French Days: what are the prospects for the “Black Friday made in France”?

It is the great return of French e-commerce. From the 23rd to the 26th of September, many French brands will in fact offer a multitude of promotional offers on the occasion of the French Days. Launched in 2018 under the impulse of six e-commerce players (Cdiscount, Rue du Commerce, Showroomprive.com, Fnac-Darty, Boulanger and La Redoute), this commercial operation aims to increase the turnover of French merchants who have to face increasing competition from foreign players.

Initially planned for a few days in spring, French Days are now available in a second session that is held in early autumn, just two months away from Black Friday, which is especially the delight of giants like Amazon. If this meeting has become important for French e-merchants, it is far from provoking euphoria among consumers in France. In 2021, the Webloyalty Panel, which brings together more than 37 e-commerce sites, highlighted a 31% drop in online orders during the spring edition of French Days.

Black Friday is ending

It is true that the French are looking for bargains, but with promotional operations that already spread throughout the year, benefiting from discounts on coveted products is no longer the exception, but the norm. Even Black Friday, symbol par excellence of excessive consumption, did not have the desired effect last year. Because if Amazon doubled its profits in the fourth quarter of 2021, which includes Black Friday and the holiday season, it is thanks to the cloud and advertising, in the absence of online sales that fell by 1% in the period.

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In France, this day of promotions, imported from the United States in early 2010, even had a major setback in 2021. According to GfK figures, all product categories saw their revenue drop during this Black Friday 2021 crop: -16.9% for home equipment, -8% for IT office automation expenses, -13% for telecommunications, -15% for large appliances, up to -23% for electronics/photo, and -26% for home appliances small.

Consumers are ordering online more often

In this context, it seems difficult for the French Days to attract consumers. It must be said that the behavior of the latter evolved during the Covid-19 pandemic. And for good reason, the French rushed to e-commerce sites to do their shopping because of the various lockdowns that forced stores to lower their blinds for several months.

Reinforced by the health crisis, e-commerce has grown by 30% in just two years, and the gap between monthly consumer spending and spending during major promotional operations such as Black Friday or French Days has narrowed. Thus, while 54% of French online shoppers say they have not changed their online shopping habits, 38%, however, indicate that they have ordered more on the Net since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Observatory of uses of Mediametrics Internet. On average, these connected consumers make 51 online purchases a year, or nearly one a week, for an annual budget of €3,000. A third of them now shop for food online.

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Double Prime Day on Amazon?

Faced with this paradigm shift, French Days are struggling to make a difference, especially because Amazon, the absolute leader in the French market, has been offering its Prime Day since 2015, an event that allows Prime service subscribers to benefit from offers for 48 hours. And if until then this operation took place once a year in mid-July, it could be the subject of a second round this year.

And for good reason, the American giant would consider offering a Prime Fall Deal event in the fourth quarter, according to a document consulted by CNBC. If this hypothesis is confirmed, it could weaken the attack force of the French Days, with consumers delaying their spending to take advantage of the promotions of this second Prime Day and Black Friday.

Holding a Prime Fall Deal in a few weeks would be bad news for French electronics retailers, but it’s also a sign that Amazon is looking to breathe new life into its business operation, as inflation puts consumer purchasing power under strong pressure. pressure. Inflation is also the main reason given by the Seattle octopus to justify the sharp rise in subscription prices for its Prime service in Europe – after having done the same in the United States at the beginning of the year.

Markets at half mast

More generally, regardless of the number or attractiveness of promotional operations, the current portfolio of consumers is unlikely to be able to cash in on major new expenses, while energy prices and daily groceries continue to rise. In this difficult context, amplified by a long shortage of electronic components, many markets are currently in contraction. Thus, global sales of smartphones and PCs fell by 8.9% and 5.1% respectively in the first three months of the year, according to the company IDC. The decline was even more pronounced for the European smartphone market alone, with shipments falling 12% in the first quarter, according to Counterpoint Research.

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With the weather not looking good for smartphones and PCs, maybe TVs can save the day? Well, no… In the first six months of 2022, television sales fell by 15% in volume in France, leading to a similar drop in sector revenues (-14%) between January and June, according to data from the company GfK. the echoes.

Admittedly, the last quarter promises to be more prolific, with several commercial highlights, including Black Friday and especially the Football World Cup. Good news for the industry as a major football competition can generate between 300,000 and 500,000 additional sales over the course of a year in France, according to GfK. Therefore, the company expects sales to grow 10% in the fourth quarter compared to the same period in 2021. However, the 5 million models sold in 2020, or even the 4.1 million units sold in 2021 will not be surpassed or even equaled. For this year, GfK has a maximum of 3.5 million sales in France. Then failed again…

The French Days, French e-commerce barometer before the end of the year

In this environmental crisis, all that remains is to hope for French e-merchants that consumers have saved the best for the end of the year and, in particular, for the French Days. But if the latter are now looking for good deals to lighten their wallets, more and more of them are putting off, or even giving up on “pleasure” purchases. And it’s not the iPhone 14, starting at €1,019, that’s going to fix things…

In this context, other products will certainly be successful from the 23rd to the 26th of September. But one thing is already certain: this autumn edition of French Days will give a first trend to French e-commerce before the final stretch of the year 2022, marked by Black Friday and the holiday season.

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