Will half-mast French purchasing power put a damper on the annual trade festival? “Inevitably there is a fear,” recognizes Hugo Larricq, commercial manager at CDiscount. However, the number two in e-commerce in France is betting on this November 25th to regain color, buying in large quantities very early to guarantee low prices. After the golden age of lockdown, the online sales site saw a 15% decline in business volume in the second half of 2022, weighed down by inflation. “Research at the moment
s online for Black Friday are the same as last year,” assures Hugo Larricq. In normal times, the event allows CDiscount to quadruple or even quintuple its attendance in one day.
30% of the French think they don’t take part in Black Friday
But this year, a strange uncertainty hangs over online retail. Since Januarythe E-Commerce and Distance Selling Association (Fevad) saw a sharp decline in sales of online products: 17% over a year in the second quarter and 2% in the third, despite inflation swelling the basket of buyers. The year should end in the red, a first for a market that has historically been strong. The decline comes with a return to normal after lockdowns and store closures, Fevad assures. However, its managing director Marc Lolivier warns that a return to growth is not guaranteed: “E-commerce is not immune to the purchasing power crisis“.
According to a survey by Harris Interactive for Fevad, 30% of French people plan not to attend Black Friday, mainly because of tensions over spending power. “The end of state aid for fuela few days before November 25, can amplify this,” says Thomas Stenger, professor of business administration, specialist in e-commerce at the Institute of Business Administration in Poitiers.
“Consumer hedonism is not trendy”
Second reason for reluctance, particularly among the wealthiest categories: the risks of overconsumption and waste, a sensitive issue amid an energy and environmental crisis. “Consumer hedonism is not trending,” said Nathan Stern, study director at Altavia Shoppermind. The idea of sobriety dominates, sometimes bordering on a form of asceticism, minimalism. Black Friday.”
Taking the spotlight is the ex-superstar eBay also in France refuses to balance his articles this Friday and maliciously announces his noticed absence. Sarah Tayeb, Sales Manager, explains: “Black Friday represents overconsumption. We hope to show that there are alternatives.” The entire industry is walking on eggshells, as Jean-Marc Mégnin, Managing Director of Altavia Shoppermind, points out: “This year distributors’ communication investments have been revised downwards.
Fnac-Darty wants to believe in an “extremely dynamic” Black Friday
Still, in times of inflation, Black Friday could be an opportunity for some French people to let go with a simple click, while the internet remains the place of good deals in the collective imagination. “We have worked with our teams to have offers for all budgets. People are looking for good deals and we will have a very dynamic Black Friday,” encourages Julien Peyrafitte, commercial director of the Fnac Darty Group. The share of online sales is certainly down within the group, but Fnac-Darty has nearly 800 stores to offset the trend. A chance in these uncertain times that many e-tailers don’t have.
So will the purchasing power crisis dampen or boost Black Friday? “We will have both trends,” replies Thomas Stenger. In times of crisis, on the one hand, there is a development of e-commerce because consumers are convinced that the Internet has the lowest prices, and on the other hand, a part of the e-commerce population that no longer has access to pleasure shopping.” It remains to be seen which trend will be the strongest The stakes are high: according to Fevad, year-end accounts for more than 25% of e-merchant sales.