Affiliation income

The affiliation market: a comparison between France and the United States


How does the affiliate marketing market in France compare with that in the United States? Affiliate marketing is a constantly growing industry, and it's essential to be aware of current trends if you want to succeed in the marketplace. In this article, we'll compare the affiliate markets in these two countries to help you better understand the similarities and differences.

Socio-demographic differences between the United States and France

Before comparing the data for the two countries, it's worth noting the disparities between them. France has a population of 68 million, while the United States has 332 million. According to the OECD, the average French salary in 2021 is $49,000, versus $75,000 in the USA. This means that the US population is 4.8 times higher than in France, and average annual earnings are 50% higher. However, the latter information needs to be put into perspective in view of the less developed social rights in the USA than in France.

The affiliate market in France versus the United States

In 2022, advertisers invested $13 billion in affiliate marketing in the United States, according to Supermetrics.

In France, still in 2022, the affiliation market will be worth 425 million euros. According to the Baromètre de l'Affiliation, this acquisition channel represents 5% of digital advertising, a market worth 8.5 billion euros according to the 29th Observatoire de l'ePub.

To date, the French affiliate market is 30 times smaller than that of the United States, reflecting the fact that this market is lagging behind in France, and will catch up at least in part.

What are the reasons for the gap between the French and American markets?

The gap between the affiliation markets in France and the United States can be explained by a number of cultural and economic factors.

First of all, affiliate marketing began very early in the United States. Amazon launched its affiliate program as early as 1996, when 20 million Americans already had access to the Internet, according to an article in Slate. By comparison, the French version of the site wasn't launched until 2000. At that time, only 14% of the French population (8 million people) had access to the Internet, compared with 43% of the American population (112 million people). There are therefore 14 times as many potential customers in the United States, a critical mass that has enabled the affiliate market to take off more rapidly.

A few years later, in 2005, half the French population still didn't have a computer at home(source). While France has many assets, such as a shared network infrastructure and affordable triple-play rates, it is lagging behind in the development of e-commerce because it has not reached a sufficiently large scale.

💡 It's also worth noting that the Internet has been neglected for some time by traditional commerce, a fact that pure players have taken advantage of. In addition to Amazon, a number of well-known French brands made their appearance in the 2000s: Cdiscount, Priceminister (now Rakuten France), iBazar (bought by eBay), Rue du Commerce, Vente-privée (now VeePee)...
Header site Fnac années 2000
The header of the Fnac website in February 2000. Source : Wayback Machine

The turnaround in the late 2000s

In the U.S., early-engagement consumer habits have given the affiliation sector strong growth every year.

Evolution of the US affiliate market vs. the global market
Evolution of the US affiliate marketing market vs. the global market. Source : InfluencerMarketingHub

In France, just as the market was beginning to take off, the arrival of the iPhone in 2007 turned the equipment rate on its head. Coupled with lower subscription prices, the equipment rate climbed to 85% of the French population by early 2023.

Smartphone penetration rate in France from 2013 to 2028
Smartphone penetration rate in France from 2013 to 2028. Source : Statista

The rise of smartphones has boosted traffic growth for content publishers across all media. Inevitably, this progression has led to profound changes in the affiliation sector between 2010 and 2020:

  • Market consolidation through the merger or emergence of numerous platforms (Awin, Digital River, Affilae)
  • The creation of new thematic media, with teams entirely dedicated to content writing (WireCutter).
  • The almost total disappearance of price comparison sites
  • The establishment of numerous white-label SEO partnerships between couponeurs and media (Global Saving Group and Savings United)
  • Media outlets are taking turns in the content-to-commerce (, NYT, Le Parisien)
  • The arrival of new players in the world of good deals (Dealabs, ChocoBonPlan)
  • The emergence of influencers

At the beginning of 2023, according to Awin, affiliate marketing will account for around 40% of bloggers' revenues in the United States. In France, the affiliate market is growing steadily every year. According to estimates, it should continue to grow, rising from 15 to 27 billion euros between 2021 and 2027(source).

Key points to remember
  • The United States and France have marked socio-demographic differences, with a higher population and average annual income in the United States.
  • The affiliate marketing market in the United States is 30 times larger than in France, with $13 billion invested in 2022 in the U.S. versus 425 million euros in France.
  • The gap between the two markets can be explained in part by cultural and economic factors, including the fact that affiliation began earlier in the United States and that France lagged behind in the development of e-commerce. However, the French market is catching up.
  • Conclusion

    Beyond the revenue forecasts for the coming years and the technical challenges to be overcome, affiliation will continue to grow. (See our 2022 affiliation market report).
    Social networks, already on the rise, will continue to grow. Legal frameworks will undoubtedly provide a framework for the profession.
    As far as advertisers are concerned, over 80% of merchants have adopted this acquisition channel. With a few exceptions (automotive and luxury goods), all sectors offer affiliation programs.
    SMEs and, more broadly, all content producers, from influencers to the media, stand to benefit most from affiliation. Faced with well-established giants, affiliation is the ideal way for smaller companies to gain exposure and generate sales. The emergence of new platforms, such as Affilizz, which simplify access to affiliate programs, performance tracking and the provision of widgets, also contributes to the acceleration of this sector by simplifying the first steps.

    About the author
    Vincent Alzieu
    General Manager

    After successfully managing several companies in the tech world (Les Numériques, Doctissimo, Au Féminin...), Vincent Alzieu joined Affilizz as late co-founder in 2022 to bring his experience of media and affiliation.‍

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