Online sales won “Two to three years of development in three months time”, estimates François Momboisse, president of the Federation of e-commerce and distance selling (Fevad), Tuesday, September 15, by unveiling the quarterly figures of online sales stopped at the end of June. Driven by new purchasing habits adopted since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, the Internet could represent 13% of retail sales in France at the end of the year, against 10% in 2019.
For the time being, however, the quarterly report is a sham. The online sales market grew by 5.3%, on average, in the second quarter, compared to the same period of 2019, after gaining 1.8% in the first three months of the year. The weakness of this growth – the market grew by 11.6% in 2019, to reach more than 103 billion euros – is explained by the collapse of the tourism sector, heavyweight of e-commerce. Following the adoption of containment measures in France to fight the coronavirus epidemic, the sale of train and plane tickets and hotel nights plunged by 75% online, on the period, compared to the second quarter of 2019.
The purchase of everyday consumer goods has literally jumped. The market rose 45.7% in the second quarter, according to the iCE 100 index established by Fevad. All sectors have benefited. Starting with food expenses, up 53%, thanks to the development of drive-through sales. The clothing sector itself grew by 11% over the first seven months of the year.
This increase was made “Thanks to new customers”, analysis Frédéric Valette, director of the fashion and distribution department at Kantar Worldpanel. In three months of time, no less than 2.6 million French people have thus converted to the online purchase of clothing, at the end of May, according to Kantar.
Zara, Nike and Kiabi took full advantage of it, while Amazon, the leading online fashion distributor in France, was handicapped by a restriction of its activity to only so-called “essential” products during the confinement period. Our compatriots in particular bought children’s fashion, so-called clothes « casual » suitable for home life and “Sneakers and sports shoes”, underlines Hélène Janicaud, director of studies within the company of studies and analyzes, evoking the new mantra of the French: “Never without my sneakers. “ The market share of the Internet is now close to 24%, at the end of the first half, against 15% in 2019, in the fashion market, estimates Kantar.
Forced to stay at home, the French have also been numerous to undertake renovation work and to obtain paint cans and other watering hoses on the Web, rather than at Castorama. So much so that the audience for the Leroy-Merlin and Mano-Mano sites has grown significantly. The first is placed in 4e position of the most visited sites in France, in the second quarter, behind Amazon, Cdiscount and Fnac, with 14.4 million unique visitors, while the second entered 11e position, with 11.7 million unique visitors. Never seen.
“Economic shock absorber”
The second hand market is also totally shaken up. Because, recalls Frédéric Valette, 40% of French people have sorted their wardrobe. From then on, as a family, they sold their unused clothes. They also got rid of other products. In addition to Vinted, specialist in the sale of second-hand clothing, which now ranks fourth among players in fashion e-commerce, according to Kantar, sales sites between individuals are experiencing a second youth. Audiences for eBay and Rakuten thus grew strongly in the second quarter, according to Médiamétrie.
What will remain of these new consumption habits? They should ” continue “, we loveme Janicaud. Because nearly 70% of cyber-shoppers declare that the coronavirus crisis will permanently affect their habits, according to Médiamétrie. And, adds Mme Janicaud, 57% of new online clothing shoppers have already ordered other fashion items in May and June, according to Kantar. In short, the fold is taken.
Therefore, after a 15% jump in 2020, online fashion sales should represent between “19% and 22%” of the clothing market, according to Gildas Minvielle, director of economic studies at the French Fashion Institute (IFM). Unfortunately, this gain should not be enough to compensate for the loss of activity in stores. The blow will be hard. The market collapsed by 17%, between 2007 and 2019. And fashion sales should end the year with a net loss of between “10% and 25%”, according to IFM projections. The Fevad, which defends the interests of e-commerce in France, however underlines how much the surge of 45.7% of online sales of products has had “A role of economic shock absorber” in this time of major crisis.