* Survey showed nearly 47 pct of web users had bought food online
By Dominique Vidalon
PARIS, May 24 (Reuters) - Online retail sales in France rose 13 percent to 22.3 billion euros ($26.10 billion) in the first quarter, said the French E-Commerce Federation (Fevad), highlighting growth in a sector that has seen Amazon and others make in-roads.
Amazon bought grocery chain Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion last year, and expectations that Amazon could focus next on Europe have spurred France's top retail companies to improve their own online offerings.
The Fevad federation said on Thursday that some 37.4 million people made online purchases in the quarter, an increase of 893,000 from a year ago.
Sales generated on web-based marketplaces rose 12 percent, while sales via tablets and smartphones rose 25 percent.
The average value of the basket fell 4.5 percent to 65 euros in the first quarter, albeit with an increase in the frequency of purchases, added Fevad.
There were, on average, 10.7 online transactions per buyer in the first quarter, up from 9.4 in the year-ago quarter.
Three of the most visited e-commerce websites in France are Amazon, CDiscount which is owned by French retailer Casino , and book and CD retail chain Fnac Darty.
In 2017, E-commerce represented 8.7 per cent of overall French retail sales, up from 7.7 per cent in 2016.
In February, Fevad said online retail sales in France could exceed 90 billion euros for 2018 and 100 billion euros in 2019.
A separate survey of 2,000 web users conducted from April 12 to April 23 by Fevad and Mediametrie also showed that 47 percent of those polled had already purchased one food item online.
Some 54 percent of those purchasing food online shopped at least once a month online and 28 percent at least twice a month.
Drive-through services - where consumers order online but collect the shopping by car - and home delivery made 42 percent and 34 percent, respectively, of the delivery modes chosen for food purchased online, with the average order worth 80 euros.
Amazon has made no secret of its desire to launch a grocery delivery service in France as part of its global ambitions to expand into food retail.
In March, Casino's upmarket Monoprix chain became the first local retailer to agree to sell groceries via Amazon Prime in Paris.
$1 = 0.8544 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta