E-commerce (goods and services) posted modest current value growth in 2020, significantly lower than growth rates over the review period in France. This overall slowdown of current value growth in e-commerce is the result of the divergent impact of the COVID-19 crisis on e-commerce sales of goods and services.
In retailing e-commerce in 2020, food and drinks e-commerce was the big winner as consumers switched their focus to e-commerce channels when it came to purchasing essential goods. Food and drinks e-commerce recorded a substantial increase in current value sales in 2020, outperforming even home appliances, home and garden, and educational games in 2020.
The best-placed companies to profit from the widespread shift to e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic were large e-commerce companies with well-established e-commerce platforms and marketplaces such as Amazon and the French contender C-discount. However, despite recording excellent end of year sales figures, Amazon did not grow much more than the average growth rate in retailing e-commerce in 2020, which was the same for many other online-only players.
Initially, operators in e-commerce had expected e-commerce sales of services to return to normal in 2021, even if the beginning of the year may be difficult as prospects for vaccinations were looking up. Following the outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19 in Autumn 2020, and the prospect of further waves of the pandemic in 2021, however, the recovery for e-commerce sales associated with the tourism industry is expected to be delayed until 2022.
Mobile e-commerce is expected to continue to grow over the forecast period as the category still has a lot of potential in France. Despite a high penetration rate for smartphones, less than 30% of French consumers consider their smartphones or tablets as their favourite device for online purchases.
Although Amazon and other online-only e-commerce players were not the most dynamic players during the COVID-19 pandemic, marketplaces such as Amazon did continue to grow and will continue to do so in the short term over the forecast period thanks to partnerships such as Amazon’s deals with Monoprix/Casino and Maison de la Presse stores, which were made in the review period but will continue to support growth in the forecast period. The US giant also has plans to open its elevenths warehouse in France in 2021.
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