Survey on the morale of French e-merchants in 2022

Paris, March 16, 2022

PRESS RELEASE

Survey on the morale of French e-merchants in 2022: confident the actors for the future despite the uncertainties

For 11ika consecutive years, the Federation of e-commerce and distance selling (Fevad) publishes results and trends from its survey on the morale of French e-merchants. This study, conducted by OpinionWay for Fevad and LSA, was based on a survey of approximately one hundred managers of major French e-commerce sites.

E-merchants are more divided on the outlook for market development but are still confident in the growth potential of their business.

After two years marked by extraordinary growth in e-commerce in the context of the pandemic, e-retailers seem to have more mixed market developments in 2022. While 65% say they are more or as optimistic last year, 35% of respondents said they were less optimistic, thus marking a clear break in 2021 (NB: only 8% said they were less optimistic in 2021).

Overall, two-thirds of e-merchants remain confident in the future and this is reflected in the economic prospects for their business: 67% believe their turnover will grow and 45% think of rising net margin. However, 15% of them expect a decrease in their turnover for the year 2022, a figure that rises to 21% about net margin.

Other trends expected in 2022 by the leaders surveyed include: the growing development of second-hand goods (for 90% of them), the signing of strategic agreements between e-merchants / retailers (71%) and the pursuit of concentration movements (64%).

Prospects for e-commerce job creation remain high

Despite less noticeable optimism than in previous years, this shouldn’t stop companies from continuing to recruit. 54% of managers expect its workforce to increase and 37% believe they should stay the same. In total, only 9% of e-merchants consider their workforce at risk of declining, which remains very close to the level shown in 2021 (7%). Therefore, e-commerce should, again this year, remain a provider of employment for the French economy.

IT, CSR and logistics, the winning combination of investment priorities

More than 50% of respondents believe that the crisis in COVID has accelerated investment. Half of them think the pandemic has slowed them down.

For 2022, IT (IT, security) issues are at the top of e-merchants ’investment priorities, ahead of CSR, which is neck and neck with logistics and marketing/advertising. Thus, 66% believe that their investments in IT systems will increase (29% believe they will remain stable), a figure that reaches 57% for CSR (up 2% compared to 2021; 31% believes they will remain stable), 56% for logistics (with an emphasis on eco-responsible delivery and packaging) and 55% for marketing and advertising.

Regarding investments in marketing and communication strategies, the continuation is smooth as social networks should remain the priority investment channel for e-merchants and 65% is expected to increase spending in this area. Next is natural determination (57% predicted an increase in investment; -7 points compared to 2021) and brand content (48%).

Finally, in the medium term, innovation projects should focus on predictive marketing (64% have a current or future project), site accessibility (61%); inventory consolidation (59% up by +9 points); returning mailboxes (42%) and connected parcels (40%). Conversely, interest in voice assistants and virtual reality continues to wane.

International, more popular than ever

If last year the crisis in COVID may have disrupted international development, this year the companies seem ready again to seize new markets. Of the leaders surveyed, 85% believe their turnover will grow globally over the next two years, compared to 73% last year. So they are only 5% to judge that this one will go down. The desire for international expansion is clearly a priority for e-merchants and witnesses the dynamism of national players. Among the three preferred destinations, we saw Belgium at the top of the podium, followed by Spain and Italy. Another point to note, 31% of the sites present worldwide are developing in more than 10 countries, that is three points more than last year.

Supply pressures and inflation worry e-tailers

The current economic and political situation is felt in the responses of the leaders: 70% of them express themselves to be extremely concerned about the tensions that have consequences on supply chains, and that in fact causing a large increase in prices. Rising delivery costs, partly stemming from these tensions, was the second major concern mentioned by 60% of e-merchants. In the third position, the decline in household consumption associated with the decline in purchasing power was an issue mentioned by 57% of managers.

However, there are many positive elements beyond these concerns. First of all, 70% of those surveyed are very positive about the ever-growing number of online shoppers, allowing them to look forward for new outlets. The second cause of optimism is the exponential growth of the mobile internet, highlighted by 59% of managers. In third position, 51% judge the increasing digitization of physical players very positively.

The sector has high expectations regarding the presidential election

In this year’s presidential election, leaders were invited to comment on the results of the five -year term and their expectations for the next five years. Two-thirds believe this election will have little impact on e-commerce, but 72% believe the campaign has not yet met the challenges of the sector. Among the expectations of leaders vis-à-vis the future President of the Republic regarding digital and e-commerce, leading to support companies in terms of investment and innovation (93%). Next are regulatory stability (91%), tax relief (88%) and cybersecurity (87%). There is also a growing hope for greater consultation with professionals. At the time of the five-year public action analysis in terms of e-commerce, the efforts of the last majority were underlined compared to the previous five years, specifically in terms of support and development of start-ups (impact that considered positive by 54% of executives, increased by 28 points), digital transformation of companies (42%; increased by 25 points), or in the field of global digital support (37% increased by 28 points). On the other hand, only 19% considered the positive impact of public action in terms of changes in the legislative framework. However, here again the score has increased by +15 points compared to 5 years ago.

E-merchants are optimistic about the future of their business

Despite clearer skepticism than in 2021 due to the uncertain global context, 88% of managers say they are optimistic about the future of their own company, a level similar to 2020, a year marked by onset of covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, pessimism is not on the agenda and testifies to a resilient and dynamic sector that will closely monitor the steps of the next government to support it.

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Survey conducted by OpinionWay for Fevad in partnership with LSA, from February 14 to March 4, 2022 with a panel of 104 e-commerce site managers (CEOs / CEOs / e-commerce directors) whose breakdown is as follows : 1 to € 10 million: 35%; 10 to 100 million euros: 38%; more than 100 million euros: 27%. In addition, 62% of respondents are at the head of so-called “pure-player internet” sites and 38% are retailers. For information, 2/3 of the responses were received after February 24 (beginning of the invasion of Ukraine).

About Fevad:

The Federation of e-commerce and distance selling is the representative organization of the sector of e-commerce and distance selling. It now brings together 600 companies and more than 800 websites. Fevad’s main mission is to collect and disseminate information to improve knowledge in the sector and act in favor of the sustainable and ethical development of e-commerce in France. For more information: www.fevad.com/follow us on twitter: @FevadActu and on LinkedIn.

Touch contacts: Fevad – Nathalie Laîné – Communication Manager – 01 42 56 38 86 – nlaine@fevad.com

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