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Appareil commercial et diffusion des biens de consommation au XVIIIe siècle : aires et structures du commerce des commodités en Lorraine centrale et méridionale, années 1690-1791

Abstract : To what extent did merchant consumption of commodities grow in the 18th century ? To answer this question, we determinded to study the evolution of the traders number and the mutation of their business practices in Lorraine. Due to its demographic, economic and social characteritics, this region is in fact quite representative of the transformations Europe experienced from 1700 to 1790. Our study shows an increase in the number of shopekeepers in the region during the century, not only in absolue value, but also compared with population. To supply themselves, shopkeepers had to rely on a small elite of wholesalers involved in importation trade, whose business activities are on the rise during the century. All these elements suggest a georgraphical and social extension of merchant consumption in towns and in the country. As a matter of fact, on the eve of the Revolution, lower-class consumers made in majority of shopkeeper’s consumer base. The rise of merchant consumption was also caused by upper-class consumers’ enthusiasm for the broadening range of new items the shopkeepers offred. However, there was no revolution in merchant consumption or in business practices in the 18th century. The amount of shops in the religion was already important in the 1700’. This fact suggests that merchant consumption was already widespread in the population, in town as in the country – and even in the lower classes. On top of that, trade practices did not experience grat changes in the century. Trends towards specialization and innovative commercial practices – such as advertising, shop design or fixed-price sales – were not significant outside main towns.
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Julien Villain. Appareil commercial et diffusion des biens de consommation au XVIIIe siècle : aires et structures du commerce des commodités en Lorraine centrale et méridionale, années 1690-1791. Histoire. Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, 2015. Français. ⟨NNT : 2015PA010705⟩. ⟨tel-02495721⟩

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