Camaïeu, Celio, Naf Naf, La Halle, Devianne, André or even Orchestra… The legal adjustments of clothing stores follow one another. The Covid-19 has weakened a sector already in great difficulty: the French have in fact been buying less and less clothing since 2008. “Between 2007 and 2019, the market fell by 17%, remarks Gildas Minvielle, director of the Economic Observatory of the French Fashion Institute (IFM). At the end of July 2020, clothing and textiles sales were down 20% compared to January-July 2019. ”
Clearly, the sector should lose as much in a single year as in twelve years. A real shipwreck. Since the start of 2020 according to the IFM, department stores have lost 36% of their turnover, independent fashion stores, 25%, and specialized chains, 23%. Low-cost stores are doing a little better, with a 15% drop. But everywhere, the growth of online sales is cushioning the breakage and keeping the heads of retailers above water. Globally, Internet purchases increased by 11% while physical stores lost 26% of activity.
Since containment, 2.6 million new customers
“It’s historic. Online fashion sales are expected to grow by around 15% by the end of the year. They could take several points of market share, ”predicts Gildas Minvielle. And this sudden digital acceleration is observed everywhere in Europe, according to the firm specializing in consumption Kantar. In the UK, online textile spending rose from 24% to 55% of the market, in Spain from 9% to 19%, in Italy from 13% to 22%.
“In France, the share of e-commerce in fashion has gone from 15% to 23%,” underlines Frédéric Valette, director of the Fashion and Retail department (Editor’s note: fashion and distribution) of Kantar. To the 12.8 million customers already online were added 2.6 million new customers during and after containment. This is 5% of the French who did not buy before and who came to buy fashion on the Internet! And half of them plan to continue.
This sudden growth also came to redistribute the cards. Until February, the “pure players”, present only online, concentrated more than half of spending on clothing and shoes on the Internet. But the brands that also have stores (H&M, Kiabi, Nike and Galeries Lafayette to name only the most successful) have taken advantage of the confinement to come and eat a better share of the growing fashion pie on the Internet.
These “click and mortars,” as they are called in the jargon, have fallen from 33% of online spending to 51%, bringing the internet giants down to 39%. “We tend to oppose commerce and e-commerce, notes Marc Lolivier, general delegate of the Federation of e-commerce and distance selling (FEVAD). But this is wrong, the consumer wants the best of both. “
By the way, the American Amazon tumbled from his throne, leaving the first place to the German Zalando and the second to the French Veepee. The distance selling brands (La Redoute, Blanche Porte) remain stable (14% to 12% of online sales). “We can also note the Vinted phenomenon which continues to progress and takes an increasingly important place in the market,” notes the Kantar specialist.
Internet works especially promos and broken prices
Like floral prints and lumberjack-style checks, is shopping for clothes on the Internet a fad? The experts are clear, it’s no: “17% of textile buyers in May and June did so exclusively online, points out Frédéric Valette. We also note that Internet users have changed their purchasing balances. Last year and until February, they spent 1000 euros, 30% of which on the Internet. In May and June, they spent 200 euros but more than 50% online. “
“It has been increasing for several years, but over the last three months, I have doubled my figures on digital, confirms Frédéric Hazan, from the Apostrophe and Georges Rech houses, whose ten stores in France are placed on a rather high niche of range. Thanks to our newsletters, our online sales now represent the turnover of a store. “Only downside:” Internet works very well with promotions and the outlet (Editor’s note: factory outlet at discounted prices) but much less with the new collection. “