Paris, March 16, 2022
Survey on the morale of French e-merchants in 2022: confident actors for the future despite uncertainties
for the 11º consecutive year, the Federation of e-commerce and distance selling (Fevad) publishes the results and trends of its survey on the morale of French e-merchants. This study, carried out by OpinionWay for Fevad and LSA, is based on a survey of about a hundred managers of the main French e-commerce sites.
E-merchants more divided on market development prospects, but still confident in their business growth potential
After two years marked by exceptional growth in e-commerce in the context of the pandemic, e-retailers seem more confused about the evolution of the market in 2022. While 65% say they are more or as optimistic as last year, 35% of respondents said they showed less optimistic, thus marking a clear break with 2021 (NB: only 8% said they are less optimistic in 2021).
Globally, two-thirds of e-merchants remain confident in the future and this is reflected in their business’ economic prospects: 67% believe their turnover will grow and 45% anticipate an increasing net margin. However, 15% of them anticipate a drop in their turnover for the year 2022, a figure that rises to 21% in terms of net margin.
Among the other trends expected in 2022 by the surveyed leaders are: the growing development of second-hand (for 90% of them), the signing of strategic agreements between e-merchants/retailers (71%) and the search for concentration movements ( 64%).
E-commerce job creation prospects remain high
Despite less marked optimism than in previous years, this should not discourage companies from continuing to recruit. 54% of managers anticipate an increase in their workforce and 37% believe they should stay the same. In total, only 9% of e-merchants consider that their workforce is at risk of shrinking, which remains very close to the level presented in 2021 (7%). E-commerce must therefore, once again this year, continue to be a provider of employment for the French economy.
IT, CSR and logistics, the winning combination of priority investments
More than 50% of respondents believe that the COVID crisis has accelerated investments. They are half of what they think the pandemic has slowed them down.
For 2022, IT issues (IT, security) are at the top of e-merchants’ investment priorities, ahead of CSR, which goes hand in hand with logistics and marketing/advertising. Thus, 66% believe that their investments in IT systems will increase (29% believe they will remain stable), a figure that reaches 57% for CSR (2% increase compared to 2021; 31% believe they will remain stable), 56% for logistics (with an emphasis on eco-responsible delivery and packaging) and 55% for marketing and advertising.
With regard to investments in marketing and communication strategies, continuity is necessary, as social networks should continue to be the priority investment channel for e-merchants and 65% foresee an increase in spending in this area. Next come natural referencing (57% predict an increase in investment; -7 points compared to 2021) and brand content (48%).
Finally, in the medium term, innovation projects should focus on predictive marketing (64% have a current or future project), website accessibility (61%); stock unification (59% +9 points); returns to mailboxes (42%) and connected parcels (40%). On the other hand, interest in voice assistants and virtual reality continues to wane.
International, more popular than ever
If last year the COVID crisis could have disrupted international development, this year companies seem ready to set out again to conquer new markets. Among the leaders surveyed, 85% believe their turnover will grow internationally in the next two years, compared to 73% last year. It is thus only 5% to judge that this will decrease. The desire for international expansion is clearly a priority for e-merchants and testifies to the dynamism of national players. Among the three favorite destinations, we find Belgium at the top of the podium, followed by Spain and Italy. Another point to be highlighted, 31% of the sites present internationally are under development in more than 10 countries, that is, three points more than last year.
Supply and inflation pressures worrying e-retailers
The current economic and political situation is reflected in the responses of the leaders: 70% of them say they are very concerned about the tensions that have consequences in the supply chains, which in fact cause a substantial increase in prices. Rising delivery costs, which in part stem from these tensions, is the second major concern mentioned by 60% of e-merchants. In the third position, the drop in household consumption linked to the decline in purchasing power is an issue mentioned by 57% of managers.
There are, however, many positive elements that outweigh these concerns. Firstly, 70% of respondents are very positive about the continued growth in the number of online shoppers, allowing them to expect new outlets. The second reason for optimism is the exponential growth of the mobile internet, highlighted by 59% of managers. In the third position, 51% judged the growing digitization of physical players very positively.
Strong industry expectations regarding the presidential election
In this presidential election year, leaders were invited to comment on the results of the five-year term and their expectations for the next five years. Two-thirds believe this election will have some effect on e-commerce, but 72% believe the campaign is not yet up to the industry’s challenges. Among the leaders’ expectations regarding the future President of the Republic with regard to digital and e-commerce, the support of companies in terms of investment and innovation (93%). Then come regulatory stability (91%), tax exemption (88%) and cybersecurity (87%). There is also a growing expectation of greater consultation with professionals. When evaluating the public action of the five-year period in terms of electronic commerce, the efforts of the last majority compared to the previous five-year period stand out, namely in terms of support and development of start-ups (impact considered positive by 54% of executives, increase in 28 points), digital transformation of companies (42%; up 25 points), or in the area of global digital support (37% above 28 points). On the other hand, only 19% consider the positive impact of public action in terms of changes in the legislative framework. However, here again the score has increased by +15 points compared to 5 years ago.
E-merchants optimistic about the future of their business
Despite the more pronounced doubts than in 2021, given the uncertain global context, 88% of managers say they are optimistic about the future of the company itself, a level similar to that of 2020, the year marked by the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic. Pessimism, therefore, is not on the agenda and attests to a resilient and dynamic sector that will closely follow the measures of the next government to support it.
Access the replay and presentation (reserved for members)
Survey conducted by OpinionWay for Fevad in partnership with LSA from February 14 to March 4, 2022, with a panel of 104 e-commerce site managers (CEOs/CEOs/e-commerce directors) whose distribution is the following: 1 to €10 million: 35%; 10 to 100 million euros: 38%; more than 100 million euros: 27%. Furthermore, 62% of respondents are ahead of so-called “pure-player internet” sites and 38% are retailers. For information, 2/3 of the responses were received after 24 February (the start of the invasion of Ukraine).
The Federation of E-Commerce and Distance Sales is the representative organization of the e-commerce and distance sales industry. Currently, it brings together 600 companies and more than 800 websites. Fevad’s main mission is to collect and disseminate information to improve knowledge of the sector and work towards the sustainable and ethical development of electronic commerce in France. For more information: www.fevad.com / follow us on twitter: @FevadActu and on LinkedIn.
Press contacts: Fevad – Nathalie Laîné – Communications Manager – 01 42 56 38 86 – firstname.lastname@example.org