What the French want for Christmas: Consumer Trends 2011

Naughty or nice, the French want beaucoup treats for Christmas. While we don’t know exactly what’s on their wish lists, here are some of the best-sold and most-watched of 2011.

First gear

The Renault Clio was the best selling car in France from January to November 2011.  The compact two-door found 138,493 buyers, or nearly 7 percent of all sales for the 11-month period. It switched spots with the Peugeot 207/206+, which finished first in 2010 and cruised at a close second this year. Their success confirms French people’s predilection for national car brands and their nostalgia of tiny childhood playmobile toys.

Comedy gold

Intouchables”, a comedy about the unlikely meeting between a wheelchair-bound aristocrat and a young man from the projects, drew in the biggest audiences in 2011. Six weeks after its debut, the movie had passed 13.5 million ticket sales in France and became the fifth biggest French box-office hit ever. The French love funny: the ten best performing French flics of all time are comedies.

Book mark

The American novel “The Help” by author Kathryn Stockett - translated in French by Pierre Girard and renamed “La couleur des sentiments” - was the top selling book for both French retail giant FNAC and Amazon.fr. The book about race relations in the American south during the 1960s first appeared in its French-language incarnation in 2010, but its sales received two big boosts in 2011: In May the book was awarded the Readers’ Prize by women’s magazine ELLE. In September, the Hollywood adaptation of The Help opened the city of Deauville’s American Film Festival.

Rolling in the euros

British songstress Adele has also conquered hearts and pocketbooks across the English Channel with her second album “21”.  Released in January, Adele’s CD had sold more than 517,000 copies in France by November, according to website chartsinfrance.net. “21” was also the most downloaded album in France in 2011, while Adele’s soulful “Rolling in the deep” was the most downloaded single, according to iTunes Rewind 2011.


Keep your eyes on the ball

The final of the 2011 Rugby World Cup was watched by 15 million people in France, making it the champion of television audiences this year. Broadcast by the TF1 channel on October 23, the match pit Cup host New Zealand against underdog France. A suspenseful and close 8-7 victory for New Zealand kept the French glued to the screen and conquered 82% of all television viewers when it aired.

Angry sells

For the second straight year, Angry Birds was the most downloaded pay-for application on iTunes in France, according to Apple France. The addictive game by Finnish computer game-maker Rovio is a worldwide phenomenon, and France is part of the bird-launching, pig-dashing craze. Still according to the folks at Apple, the photo-sharing Instagram tool for mobiles, was this year’s best new application in France.

Destination capital

Sunny Morocco was the first vacation destination for the French this year. Between November 1, 2010 and October 31, 2011 the North African country registered some 385,500 visits from France, according to figures by the association of French tour operators CETO. However, that figure represented a fall of more than 16% in clients as compared to the previous 12-month period. Among the most trendy vacation spots for French people were Cape Verde and the Italian island of Sardinia, which saw a 106% and 100% rise in visits respectively.

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