France - Business registrations bounce back in 2021

By Valérie Aston on 16 July 2021 · Viewed 2035 times · Questions

INSEE, the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies in France has recorded a strong increase of business registrations from February to April 2021 compared to 2020, with an increase of 71.2%. INSEE confirmed that this was due both to the fact that the economy was bouncing back and to the unusually low number of creations in 2020 with the pandemic.

This increase was also traced according to the business type: +82.7% for micro entrepreneurs, +59.8% for incorporated businesses and +36% for entreprise individuelle. Over the last 12 months, business registrations increased by 24.8%, with micro entrepreneurs still representing the most popular business type (+31.8%).

65% of new business were micro-entrepreneurs in 2020

The number of micro-enterprises created in France in 2020 had already broken its 2019 record with 547,900 new micro-entrepreneurs. Bringing all business creations to an unprecedented level, against the backdrop of the development of new activities related to the Covid-19 epidemic, such as home delivery. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of new businesses, were micro entrepreneurs,.

In 2020, the number of new micro-entrepreneurs had already increased by 9%, while the creation of entreprise individuelle fell by 13% and the creation of incorporated businesses remained stable. Among the latter, the most popular status was SAS with 67% of new incorporated business, against 31% for SARL. Excluding micro-entrepreneurs, only 7% of companies had employees at the time of their creation, in this case with an average of three people hired.

Trending sectors in France in 2020

Looking at the sector of activity for new businesses, the increase was driven by transport and warehousing. With more than 100,000 new companies in 2020, this sector generated 12% of all creations according to INSEE. Within it, “other post and courier activities”, i.e mainly home deliveries, were up 37%. In these activities, the number of creations has been booming for several years. It has nevertheless accelerated since the end of lockdown in May 2020. 

The trading sector “commerce” was also up 9% with more than 130,000 new businesses, or 15% of total creations. The increase was driven by distance selling activities (e-commerce), mainly under the micro-entrepreneur regime. These activities have also been booming for several years, but may have been favoured by the health crisis.

Overall for 2020, the sectors contributing the most to the increase were transport and warehousing activities (+ 22%), commerce (+ 9%) and real estate activities (+ 10%). In contrast, the number of creations was decreasing in specialised, such as scientific and technical activities (- 3%), education (- 8%) and other household services (- 1%).

Read more about business registrations in France

Business registrations in France from 2009 to 2021

The chart below from INSEE traces business registrations in France since 2009, which marks the year the micro-entrepreneur status was launched. The yellow line shows the overall number of business registrations, while the blue line shows entreprises individuelles. As mentioned in this article, entreprise indivuduelle has been replaced for many by the micro-entreprise, which is easier to create and managed.

You can spot the dip in business registrations in March-April 2020, date of the first lockdown in France. But it has definitely bounced back since. 

France - Business registrations bounce back in 2021

Valerie Lemiere: Start Business in France

About the author: Valérie Aston

I've been helping people who want to start or already have a small business set up in France since 2009. After graduating from a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, I worked as a senior marketing consultant in the UK and France for various International companies. I worked as a conseillère en création d'entreprises (senior business advisor) for BGE here in France and run this independent business on a daily basis.