France is an excellent example of the permanent changes in consumer behavior we’re seeing in e-commerce and retail around the world. French consumers have flocked to buying products online during the pandemic and, so far, are paying fewer visits to brick-and-mortars, though France is accelerating the easing of lockdown restrictions next week.
Retail online sales fell in March but recovered the next month with sales up 11%-21% depending on the industry. Tech and entertainment retailers have seen increases of 27% since March. Overall online grocery sales are around +13% growth YoY, but from February 24 through March 22, home delivery in France grew 74% YoY.
French consumers indicate that in a post-pandemic world they prefer to buy online and pick up in-store more than their neighbors, with France at 15% over Italy (14%) and Germany (9%). According to a McKinsey & Company survey, grocery delivery is up 58% in France. Another survey from April 2020 found that 20% of consumers believed their online grocery shopping would increase, and 15% expected to buy more non-grocery items online.
On June 22nd, restaurants and cafes will reopen in Paris, as will schools and French borders with other countries. While most of Europe is seeing declines in projected GDP growth (with France anticipating an 11% drop for the year), we will keep tracking whether this e-commerce trend becomes the norm.