On the occasion of the 3e National meetings of the bookshop (Lille, 21-22 June 2015), held in the presence of Fleur Pellerin, the Ministry of Culture and Communication communicates, in partnership with TNS Sofres, the results of its annual barometer on book purchases,
Conducted with a representative panel of 3,000 people aged 15 and over, this barometer covers all book purchases made by these people, whether they are printed books (new or used) or e-books, purchased in-store, online or by correspondence, with the exception of purchases of textbooks and encyclopedias.
A market in slight decline in 2014, despite the growth of the opportunity and digital
In 2014, French book purchases were slightly lower than in 2013: -0.6% in value and -0.7% in volume.
However, these figures mask divergent trends in the various forms of purchase:
• The new printed book market (92% of the total market by value) experienced a slightly sharper decline of -1.4% in value and -1.7% in volume;
• while the market for second-hand printed books and, more importantly, for e-books, is growing:
- with a +6.0% increase in purchases in value (+3.0% in volume), the used book market represents 6% of the overall market in value (14% in volume);
- with a significantly higher increase in purchases (+18% in value, +13% in volume), the eBook now represents nearly 2.3% of the overall market in value (2.8% in volume).
The places of purchase: an apparent stability that masks some remarkable evolutions
With only a few points, the distribution in value of purchases of new printed books is identical to what it was in 2013: equal (22% each), all "bookstores and press houses" and the network of cultural supermarkets remain the first channels for buying books, ahead of non-specialized supermarkets (food supermarkets and their cultural spaces, 19.5%), internet sales (all networks combined, 18.5%) and, further behind, the VPC/club circuit (14.5%).
However, this apparent stability masks some remarkable developments:
• While Internet sales and bookstores each gain 0.5 percentage points of market share in value terms, this is part of very different trends:
- for Internet sales, this half-point increase marks a significant slowdown compared to previous years (around +1.5 market share point per year on average between 2008 and 2013)
- on the other hand, for independent bookshops (excluding press houses and stationery bookshops) whose market share had stagnated at around 18% since 2008, this half-point gain reflects the vitality of a circuit whose inexorable decline is regularly announced;
• After a decade of continuous decline, we will also note the stabilization of the market share of the press houses and book and paper stores, which, as in 2012 and 2013, represented 3.5% of purchases in value.
Internet sales: a concentrated circuit
Both in volume and in value, the top 3 online sellers account for more than 80% of online purchases (all networks combined, including club online sales). However, none of these 3 vendors accounts for more than 50% of purchases. The 2014 barometer results do not indicate an increase in this concentration of purchases.
As in 2013, the average price of books purchased is €10.00: €11.10 for new printed books, €4.30 for second-hand printed books and €8.10 for e-books.
It will be noted that the average price of new books purchased is very stable over the long term: in 2014, this price is even slightly lower than it was between 2000 and 2010, when, according to the TNS Sofres panel, it had oscillated in a narrow tunnel between 11,25 € and 11,60 €.
At 53% of the French population aged 15 and over, the proportion of book buyers remains broadly stable: 51% bought at least one new book in 2014 (-1 point), 10% a second-hand book (stable) and 3.0% an e-book (+0.4 point).
The vast majority (86%) of e-book buyers are also print book buyers. The minority of “digital exclusive” accounts for 0.8% of book buyers.
In terms of the intensity of purchasing practices, the new book market does not appear excessively concentrated: if the core of «big buyers» (12 new books per year and more), which represent 23% of buyers (12% of the French population), makes more than half of the purchases (60% volume and 55% value), the category of “average buyers” (5 to 11 pounds per year, 31% of buyers) also represents a very substantial share of the market (28% volume, 30% value).
Finally, encouraging for bookstores, the barometer indicates that in 2014 as in 2013, bookstores are the first circuit of book purchases for 15/24 year olds for their book purchases, unlike the generation of 25/49 year olds, who prefer large specialty stores and online shopping.