E-commerce, in good condition, will it endure from inflation?

A return to more normal growth, but based on the high levels acquired during the pandemic. At a recent press conference, Fevad, the Federation of E-Commerce and Distance Sales (750 members), presented market figures for the first quarter of 2022. In total, in this period, has a turnover of 32.5 billion euros, which is 11, 8 more% compared to 2021. In terms of content, the situation is normalizing. “During the crisis, product growth took over and offset the decline in services. Today, this is the second one that is pulling the market upwards“, Explains Marc Lolivier, general delegate of Fevada.

In the first quarter of 2022, product sales slowed (-12% compared to 2021, but + 15% compared to 2020), while services experienced a strong recovery (+ 43% compared to 2021), becoming the majority 56% of turnover). In particular, with a spectacular growth of 140%, “the journey is going (…) We are returning to the level of 2019. The delay has been compensated“Marc Lolivier points out. As for other sectors, B to C recorded a 15% drop in sales, but its level is still 20% higher than before Covid. As for B to B, it recorded + 19.6%, after the already successful 2021.

As a result of this development, the average amount of purchases increased (+ 6% in one year) and reached 62 euros. Another consequence is the growth of mobile commerce, which takes full advantage of the recovery of services (+ 14%). Currently, almost half of online sales are made via mobile phones or tablets. By products, the big winners are furniture (+ 20% compared to 2019), beauty hygiene (+ 37%), and above all food (+ 58%). Another evolution, linear, this one, “supply growth continuesadds Marc Lolivier.

The number of retail locations increased by 11% in the first quarter of 2022. There are 196,700 of them, after an evolution comparable to that of the previous two years. Among them, brands of physical stores and pure players coexist. “We see that the acceleration of store digitization, a direct effect of Covid, has created a real boost: even after stores reopened, online sales for retailers remained highnotes Marc Lolivier. All in all, a decisive step has been taken with the pandemic. “E-commerce has not returned to the level of activities from 2019, it has risen to a higher level. We believe that these new shopping habits have prevailed among the French“He explains.

Food, a new land of conquest

The observation is especially clear for food, which has become a new country conquering e-commerce. 42.7 million online shoppers in France, according to Médiamétrie, developed and maintained new practices during the pandemic. “IMAIn the past 12 months, 60% of internet users have bought food products online at least once“, Reveals Xavier Lemuet, Director of Major Research at Médiamétrie. For now, the profile of these buyers remains above all assets from 25 to 49 years. And the benefits of these purchases mainly come from supermarket chains, which are chosen by 42% of Internet users. In second place are pure players (28%), followed by anti-waste applications (17%).

In addition, there are many other related solutions and practices: short-circuit applications or applications for connecting with local companies, applications that offer recipe baskets, specialized organic sites or even fast shopping, these services that offer delivery in less than 15 minutes. These offers seem to hide different growth potentials. Therefore, anti-waste applications seem particularly promising: 44% of Internet users have already heard of these solutions that allow them to buy products at lower prices than retailers. But only 14% of internet users are aware of the existence of applications related to local commerce.

The figure is also quite low for fast trade (24%), a level probably explained by the limited distribution of this offer, limited to large cities. Still in food, during the pandemic, another practice prevailed, home delivery of meals. This primarily applies to young workers and students living in big cities. However, in the past 12 months, 42% of Internet users have used it, and the use is becoming more intensive. “More than half of users use it at least once a month“Says Xavier Lemuet.

Will the Frenchman’s appetite for buying food online be confirmed? The role that inflation will play – already almost 4% in April for these products, according to INSEE – will carry a lot of weight in the equation. According to Médiamétrie, 60% of internet users already believe that their (total) food budget has increased. Half of them increased their online purchases. Among the reasons cited are budget control, ease of finding promotions … But 19% of internet users have limited online shopping, an approach they explain, in particular, by price level. It is possible that these customers refer to those who offer discounts, such as Aldi. In short, behaviors vary, but “all these motivations are related to purchasing power“Marc Lolivier points out.

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