E-commerce surfs in the crisis

In great shape and with good prospects for Christmas, despite the very uncertain economic context. On November 17th, Fevad, Federation of e-commerce and distance selling, presented the results of e-commerce for the third quarter of 2022: the value of sales reached 35.9 billion euros, against 30.7 billion euros , in the same period of 2021 , that is, a growth rate of 16.8%. If the average basket reached 64 euros, an increase of 7.3%, this reflects the weight of inflation.

But another development attests to the dynamism of the market: in one year, more than 11,000 e-commerce sites appeared. And in the third quarter of 2022, their number continued to grow by 6% compared to the same period of the previous year. In detail, the growth of this third quarter was based on the dynamics of services (+34%), driven mainly by the tourism and travel sectors (+39%). On the other handproduct sales stabilized (-2%, compared to the 2021 level), after a sharp drop, a reaction to the records recorded during the health crisis.

Structurally, this product market has grown considerably: it is 30% higher than in 2019. In it, sales to professionals continued to grow (+6.9%) in this third quarter, while sales to the general public decreased by 2.4 %. But with significant variations depending on the type of product: electronic products almost returned to the level of 2019, but with a 15% drop compared to last year.

As for the market for home appliance products, driven by consumers’ new enthusiasm for their interiors, it has undergone a specific development, according to a study by Gfk: at the end of September 2022, the French spent 6.5 billion euros on Internet (more than a year). In this period, the drop in online sales was very sharp (-14.7%), compared to the global trend of this market, which fell by only 0.4%. However, the Internet already accounts for a quarter of sales! And if the current level of this channel continues to fall from the peaks reached in 2020, when access to physical distribution channels was restricted, analysts expect a recovery later in the year.

gifts used for Christmas

Overall, in fact, e-commerce should do well in a Christmas that promises to be quite sober. Indeed, according to a study by GfK Consumer Pulse, consumers associate e-commerce with low prices and access to promotions, an image based in particular on the organization of large operations such as Black Friday, initially launched online. However, purchasing power is now the number one concern for consumers. And an online survey conducted last October by Toluna Harris Interactive, in partnership with Fevad, shows that more than a third of internet users face the Christmas period with a less positive state of mind than in 2022.

In practice, more than one in three French people (39%) plans to spend less than in 2021 on their Christmas shopping, a rate that rises to 51% between “humble professions“. In the same vein, almost three quarters of French people intend to give gifts to loved ones (21%), useful (14%) or just for children (10%). In total, the average budget foreseen for Christmas gifts and preparations amounts to at 404 euros, a value that hides profound disparities: for a quarter of French people (26%) this average budget is less than or equal to 100 euros.

But in this context a priori not conducive to business, e-commerce consolidates itself as a channel that has already becomeinevitable» for Christmas shopping: the practice is already well established and three quarters of online shoppers say they have a certain or probable intention of making their purchases through this channel. Their motivations: prices and promotions (41%), ease of purchase (25%) and choice (24%). On the other hand, there is no specificity for gifts purchased over the Internet. Games and toys lead (46%), followed by beauty products and perfumes (38%), clothing, footwear and fashion accessories (36%) and cultural products (31%).

New, half of Internet users say they are ready to offer one or more second-hand gifts at Christmas. This number, which has risen sharply compared to previous years, testifies to the enthusiasm of the French for the second leg. And in this area, the Internet occupies a very strong position: the latest study by GfK “Better consumer” reveals that the French widely use e-tailers for their second-hand purchases.

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