Summary of our market study

The French driving school market is estimated at between €1.5 and €1.7 billion in 2022.

Since 2021, the French driving school market has seen significant fluctuations, with an 11% drop in candidates for the theory test and a 1.5% rise in practical driving tests in 2022.

This slowdown in demand has been influenced mainly by the cost of the test and the changing attitudes of young people, who are less inclined to take the driving test due to urbanization and environmental concerns.

Online driving schools have seen strong growth, thanks to innovative players such as Ornikar.

Traditional driving schools are facing challenges linked to market liberalization, and must adapt by offering online training.

Employment in driving schools has risen slightly between 2019 and 2022.

Despite the challenges, the sector remains highly regulated, and for the under-25s, a driving license is considered essential, particularly for employment.

Trends in the French driving school market

Analysis of the French driving school market reveals several key trends.

Despite the interest shown by different age groups, it is young people who are the main drivers of the market, with the under-25s accounting for over 80% of licences issued each year.

However, this demand is facing a slowdown; young people are less inclined to acquire a driving license due to urbanization and environmental concerns. Yet, for many, a driving license remains essential for employment opportunities.

What's more, the number of new driving license applicants has fallen by around 7%, dropping to between 1.2 and 1.3 million by 2022.

One of the reasons for this decline is growing competition from alternative modes of transport. Car-sharing and car-pooling are gaining in popularity, as is public transport, use of which has increased by 30% over the last decade.

The growing adoption of cycling for commuting is also competing with driving schools.

Driving school fees are on the rise; the average cost of obtaining a driving license is between 1,700 and 1,900 euros, with regional variations.

Online driving schools represent a less expensive option, offering packages several hundred euros cheaper, making them a more attractive choice for many would-be drivers.

The French driving school market is fairly fragmented, with a mix of traditional, hybrid and online schools. Despite the large number of local players, the market is undergoing a shift towards online training platforms, which has prompted traditional establishments to consider digitally integrated teaching methods.

The overall number of employees in the sector remains stable. There is market consolidation, with the number of driving schools declining by 11% between 2016 and 2022.

Regulatory changes, such as the possibility of lowering the driving age, demonstrate the government's influence on market dynamics.

Key players driving the French driving school industry

 

  • ECF (École de Conduite Française) and CER (Conduite Enseignement Routier). These two groups are the traditional leaders, offering a hybrid model of physical and digital services.
  • Ornikar, a pioneer in online driving schools. Ornikar has not only revolutionized the approach to driver training with its online courses, but has also expanded its services to include an insurance business.
  • PermisLibre connects students with independent driving instructors and, by offering virtual theory training, meets the demand for more accessible and potentially more cost-effective driving instruction options.
  • Numerous small local players cover the market
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Market overview and definition

Driving schools are specialized establishments whose mission is to train candidates to drive motorized vehicles in order to obtain their driving license. In addition to the basic training required to obtain a driving license, they can also offer a range of complementary activities such as pre- and post-licensing courses, road safety awareness training and vocational training.

The driving school sector features a variety of learning models, including traditional, hybrid and online driving schools. By 2022, there will be around 50 million people with a driving license in France, making it the country's biggest driving test by volume.

There are three types of driving school: traditional, hybrid and online.

The driving school clientele can be divided into four categories: young people under 25, people over 25, schoolchildren with an interest in road safety, and driving license holders wishing to improve their skills.although young people are less and less inclined to take the driving test due to urbanization and environmental concerns, they still consider it essential, especially for employment.

This market is suffering from growing competition from alternative modes of transport:

  • Car-sharing and car-pooling
  • Public transport
  • Transport rental
  • Increasing use of bicycles

But this market also faces competition from the no-license car market, which has been growing rapidly in recent years.

In 2015, the Macron law paved the way for online driving schools by simplifying approval procedures and doing away with certain prerequisites. Ornikar, which appeared in 2013, was a pioneer in this field. These online driving schools, such as Ornikar and PermisLibre, offer flexible, competitively priced training, while connecting students with independent instructors. However, they face challenges such as sometimes lower pass rates, longer waiting times and concerns about fraudulent practices. This new competition has led to tensions with traditional driving schools, who denounce it as unfair competition.

The driving school market in France is undergoing major changes, thanks in particular to government initiatives to modernize, the adoption of technologies to facilitate examinations, the emergence of innovative private players and merger and acquisition movements, reflecting a significant transformation of the driver training industry.

