Even though Amazon saw its sales in France increase significantly, the e-commerce giant could not fully benefit from the Covid-19 pandemic. In relation to the market, the company lost ground.
43 billion euros
Through its French website, Amazon realised a turnover of 8.3 billion euros last year, 7 per cent more than the year before. French newspaper Le Figaro reports this based on figures from market research agency Kantar. However, this growth is rather modest compared to the boost that the entire e-commerce market experienced: last year, online sales increased by no less than 24 per cent to 43 billion euros. As a result, the market share of the American giant dropped from 22 to 19 per cent in one year. Nevertheless, Amazon remains the clear market leader in France, with Cdiscount as number two by a considerable margin.
The fear, expressed by retailers, that Amazon would profit the most from the coronavirus pandemic - and particularly from the enforced closures during lockdowns - have thus proved unfounded. There are several reasons for this. For starters, the e-commerce giant's French distribution centres also had to be temporarily closed during the first lockdown, following a complaint from trade unions regarding unsafe working conditions. And although Amazon was able to deliver to the French from neighbouring countries, its ability to meet demand was limited.
In addition to the logistical problems, the anti-Amazon rhetoric, which reached a peak in November with the closure of non-essential stores, certainly played a role. At the time, even Prime Minister Jean Castex advised his fellow nationals to postpone their purchases rather than ordering from "a big foreign website".
But above all, Amazon's relative decline is down to the massive increase in the online supply. Most local traders were much better prepared after the first lockdown and were able to continue their activities online during the second wave. Many physical stores also acted as pick-up points for online orders.