Leboncoin: the french succes story

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Summary

Leboncoin (which can translate by “the good place”) has 45 million ads and over 29 million monthly users. The website’s success is also evidenced by the 393 million euros in annual sales in 2020 and a 6% growth in 2021. In 2022, Leboncoin is the first e-commerce website in France. It is often the main competitor to face when you want to create an ad site. Beyond the figures, by reading this article, you will discover anecdotes, key turning points and strategies adopted by leboncoin that have enabled its success story.

Leboncoin: a not so original concept


Leboncoin was created in 2006. Initially, the idea was to launch a variation of the Swedish classified ad site Blocket.se created in 1996 by Henrik Nordström. It is not an innovative idea but a concept inspired by another experience. The website was launched 50/50 by the Spir communication group and the Scandinavian Schibsted (which owns the newspaper 20 Minutes), the latter taking control of the project a few years later. An amusing detail: the site was to be called “Chez Georgette” (which means at Georgette)”, but the board finally opted for Leboncoin.

The success of the project is dazzling. Despite Ebay monopolizing the market, word of mouth worked immediately and the rise was immediate. The site combines simplicity, proximity and free access in France. In its first year, Leboncoin attracted more than a million unique visitors per month. It presents itself as THE site for classified ads of all kinds: clothing items, real estate, cars and even job offers, the site is very broad.

A site in perpetual evolution


3 years after its creation, the site, although very promising start, is still only a small business with 4 employees. In 2009, the first turning point came with the arrival of Antoine Jouteau (future CEO of the company) in the team. He takes charge of marketing and development plan within the company. One of his first actions was to remove the registration portal for sellers. It was mandatory to register in order to place a classified ad on the site. With this adjustment, anyone can quickly put an item up for sale. This has the consequence of facilitating the access to the site to a maximum of sellers and create a proximity with the users. Thanks to the “adjustments” made, combined with the democratization of online purchases, Leboncoin takes on a new dimension and passes Ebay for the sale of consumer goods.

This success made the American giant react and, in the wake of this success, it also started to sell classified ads. However, nothing seems to stop the growth of the French site. Leboncoin became the leader in car classifieds in 2010, and the following year, it became number 1 in real estate ahead of sites like Homelydays. As for the employment sector, Leboncoin became the number one private site for job offers with more than 25,000 small and medium-sized businesses recruiting through the Leboncoin platform. The icing on the cake is that the site has more exclusive job offers than Pôle emploi, the French public employment service website.

Webites like Leboncoin


Classified ad sites are a huge success and continue to grow. There are thousands of online sites that allow their members to publish their offers to sell or buy items of all kinds: There are those that specialize in real estate, others in cars. While others, more generalist, like leboncoin, offer various categories.

in the french secteor of marketplace, VivaStreet is one of these classified ad sites where its members can publish their offers for free. Several categories are available: real estate, employment, services & personal assistance, vehicles & equipment, professional equipment, pets, home & fashion, children, multimedia, leisure, courses & training. In the same genre, we also find sites like Topannonces.fr, Trefle.com or Paruvendu.fr.

Some french websites are aimed at a specific target such as automotive or real estate. LaCentrale.fr is an excellent option for those looking for used car classifieds. It allows its members to publish or consult free ads for cars, motorcycles, utility vehicles, caravans, campers or boats, etc. For the real estate sector, Avendrealouer.fr is a site of ads to find an accommodation. Very popular at the moment, this website offers hundreds of thousands of exclusive ads throughout France.


Creating a site like leboncoin: what you need to know


When you plan to create a site similar to Leboncoin, or even the ones we just listed, using CMS like Shopify or Magento is not a foregone conclusion, leboncoin never did! Make sure you know your competitors, have a competitive edge, and have a reliable domain to excel in. Today’s e-commerce sites face tremendous competition, so you’ll need strong advantages to get seen and noticed. The idea of targeting multiple markets sounds good, but in this case, the investment in website development must match the markets. Also, it is easier to start with a specific narrow niche that allows you to promote your products quickly and ensure the development of your brand. You need to have a clear idea of what you want to offer your customers. As we have seen, design and technical aspects are not everything, it is the quality of the product that makes the difference.

When a custom development requires large investments, we advise young entrepreneurs to launch an MVP (minimum viable product) to test their concept to ensure that their project is viable. At Medialem, we can help you with this process and offer affordable rates for the creation of a unique and customized marketplace.

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