In 2023, 97% of French companies have offered payment terms to their customers, with an average timeframe of 48 days.Despite this, 82% of companies have recorded payments delays by their clients over the past 12 months. The majority stated that late payments were occurring more frequently, and for longer periods than last year. The deterioration in corporate payment habits is echoed in insolvency numbers, with an undisputed increase observed since the start of the year that has even overshot pre-Covid levels.
Payment terms1: a well-entrenched practice
Extending payment terms is a well-established practice in France: 97% of companies offer them to their clientsirrespective of the sector and the size of the company. The average timeframe works out to 48 days, which is significantly higher than terms offered in Germany (32 days) or even in Poland (46 days), but still much lower than those offered in China (81 days) and the rest of Asia (66 days).Proof of the widespread nature of this practice in France is that although very small businesses are relatively less inclined to grant payment terms, 95% of them in fact do so. However, the payment terms are shorter. For example, 35% of them offer payment terms of less than one month, compared with around 10% for other company sizes.
Payment delays: the situation is becoming strained, VSEs and SMEs hard hit
82% of companies have experienced payment delays in 2023.It is more frequent than in Poland (61% of companies), Germany (76%) and Asia (57%), where payment terms are longer, but delays are less frequent.The size of the company is an important factor affecting payment delays.70% of VSEs and SMEs declared that payment delays had increased, versus “only” 53% of intermediate sized companies and large companies. Furthermore, most of VSEs and SMEs reported more frequent payment delays than in 2022. 54% of VSEs experienced payment delays…