It is the great comeback of French e-commerce. From September 23 to 26, many French brands will offer a large number of promotional offers on the occasion of the French Days. Launched in 2018 under the impetus of six e-commerce players (Cdiscount, Rue du Commerce, Showroomprive.com, Fnac-Darty, Boulanger and La Redoute), this commercial operation aims to boost the turnover of French merchants who have to deal with to greater competition. of foreign players.
Initially planned for a few days in spring, the French Days are now available in a second session that takes place in early autumn, just two months before Black Friday, which especially delights giants like Amazon. If this meeting has become important for French e-merchants, it is far from causing euphoria among consumers in France. In 2021, the Webloyalty Panel, which brings together more than 37 e-commerce sites, highlighted in particular a 31% drop in online orders during the spring edition of the French Days.
Black Friday is coming to an end
It is true that the French look for bargains, but with promotional operations now extending throughout the year, benefiting from discounts on coveted products is no longer the exception, but the rule. Even Black Friday, the quintessential symbol of excessive consumption, did not have the desired effect last year. Because Amazon doubled its profits in the fourth quarter of 2021, which includes Black Friday and the end-of-the-year fêtes, this grace in the cloud and advertising, despite the fact that online sales fell by 1% on the term.
In France, this day of promotions, imported from the United States in the early 2010s, even experienced a major setback in 2021. According to GfK figures, all product categories saw their turnover fall during this Black Friday 2021 harvest: -16.9% for household equipment, -8% for computer-office expenses, -13% for telecommunications, -15% for large household appliances, up to -23% for consumer electronics/photography and -26% for small appliances.
Consumers order 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 shop as various lockdowns forced stores to lower their curtains for several months.
Reinforced by the health crisis, e-commerce has thus grown by 30% in just two years, and the gap between monthly consumer spending and that which occurs during major promotional operations, such as Black Friday or the holidays, has been reduced. French Days. Thus, while 54% of French online shoppers say they have not changed their online shopping habits, 38% indicate, however, that they have ordered more online since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Observatory of Internet uses of Mediamétrie. On average, these connected consumers make 51 online purchases per year, or almost one per week, for an annual budget of €3,000. A third of them now do their food shopping online.
Double dose of Prime Day on Amazon?
Faced with this paradigm shift, the French Days strive to make a difference, especially since Amazon, absolute leader in the French market, has been offering its Prime Day since 2015, an event that allows Prime service subscribers to benefit from special offers. deals for 48 hours. And if until then this operation was carried out once a year in mid-July, it could be the subject of a second round this year.
And with 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 shock force of the French Days, with consumers postponing 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 e-retailers, but it is also a sign that Amazon is looking to breathe new life into its business operation, while inflation puts consumer purchasing power under heavy 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-.
More generally, regardless of the number or attractiveness of promotional deals, the current consumer portfolio is unlikely to be able to capitalize on major new spending as energy and daily food prices continue to rise. In this difficult environment, compounded by a prolonged shortage of electronic components, many markets are currently regressing. 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 firm IDC. The drop was even steeper for the European smartphone market alone, with shipments falling 12% in the first quarter, according to Counterpoint Research.
Since the weather doesn’t look good for smartphones and PCs, maybe TVs can save the day? Well no… During the first six months of 2022, TV sales fell 15% in volume in France, which caused a similar drop in revenue for the sector (-14%) between January and June, according to figures from the firm GfK unveiled by the echoes.
It is true that the last quarter promises to be more prolific, with several commercial milestones, including Black Friday and especially the Soccer World Cup. Good news for the sector insofar as a major football competition can generate between 300,000 and 500,000 additional sales per year in France, according to GfK. For this reason, the firm expects sales to increase by 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, do not they will be surpassed, not even matched. For the current year, GfK has a maximum of 3.5 million sales in France. So it failed again…
The French Days, barometer of French e-commerce before the end of the year
In this environmental depression, all that remains is for French e-merchants to hope 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 empty their wallets, more and more are postponing, or even giving up, “pleasure” purchases. And it’s not the iPhone 14, with a starting price set at €1,019, that will fix things…
In this context, other products will do well from September 23 to 26. But one thing is already certain: this autumn edition of the French Days will give a first trend for French e-commerce before the final stretch of the year 2022, marked by Black Friday and the Christmas season.
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