Why Amazon and e-commerce are falling out of favor in this time of inflation

Less dominant Amazon, mediocre Black Friday, declining drive-thru sales… After two years of euphoria, online commerce is suffering more than stores from inflation.

An unprecedented rejection for Amazon. The site may be less popular this year with the French for Christmas shopping. This is what reveals a study by the company Bonial, which annually surveys consumers about their intentions for the end of the year.

While in 2021, 53% of consumers surveyed wanted to do some of their shopping on Amazon, only 47% this year said they did, a 6-point drop, the biggest ever for the entire Bonial panel. 🇧🇷 At the same time, E.Leclerc increased by 4 points to 24% of purchase intentions.

Amazon remains a solid leader, but that drop is symptomatic of a tougher-than-expected year for the online retail industry.

However, with its low prices, its strong competition, its price comparators, the Internet had everything on paper to bite off most of this period of inflation and tension in purchasing power.

A Free Black Friday

However, the opposite has been observed since the beginning of the year. In the third quarter, online product sales fell 2% again, according to Fevad, after a sharp 15% drop in the first six months of the year.

“This trend affects several important sectors of e-commerce: fashion, decoration and beauty, which returned to a level close to last year, specifies the Sales Federation. While sales of electronic products show a further 15% drop compared to the 3rd quarter of 2021.”

If e-commerce stays above pre-Covid levels, it looks like the crazy years of double-digit annual growth are behind us.

Evidenced by the mixed success of the 2022 edition of Black Friday. Thus, if according to Fox Intelligence, the number of orders increased by 6% compared to 2021 in the 10 days of the operation, sales fell by 2% on the main day of Friday, November 25th. Another Webloyalty study is even less favourable. According to its panel, which brings together the 37 largest e-commerce sites in France, the overall volume of purchases made on Black Friday would have decreased by 14% and the monthly volume by 7% compared to the 2021 period.

“Faced with galloping inflation, the 2022 edition of Black Friday was expected at New Year’s Eve, explains Rodolphe Oulmi, general manager of Webloyalty. After the return to post-covid normality in 2021, 2022 is marked by the fall in the purchasing power of families and good deals that are becoming increasingly rare.

Drive backs up for the first time

Even more surprising, this discontent with e-commerce seems to concern the food sector as well. While hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores should see an increase in revenue with inflation, food e-commerce should be, according to NielsenIQ, the only channel not to advance in 2022.

Drive-thru sales, which represent the vast majority of food e-commerce, are expected to decline by around 2% in 2022, the first since the creation of this concept. According to projections by consumer specialist Olivier Dauvers, Leclerc Drive should fall 2% this year, Auchan Drive 4%, Chronodrive 9%… Only Carrefour and Auchan would manage to resist, but with weak growth of 1%.

“Despite its objective advantages (control of the basket and its quantity, ease of access to own brands, etc.) the drive-thru seems less convincing at a time when customers are looking for smaller baskets and to access the greatest possible number of promotions, even first prizes”, analyzes the expert.

For the unit’s urban slope, the route seems even more acute. After the euphoria of 2018 and 2019, pedestrian driving no longer seems to be successful. Carrefour and Auchan are almost done expanding.

More restrictive legislation and insufficient demand have overcome this concept.

“The model is uncertain and no longer meets the demand in terms of deadlines, estimates Benoît Soury, director of Carrefour Proximité in LSA. The costs are significant and the industrial tools to produce orders very quickly and automate them are not obvious. 🇧🇷

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