E-commerce: figures for the new fashion and decoration season and our tips for preparing the end of the year

Cyril Blondel
Posted on 29 September 2021 by Cyril Blondel
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The festive season at the end of the year is fast approaching, a real high point for sales, and e-merchants, including the fashion and decoration sectors, are already busy preparing for the rush. Since the health crisis hit, global online sales have sky-rocketed. Here is a review of the situation in these two dynamic sectors, with some pointers on how to optimise your payment performance.

Fashion: sales back to normal and digitalisation a success

The Natixis Payments Observatory* gives us valuable insights through the analysis of transactions in the sector:

  • The sector has recovered after a difficult year in 2020, interspersed with lockdown periods. Sales in 2021 have returned to exactly the same level as in 2019 (in cumulative amounts to end August), whereas in 2020 they had suffered a sharp decline (24.8%).
  • a 16 point increase for e-commerce in 18 months: online sales accounted for 18% of transactions at the end of 2019. By August 2021, this figure had risen to 34%.
  • In-store payments fluctuated significantly depending on the health restrictions, but e-commerce sales remained relatively stable throughout the year, with some peaks in April and May 2021 to compensate for the closure of physical stores (+28% in amounts between March and April 2021).
  • Lastly, consumer perceptions have also changed! Fashion is considered digitally advanced by 78% of consumers, up 10 points compared to November 2020. The sector is perceived to be the 3rd most digitalised, after household appliances (at 83%) and tourism (81%).**

Decoration/house/garden/do-it-yourself continued to improve

The analysis of payments made in the sector* shows a clear progression:

  • Sales leapt up by 20.9% between 2019 and 2021 (in cumulative amounts), a spectacular increase since the beginning of the health crisis.
  • The average value per customer purchase rose by 10.5% compared to 2019. It now stands at €63.44.
  • With 58% of the amounts spent, men are the majority of customers in this sector. But it is women who have increased their spending the most compared to the previous year, up by +20% (vs. an increase of +18% for men).
  • up 6 points for e-commerce: the figures may seem modest, but the progress is swift. The number of online transactions rose from 8% in 2019 to 14% in 2021*.
  • 71% of French people now consider this sector digitally advanced: here again, the increase is swift, with a gain of 16 points compared to perception among the French at the end of 2020.

Tips to optimize performance during peak sales periods

  • Matching consumers' payment preferences

Dalenys conducted a survey to find out the preferred payment methods of French consumers**. The results show that split payments are now known to 79% and used by 26% of consumers, and deferred payments are known to 71% and used by 17%. These are also the payment methods favoured by people who do not use them yet or are not familiar with them (25% and 29% respectively).

  • Streamlining the combat against online fraud to prevent conversion rate decline

For most French people (88%), the strong authentication introduced with the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) is an effective way of guaranteeing the security of online transactions, with 37% even strongly agreeing on this point. However, this extra step at the time of payment can be offputting for 38% of consumers. Check with your payment provider how to streamline your anti-fraud strategy to avoid the routine use of strong authentication. The regulation allows for exemptions, which can be usefully deployed to smooth your buying experience, and avoid losing sales.

  • Optimising your online payment page

Paying online can be a hurdle: 1 in 2 consumers say they have abandoned a purchase when it comes to paying online. The main reason given is doubt about security when arriving at the checkout page, cited by 88% of those who admit to having abandoned an online purchase at the payment stage. The payment page should therefore provide reassurance for consumers: the brand's colours (and not those of the payment service provider), a summary of the shopping basket, or card data security details, and a reminder of 3DS Secure authentication so that customers have their smartphone available.

*source: Natixis Payments observatory on transactions by Banque Populaire and Caisse d'Epargne cardholders - August 2021
**source: OpinionWay Study for Dalenys "Digitalisation of commerce: French customers' expectations for 2022" - August 2021

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