Trade in cultural goods in the era of the Internet and dematerialisation

Xavier Reif, division Commerce, Insee

The emergence of digital technologies has revolutionised the retail sale of cultural goods, particularly impacted by competition from e-commerce and by changes resulting from the dematerialisation of products. In 2011, the retail sales of cultural goods represented a market of 8 billion euros, with 3.5 billion for books, 2.7 billion for the press and 1.9 billion for music and video. Over the last fifteen years, the book market has remained fairly dynamic, but sales have been going down since 2012. The press market has declined and the music and video market has been in the doldrums with a distinct drop in the sales of physical products which started in 2003. Online sales in particular have increased for cultural products. In 2011, they accounted for 17% of the book market and 28% of the music and video market, with a distinct domination of foreign sites. Their increase has contributed to the drop in specialised trade, already subject to competition from supermarkets. In the specialised sectors of book sales and the press, currently losing ground, the more productive, bigger and long-standing firms are surviving better.

Insee Première
No 1517
Paru le : 03/10/2014