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French consumption decreases by almost 4% in April

The activity of specialised commerce stores in April was poor, decreasing by 3.8% compared to April 2023. After a dynamic month in March, which uplifted spirits, April saw a significant decline. Several external factors impacted the activity. Firstly, the shift in vacation timing between 2023 and 2024. Additionally, Easter fell in March in 2023 but was in April this year, affecting the distribution of activity.


The contraction was observed in various sectors, affected by unfavourable weather in April. Home furnishings dropped 3.5%. And restaurants also face ongoing challenges (-1.5%).

Internet sales in April (average increase of 8.6% for specialised commerce) were much more dynamic than in-store sales.

In cumulative figures for the first four months of 2024, in-store activity for specialised commerce remains the same as last year (0.1%), falling below the estimated inflation rate of +2.1%. Thus, in-store sales volumes are slightly declining.

For the overall specialised commerce, in-store plus online, the activity increased very slightly by +1.4%, lower than the inflation rate.

The activity in April and the cumulative four-month period showed no signs of consumption recovery. As anticipated, habits formed during the period of high inflation continue, and household confidence remains very low.

It's difficult to anticipate activity in the coming months as two events will impact the lives and mindsets of the French: the European elections on June 9 and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, along with a May with significant bridge holidays that will surely impact consumption patterns.

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