According to a study conducted by CSA for FEVAD, France’s leading e-commerce and mail order trade association, 7 out of 10 of internet users plan to either prepare for or make their actual purchases on-line during “les soldes” (bi-annual sales), which equates to 30 million people. Perhaps reflecting the apparent slow-down in France e-commerce sector which we reported on in November, the growth of those planning to make their purchases on-line during the winter sales has plateaued, with 56% buying on-line vs 58% last year. However, one encouraging sign for online retailers is that the amount that e-shoppers plan to spend is up slightly over last year, so 207€ vs 198€ in 2013.
In looking at what consumers intend to purchase online, the leading category is by far clothing, where 83% of e-shoppers overall, 91% of women and 90% of 25-34s plan to purchase clothing online. Following clothing, shoes, children’s clothes, consumer electronics, and home textiles. While still small, the categories posting biggest gains vs last year look to be home decoration/furniture which are expected to increase to 17% from 12% and handbags which will grow to 10% from 7% last year.
As for m-commerce, there are signs that consumers are starting to look to their smartphones to help them get the jump on other shoppers. While a majority of e-shoppers plan to buy or look for info on products via their PC or mac, 26% plan to use their smartphones and 24% their tablets. The biggest mobile shoppers look to be men, young adults (18-24…40% by smartphone!) and, not surprisingly, those residing in the Paris region. This is an encouraging finding as it offers some signs that French consumers’ reluctance to purchases via mobile devices may be cooling. While one could argue that this is down to a cultural change, this trend is also likely driven by improving mobile connectivity across France, even in light of the slow roll-out of 4G and connectivity on public transport.