% ($12.9 billion)
- Butter: Down -22.5% ($827.7 million)
- Compasses, other navigational aids: Down -22% ($731.1 million)
- Household base metal items: Down -20.1% ($1.2 billion)
- Wrist or pocket watches with regular case: Down -19.7% ($1.2 billion)
Three among France’s top 10 declining imports are non-durable convenience products consumed one time. These are the fuel items coal including solid fuels made from coal, processed petroleum oils and butter.
Four among the remaining major import decliners are shopping products that normally require more time for consumers to make buying decisions. Purchases under the shopping products category are more likely to be deferred than convenience products. Examples of these shopping goods range from tractors to wrist or pocket watches with a regular case.
The 3 speciality products among France’s severest decliners were jewelry, compasses and other navigational aids, and household base metal mountings.
Key Suppliers by Country
This analysis reveals competitive suppliers that target French demand for its top 5 consumer import products.
For France, the biggest imported consumer product by value is cars. The 4 other leading consumer products imported into France are medications, refined petroleum oils, automobile parts or accessories, and phones including smartphones.
Below, you will find major supplying countries for France’s imported:
Cars: Spain (21.8% of total), Germany (16.8%), Slovakia (8.6%), Turkey (5.7%), Italy (4.5%), Czech Republic (4.4%), Japan (3.9%), Morocco (3.8%), United Kingdom (also 3.8%), and Belgium (3.1%).
Medications: Germany (14.8% of total), Italy (13%), Ireland (12.0%), United States (11.2%), Switzerland (6.79%), Greece (6.5%), United Kingdom (4.3152%), Spain (3.8%), Netherlands (3.7%), and Sweden (3.4%).
Refined petroleum oils: Russia (17.9% of total), Belgium (12.8%), Netherlands (10.4%), Saudi Arabia (9.2%), Spain (7.9%), United States (6.4%), Germany (5%), Italy (3.6%), United Arab Emirates (3.4%), and Algeria (2.5%).
Automobile parts or accessories: Germany (25.4% of total), Spain (10.2%), Italy (8.7%), Czech Republic (6.3%), Belgium (5.9%), Poland (5.7%), China (4.7%), United Kingdom (3.7%), Sweden (3.2%), and Netherlands (3.1%).
Phones: China (54.7% of total), Vietnam (10.9%), Netherlands (4.6%), United States (4.1%), Germany (3%), Tunisia (2.3%), Ireland (2.1%), Taiwan (1.7%), United Kingdom (also 1.7%), and Mexico (1.3%).
More great research: France’s Main Imports by Top Supplier Countries, China’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, US Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, Japan’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, Germany’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products
Independent insights and analysis presented in this article are based on researched facts and statistics sourced from the following educational portals.
BoyceWire, Consumer Goods Definition.
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: France Economy.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Richest Country Reports, Top 100 Richest Countries by GDP.
Trading Economics, France Consumer Spending.
Wikipedia, List of largest consumer markets.
World’s Top Exports, France’s Top 10 Imports.