The driving test consists of two parts:

  • Theoretical : 40-question Highway Code test
  • Practical: driving time to assess respect for the Highway Code and other road users

In addition, there are three types of driving license offered by driving schools, whose shares have remained stable over the years:

  • Car: 84% of graduates
  • Motorcycle: 10% of graduates
  • Heavy goods vehicles: 6% of graduates

(2022)

1.2 European market

For the most part,driving schools remain confined to the national level. Only the Ornikar online platform seems to have any pretensions to international expansion. In June ****, the company raised €** million with the main objectives of diversifying (***) and expanding in Europe. In ****, a new fundraising round of around *** million euros enabled ...

1.3 A highly regulated French market facing competition from new players

According toINSEE, sales of the driving school market amounted to *.*** billion euros in ****, and the number of registrants was *.*** million. In ****, there were *.*** million new registrations, so we can estimate sales of the French driving school market at *.** billion euros

The evolution of the driving school market can also be analyzed ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 The slowdown in demand

In ****, *.*** million candidates took the general theory test (***), representing an **% drop in theory tests and a *.*% increase in driving tests compared with ****. The breakdown of licences issued is summarized in the chart below: Categories of driving licenses issued France, ****, in [***] Other : A-A*-A* : **.**% BE : *,**% C-C*: *.** CE-C*E: *.** D-D*-D*: *.**% In addition, ...

2.2 Demand driven by young people?

Driving school customers can be broken down into * types of profile

Young people under ** who want to take their driving test for the first time People over ** who want to take their driving test, who make up the minority of driving school customers Schoolchildren attending road safety awareness campaigns Holders of ...

2.3 The growing success of alternative modes of transport

In ****, according to the Observatoire des Mobilités Emergentes (***) produced by ObSoCo in collaboration with SNCF, French people's mobility habits have changed significantly since the start of the Covid-** pandemic. While the private car initially benefited from the health crisis to the detriment of public transport, a clear downward trend in ...

2.4 No-licence cars: growing competition to licences

Growth in the number of new license-free car registrations France, **** - ****, in thousands Source: ****

After a **% drop in new car sales between **** and ****, the number of mini-car registrations remained constant from **** to ****. However, a sharp increase was observed from **** onwards. New licence-free car registrations rose by **% in **** compared with ****. In ****, growth ...

3 Market structure

3.1 A highly competitive market

The driving school market is therefore highly competitive, as it has historically been made up of numerous local players with one or more establishments. Some of these schools have chosen to organize themselves into networks to pool some of their expenses.

The national ECF and CER groups alone represent around a ...

3.2 Geographical distribution of driving schools

The number of driving schools is relatively correlated with population density.

The map below shows the geographical distribution of driving schools in France.

Source: ****

More generally, the populations of driving schools by region and the shares to which they correspond are summarized below:

There are also geographical disparities in the pass ...

3.3 The "uberization" of the driving school market

In ****, the Macron law authorized distance learning contracts and simplified prefectoral approval procedures, removing the obligation for driving schools to obtain the approval of the Comission départementale de la sécurité routière. [***] This reform has led to the emergence of new nationwide players with no premises of their own: ...

3.4 Market trends

The driving school market in France is currently marked by several major trends. On the one hand, the French government has launched initiatives aimed at modernizing the driver training sector. These include the signing of a charter in partnership with BPI France and the CNPA as part of the France Relance ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 Types of driving schools and driving licences

The table below describes the range offered by each type of driving school.

Source: ****

While learning formats may differ, driving schools offer two types of training: theoretical, to prepare for the Highway Code exam, and practical, to prepare for the driving test.

Driving schools also sometimes offer additional services, such as ...

4.2 Driving school fees

Driving school fees are on the rise in France: they've been rising steadily for the past ** years. However, they have accelerated over the past * years, mainly due to inflation.

Price trends for driving school services France, ****-****, in INSEE

Driving license (***)

In France, the average price is **** euros to take your ...

5 Regulations

5. 1 Driving school obligations

To become a driving school operator, you must : be ** years old provide proof of the establishment's resources (***) have a CQP RUESRC (***) or a level III diploma employ a driving school teacher with specific training obtain prefectoral approval, valid for * years and renewable * years before expiry Each establishment must also have insurance ...

5.2 Recent reforms

**** European reform

In ****, the countries of the European Union launched measures with three objectives in mind: to combat fraudulent practices, guarantee freedom of movement and improve road safety.

