France: credit insurance mitigates trade credit risk

Payment Practices Barometer

  • France
  • Agriculture,
  • Construction,
  • Food,
  • Services

24th November 2021

Late payments are a widespread issue among businesses we polled in France. Reportedly, higher use of credit insurance will help them mitigate the impact of trade credit risk on the business.


For the French economy, the 2022 outlook is positive with most economists predicting GDP growth in the range of 4.0% to 5.3%. This scenario is echoed in this year's results of the Payments Practices Barometer survey in France. These reveal that more sales were completed using trade credit than last year, suggesting greater business confidence. That said, late payments are still a widespread problem among the businesses we polled. Overall, nearly half of all B2B sales were reported overdue by our survey respondents. To mitigate the negative impact of customer credit risk on the business,  French surveye respondents which reportedly did not use credit insurance experienced increased credit management costs over the paste year. Those with credit insurance did not.

Key takeaways from the report

  • Sales to B2B customers made on credit by businesses polled in France increased over the past year. The most common reason for offering credit was to stimulate sales growth, largely through repeat business with existing customers.
  • Late payments from B2B customers involve 48% of the total value of France’s B2B invoices, the same percentage as last year. 7% were written off as uncollectable, a similar percentage to last year’s 8%.
  • Despite no marked year-on-year increase in the total value of overdue invoices and write offs, the length of time B2B invoices remained outstanding is likely to have increased as 40% of the businesses polled in France reported a deterioration in DSO.
  • To protect their business from customer credit risk, businesses polled in France did report using a range of credit risk mitigation techniques, many of which were used in combination with others. Although the most commonly reported this year was self-insurance, several businesses also told us they intend to take out a credit insurance policy next year.
  • Looking into 2022, 67% of the businesses polled in France expressed optimism and predicted growth in 2022. 40% anticipate an increase in credit sales will be used as a
    way to finance customers in financial distress.
  • Most businesses acknowledge uncertainty about the pandemic and its potential  continuing impact on both the domestic and global economy.
  • When asked which pandemic-induced changes will become an ongoing feature of the way they do business, 53% said they have permanently integrated some digital technologies, particularly in the area of home working and e-commerce.

Interested in getting to know more?

The Payment Practices Barometer report for France gives insights into B2B payment practices and businesses' approach to the management of customer credit risk in the following local industries:

  • Agri-food
  • Construction
  • Construction materials
  • Services

For a complete overview, please download the full country report available in the Related documents section below. The Statistical Appendix and regional Payment Practices Barometer survey results are also available free to download.

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