E-commerce, a shock wave that is turning our lives and our cities upside down

Dear readers, dear readers,

You’re used to it now. the gallery regularly monitors its daily offer with a unique format in the world of digital press: a background file on a topic of economic and/or social, or even social, transformation. A thorough investigation, with a plethora of angles of attack, examples and testimonials to decipher the issues and keys to understanding an original, often overlooked topic.

After “electric charging stations business”, the wine sector transformation plan to adapt to climate change“the global battle for access to critical metals needed for the ecological transition”, we decided to focus on the rise of e-commerce, and more specifically about the turmoil that this sales channel brings to our lives. Why such a theme? Because by gaining more and more market share in physical commerce, e-commerce threatens to challenge one of the pillars of society, which not only gives rhythm to part of our life and our mobility, but also structures our territory, animates our towns and villages, while playing a key role in creating and maintaining social and family ties.

Because the Covid-19 crisis has given an incredible boost to e-commerce, which has already shown extremely dynamic growth in the last ten years.

The various confinements, teleworking, consumer reluctance pushing store doors mechanically boosted demand but also digital offer with the arrival on the web of new shopping possibilities that until now remained in the background in electronic sales. In particular food, both for supply and catering.

This growth is starting to disrupt the layout of cities, especially the larger ones. In Paris and the big cities, it’s hard not to see the cohorts of couriers cruising the streets on scooters, bicycles, cargo bikes or in vans of all kinds to respond to the boom in delivery activity. Less visible but no less impactful for the districts, the ” dark blinds ” and the ” dark kitchen “. Specialized in fast delivery, these stores and restaurants without customers compete with small businesses and restaurants. Sometimes to the point of taking over their premises when they had to close their activities during the crisis, thus contributing to the devitalization of some neighborhoods, already weakened for years by the increase in commercial areas in the periphery.

Faced with these changes, several questions arise: How far is e-commerce going? How fast will it develop? Will it kill physical commerce? As the government prepares to present the conclusions of the Assizes on Trade that it launched in December, opinions are divided.

If traditional commerce does not disappear, certain temples of consumption such as hypermarkets or shopping centers, those that have damaged local commerce so much, now also have to worry.

One thing is for sure, e-commerce has great assets to grow. First of all, the ” digital natives », the real ones, those who were born with a smartphone in hand, are not yet in the job market and mass consumption. Making it easier to receive deliveries, teleworking will also continue in companies. So, the digital divide is still far from being resolved and the finalization of the roll-out of the ultra-high-speed plan for a France without white areas is not expected until 2025 at best. Finally, the emergence of specific payment offerings such as piecemeal payment can only work in favor of e-commerce. Representing 13% of commerce, e-commerce therefore has all the cards in its hands to develop.

However, their rise to power will also depend on the political will to protect physical commerce, for example by establishing fairer rules of the game for stores or increasing the cost of delivery for environmental reasons.

Magazine of transformations and territories, the gallery decided, therefore, to mobilize all its writing to produce this dossier on “e-commerce, this shock wave that is turning our lives and our cities upside down”.

This subject will be the subject of this Monday an analysis of the market and its development prospects. It will be accompanied by an interview with Vincent Chabault, a sociologist and professor at the University of Paris who deciphers all the big commercial issues and the challenges posed by online sales to traditional stores, but also the strategy of the French champion Cdiscount. Tuesdaywe will focus on digitizing mass distribution and developing “fast trade”, then another, Wednesdayabout the logistics revolution from “air and sea” freight “to the last mile”, before tackling, Thursday, how digital commerce is transforming cities. Finally, Friday, we will close this file with the working conditions of the delivery world and environmental issues. In total, more than thirty articles will allow you to better understand the issue of e-commerce.

I wish you a good week and a good read.

Find the best of our e-commerce archive:

  • Editorial | E-commerce, a shock wave that is turning our lives and our cities upside down
  • The framing | Driven by Covid-19, to what extent can online commerce prevail?
  • The interview | “With e-commerce, we are reaching the end of the individualization of consumption” (Vincent Chabault, sociologist at the University of Paris)
  • Business manager analysis | E-commerce: “Its power is unbeatable, we cannot stop it or fight it” (Martin Piechowski, President of Chronopost)
  • The practical case | Casino, Carrefour…: what supermarkets are doing to digitize food sales
  • Decryption | How French Tech Unicorns Cohabit With Amazon
  • In our territories | E-commerce: Why Local Amazons, These Publicly Funded Marketplaces, Failed
  • The question | Can e-commerce free itself from air transport?
  • The next nugget | Lyra, the online payment outsider supporting the global e-commerce revolution
  • The Great Threat | Will e-commerce kill physical commerce? Local elected officials are concerned
  • The replica | Abandoned by the government, supermarkets want to save the skin of e-commerce