To meet these objectives, several elements were harmonized: the format of driving licenses (***) and the frequency of medical examinations.

These changes came into ...

6 Positioning the players

6.1 Segmentation

  • ECF
  • CER Réseau
  • Couturier Permis
  • Ornikar
  • En Voiture Simone
  • Stych
  • City'Zen
  • Codes Rousseau
  • Permis Pas Cher
  • Permis Plus
  • 100% Permis
  • ECF Centre Atlantique
  • ECF Sud Prévention routière
  • ECF Paris Sud Rive Gauche
  • ECF Llerena
  • Sojadis Equipement
  • SCF SPS

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Consumer price index for the "Driving schools and driving test" service
  • Number of new driving license applicants, all categories combined
  • Driving license categories
  • Number of new applicants by license type
  • Breakdown of B license applicants by age group
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Latest news

ECF network abandons all-electric driving schools - 04/10/2023
  • 2.300 vehicles in its fleet The ECF cooperative comprises over 200 companies with total sales of 20.3 million euros.
  • The introduction of electric driving would require an additional seven hours of training per trainee to drive a combustion-powered vehicle.
  • Only 13% of apprenticeships carried out by the ECF network last year were on automatic gearboxes.
  • By 2024, ECF expects a third of its fleet to be hybrid vehicles.
  • The network has its own digital subsidiary, which designs and manufactures cockpits at a price 70% lower than products available on the market: 10,000 euros each.
  • Nearly 500 first-generation cockpits are already in use at the centers.
  • The aim is to quickly install 700 new state-of-the-art simulators.
Driving schools: ten years on, Ornikar dreams of European leadership - 04/10/2023
  • Ornikar is an online training company for the highway code and driving lessons created in 2013.
  • By 2021, it expects to have 420,000 customers for the code and 80,000 for driving.
  • The company claims 2,000 active instructors in 8,000 of France's 36,000 communes.
  • These instructors are expected to deliver 2 million driving hours by 2021.
  • Ornikar is based in Paris and generates sales of 80 million euros with 250 employees.
  • The company offers packages starting from 799 euros, i.e. 40% cheaper than traditional driving schools.
  • Ornikar has raised 100 million euros in 2021.
  • The company has a subsidiary, Onroad, in Spain. Ornikar has diversified its offer to include car insurance, with rates advertised as 25% cheaper than the average for traditional insurance.
Codes Rousseau evolves with the new rules of the road - 23/06/2023
  • New headquarters for Codes Rousseau in Vendée: over 3,000 m2, including 1,500 m2 to house 80 of the 100 employees.
  • 1.800 m2 dedicated to publishing and storage of books and accessories.
  • 8.000 driving school customers.
  • Investment in new headquarters: 4.5 million euros.
  • Codes Rousseau invests 4 million euros in new premises.
  • Launch of Oscar 2, an improved driving simulator.
  • Simulation of driving aids such as speed adaptation to traffic and lane departure warning.
  • Cost of driving simulator: approx. 20,000 euros.
New manager at Codes Rousseau. - 06/02/2023
  • Codes Rousseau founded: 1937
  • Company location: Les Sables d'Olonne (85)
  • Group to which the company belongs: Springer Nature
  • Sales in 2022: €18 million
  • Growth in 2021: + 4 million euros
  • Olivier Fretay's years of experience with the company: 16 years
GAP: Stych, mobility reinvented. - 27/07/2022
  • Average number of driving hours required to pass the driving test with Stych: less than 25 hours
  • Average number of driving hours in traditional driving schools: 35 hours
  • Reduction in budget and number of driving hours with Stych: 30%.
  • Stych is present in France's 40 largest conurbations
  • Stych growth: over 50%.
  • Since its launch, Stych has trained more than 200,000 students in driving lessons and has attracted more than 1 million users
  • Stych has a network of over 40 agencies in France
  • Stych has over 200 salaried instructors.
With 100 million euros in its pocket, Ornikar is seeking to assert itself in the car insurance market. - 22/04/2021
  • Online driving school Ornikar offers car insurance and new services such as additional training.
  • More than 35% of driving test candidates in France use Ornikar's services.
  • To diversify its business, the company has inaugurated a car insurance service.
  • The start-up has raised a total of 146 million euros since 2013.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

ECF
CER Réseau
Couturier Permis
Ornikar
En Voiture Simone
Stych
City'Zen
Codes Rousseau
Permis Pas Cher
Permis Plus
100% Permis
ECF Centre Atlantique

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