FEVAD: Survey of French e-commerce business morale – 2016 Edition

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The current climate of confidence will encourage employment and investment

For this year’s One to One E-Commerce trade fair, the FEVAD (the French E-commerce Federation) has published the results of its annual survey of e-commerce business morale. This survey, produced in collaboration with LSA magazine and now in its 5th consecutive year, is based on the results of a survey of leading French e-commerce website senior executives.

85% of e-commerce businesses are optimistic about their company’s future

In spite of the uncertain economic situation, a large majority of e-commerce website executives remain confident: 72% of them stated that they were equally or more optimistic than in 2015. And when speaking of the future of their business, 85% stated that they were optimistic.

Generally speaking, 77% of businesses expect that their turnover will increase in 2016. 62% considered that this will also be associated with an upturn in profits. In total, only 7% expect their sales to drop this year.

More than half of the e-commerce websites expect to employ new staff this year

This confidence is having positive repercussions on employment. Last year more than half of the businesses surveyed (57%) increased their staffing levels, whilst at the start of 2015 only 48% of them expected to take on staff during the year. For 2016, recruitment plans are even higher: 52% of businesses expect to increase their staffing levels during the year (75% of these already employed new staff in 2015). Only 18% of the websites expect to reduce their staffing levels during the year. As a result the net employment forecast is +41% compared to -2% for the French economy as a whole (source: Baromètre Manpower employment prospects for the 1st quarter of 2016).

Communication, customer relations and IT are this year’s investment priorities

The investment priorities most often referred to by e-commerce businesses were: marketing and advertising (66%) in first place, followed by customer relations (60%) and IT (60%). On the subject of marketing, emphasis is likely to be placed on natural referencing (74%), e-mailing (55%) and paid referencing (54%). A new subject of note for this year will be “brand content” which was mentioned by half of the businesses. Regarding the development of communication channels, e-commerce businesses, regardless of their size, intend to concentrate their priorities on their website (80%), mobile commerce (59%) and social media (41%). These investments are likely to be at least partially financed by new capital raising operations. 65% of the surveyed executives expect significant capital raising operations during the year, compared to 48% last year. In addition, 57% of them are planning new stock flotations during the year.

New delivery options planned for 2016: unlimited delivery, delivery by appointment and delivery via car-share

E-commerce businesses are offering an increasing number of delivery options. Even if the standard home delivery option is the most common, 69% also offer pick-up point relays. In parallel to this, free delivery is an increasing trend. 59% of the websites already offer this in certain cases (but not for shop-pickups). Delivery options are expected to develop further in 2016. Amongst some of the planned options will be the use of annual subscriptions like the “Amazon Premium” system. Even if only 10% of the surveyed websites already offer this, 40% plan to do so in the near future. Two other delivery methods are expected to develop this year, firstly express delivery (20% expect to implement this while 60% already do) and delivery by appointment (29% plan to offer this and 32% already do). Finally, while car-share deliveries remains a rarity (1%), 15% of e-commerce websites plan to bring it in.

French websites are increasingly looking to international sales, particularly in Spain, Italy and Germany

60% of businesses state that they generate overseas sales and 7% state that they started overseas sales in 2015. In most cases, international expansion starts from France (60%), but market-places located on the local markets are becoming increasingly common (22%). Contrary to expectations, these websites do not restrict their sales to just one or two markets. Most sites which export do so to more than 5 countries. Belgium (86%), Spain (69%) and Italy (64%), are at the top of the list of international markets which are the most interesting for French websites, followed by Germany (57%) and the United Kingdom (53%). It is worth noting that the German market will expand significantly over the next two years and bring Germany up to second place in this list just behind Belgium. Finally, for the sites with international sales, more than 9 out of 10 expect to increase their international turnover over the next two years and 69% are expecting a very significant increase.

Survey method

Survey performed by the Fevad, in collaboration with LSA, on the 23rd February 2016, a panel of 96 e-commerce website senior executives (CEOs, Managing Directors, e-commerce Directors) were surveyed, distributed as follows: Less than 1 million euro: 11%; 1 to 10 million euro: 31%; 10 to 100 million euro: 31%; 100 to 500 million euro: 15%; More than 500 million euro: 11%.

About FEVAD:

FEVAD is the organization which represents the French e-commerce business sector. Its membership currently includes 600 business and more than 800 websites. The FEVAD’s main mission is to collect and distribute information that will increase knowledge of the sector and to operate for the sustainable and ethical development of e-commerce in France. 
Find out more: www.fevad.com / follow on Twitter: @FevadActu

Press contact:

Nathalie Laîné 
FEVAD Communication Manager 
T +33 (0) 1 42 56 38 86 
E nlaine@fevad.com

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