E-commerce, in good shape, will suffer from inflation?

Return to more usual growth, but based on a high level acquired during the pandemic. In a recent press conference, Fevad, Federation of e-commerce and distance selling (750 members), presented the market figures for the first quarter of 2022. In total, in this period, it weighs 32.5 billion euros in turnover, an increase of 11.8% compared to 2021. In terms of content, the situation is getting back to normal. “During the crisis, product growth took over and offset the decline in services. Today, it is the latter that pull the market up“, explains Marc Lolivier, general delegate of Fevad.

In the first quarter of 2022, the sale of products decelerated (-12% compared to 2021, but +15% compared to 2020), while services recorded a strong recovery (+43% compared to 2021), becoming the majority ( 56% revenue). In particular, with a spectacular growth of 140%, “the trip is increasing (…) We are back to the level of 2019. The delay is compensated“, points out Marc Lolivier. In relation to the other sectors, B to C had a 15% drop in sales, but its level remains 20% higher compared to the pre-Covid period. As for B to B, it registered +19.6%, after an already flourishing 2021.

As a result of this evolution, the average value of purchases increased (+6% over a year) reaching 62 euros. Another consequence is the growth of mobile commerce, which is taking advantage of the recovery in services (+14%). Currently, almost half of online sales are made via cell phone or tablet. By product, 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 commercial sites increased by 11% in the first quarter of 2022. There are 196,700, after an evolution comparable to the previous two years. Among them, physical store brands and pure players coexist. “We see that the acceleration of store digitization, a direct effect of Covid, generated a real boost: even after the stores reopened, online sales for retailers remained high.notes Marc Lolivier. In short, a decisive step was taken with the pandemic. “E-commerce did not return to the level of activity of 2019, it rose to a higher level. We believe that these new buying habits have taken hold among the French“, he explains.

Food, a new land of conquest

The observation is particularly clear for food, which has become a new land of conquest for e-commerce. France’s 42.7 million online shoppers, according to Médiamétrie, developed new practices during the pandemic and maintained them. “HASIn the last 12 months, 60% of internet users made at least one purchase of food products online“, reveals Xavier Lemuet, director of major research at Médiamétrie. For now, the profile of these buyers remains mainly that of the active aged between 25 and 49 years. And it is mainly the supermarket chains that benefit from these purchases, chosen by 42% of internet users. In second place are pure gamers (28%), followed by anti-waste apps (17%).

In addition, a plethora of other related solutions and practices are emerging: short-circuit apps or apps for connecting to local businesses, apps that offer recipe baskets, specialized organic websites or even fast commerce, those services that offer deliveries in less time. 15 minutes… These offers seem to have several growth potentials. Thus, anti-waste applications seem particularly promising: 44% of Internet users have already heard about these solutions that allow you to buy products at lower prices from merchants. But only 14% of Internet users are aware of the existence of applications related to local commerce.

The value is also quite low for fast commerce (24%), a level that is probably explained by the limited distribution of this offer, limited to large cities. Still in food, another practice was installed during the pandemic, the delivery of meals at home. It mainly refers to young workers and students residing in large cities. However, in the last 12 months, 42% of internet users have used it, and usage is becoming more and more intense. “More than half of users use it at least once a month“, says Xavier Lemuet.

Will the French appetite for buying food online be confirmed? The role that inflation will play – already close to 4% in April for these products, according to INSEE – will weigh heavily in the equation. According to Médiamétrie, 60% of Internet users already believe that their (general) food budget has increased. Half of them increased their online purchases. Among the reasons given are budget control, the ease of finding promotions… But 19% of Internet users restricted their online purchases, an approach that they explain, in particular, by the price level. It is possible that these buyers refer to those offered by discounts, such as Aldi. In short, the behaviors diverge, but “All these motivations are linked to purchasing power“, points out Marc Lolivier.

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