While the health crisis has completely messed up our consumption habits, the big gangas of the pandemic are obviously the online sales platforms, whose sales have skyrocketed in the past few months. E-commerce now accounts for 19% of global sales, according to a report by Unctad (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development). After a slight increase in 2019 (4%), 2020 allowed online retailing to take the plunge and reach the public much more regularly.
An evolution whose most expressive symbol is Amazon. Jeff Bezos’ company saw quarterly revenue grow 44% in 2020, a record for the platform of over $ 108 billion.
However, these online sales are not evenly distributed around the world. In its report, Unctad shows that the United States is in the best position to do its shopping online. In total, Uncle Sam’s citizens have spent more than $ 9,000 billion on the Internet, which is nearly 45% of their GDP.
An impressive number that shows the importance of electronic commerce in the country, but it is by no means an isolated case. In its annual report, the United Nations conference also affirmed that Japan and South Korea do better in online retailing. In fact, the two Asian countries are the only ones on the planet to have exceeded 50% of GDP at $ 3416 billion for Japan (67% of GDP) and 1302 for its Korean counterpart (79% of GDP).
785 billion spent online by the French
If the situation in France is a bit behind, the latter is still very close to global trends. With a sharp increase in 2020, French online retail is now valued at $ 785 billion, or 30% of GDP. According to the latest estimates, almost 40 million French people have already made online purchases (source: FEVAD), which corresponds to almost 80% of Internet users in France.
The FEVAD (Association for E-Commerce and Distance Selling) estimates that three out of ten purchases made on the Internet are made using a mobile phone. This is important information for the democratization of this commodity, since buying by mobile phone is much more intuitive than using a computer or tablet. The association also lists the five most popular websites for the French to make their purchases, and without much surprise, it’s American giant Amazon that ranks first on the Jeff Bezos platform with more than one in two purchases. FNAC and Cdiscount completed the podium with 27 and 18% of sales respectively.
A dynamic that is more likely to be confirmed?
The big question that all economists are asking themselves today is whether consumers will continue to shop online or go back to their habits. Some economists believe that the reflexes acquired during the pandemic will continue and will therefore be based on an increase in online sales for 2021. A controversial opinion in the business community, many experts believe that the disadvantage suffered in recent months, on the contrary, will increase tenfold “in physical” as soon as it becomes possible.
At the moment, no opinion seems to take precedence over the other, and the first studies on the subject should come out by the end of summer, although they may still be biased by the pandemic.
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