The sales period is a key time for retailers to clear their stocks, but also for customers, many of whom wait for this period to begin. However, there is a growing lack of interest in sales among the French and an increasing trend towards online shopping. In addition, the health crisis linked to COVID-19 is not without consequences for the sector, as the start of the 2020 summer sales has been postponed.
Summer Sale 2020 and COVID-19
This period of authorised sales at a loss is always eagerly awaited by retailers, because as Yohann Petiot, Director General of the Alliance du Commerce, explains, "the winter and summer sales represent 30% of annual sales volumes in the clothing sector, which is more important than Christmas".
This year, the summer sales will exceptionally begin on 15 July 2020 and end on 11 August 2020, i.e. 3 weeks later than initially planned. Another special feature is that this new date will be common to all departments in mainland France, even to tourist or border regions that usually benefit from derogations.
In addition, like the 2020 winter sales, the 2020 summer sales will last 4 weeks instead of 6 at the request of retailers who want a shorter but more intense period.
Regarding the postponement of the sales date, the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire justifies it by the COVID-19 health crisis that we have been facing for several months now and that has forced non-food shops to close. While large retailers have continued to sell their products online, this is not the case for small retailers who do not have a website. According to the Minister for the Economy, this will allow retailers to sell their items at the basic price to rebuild their cash flow before the start of the 2020 summer sales. This is especially true in the clothing sector, for example, where stocks are high and space must be made available for the next collections.
It remains to be seen whether customers, who now seem to have other priorities, will follow suit.
French disinterest in sales
Although shops seem to attract crowds during the sales, the French people's disinterest in this period is growing significantly over the years. The 2020 winter sales, although reduced to 4 weeks, were relatively disappointing for retailers, who recorded an average 4.9% drop in shop sales.
This lack of interest can be explained in particular by the fact that it is now possible to make good deals throughout the year, thanks to numerous promotional offers such as Black Friday or private sales. The French no longer wait for the winter or summer sales to spend.
In addition, mentalities and consumption habits are changing. Many people want to consume less, or rather consume better, and therefore prefer to buy second-hand items in second-hand shops or online, on sites such as eBay or Vinted. The rapid proliferation of second-hand clothing shops in major French cities is a perfect illustration of the popularity of this new, more responsible way of consuming.
In addition, sales are often disappointing for consumers who do not always find what they like among the items on sale.
Growth in online sales
One sector that is not weakening is online sales, even during the sales. For example, the 2019 winter sales "saw a 12% increase in purchase volume compared to the same period last year" (source: Webloyalty Panel). The current health crisis has reinforced this trend, as the only way to get certain items was to order online, as shops were closed.
Today, online purchases are made on computers, but also on mobile phones. This is known as m-commerce. In 2019, these sales represented 39% of the turnover of the sites in Fevad's iCM panel.
In order to be well prepared for the 2020 summer sales, it is therefore in the interest of brands to put in place strategies to boost their sales and attract a maximum number of customers. In order for your e-commerce to be ready on D-Day, here is what Feed Manager recommends in terms of best practices:
- Plan a landing page dedicated to sales.
- Check that the prices are correctly updated on your site, on your source feed and on your various acquisition levers so that they are up to date at 8am when the sales open.
- Make use of the commercial mechanisms specific to each lever to boost the click rate.
- Adapt your specific visuals to this period with the aim of having a coherent graphic charter for your different sales campaigns (display, search, etc.).
Optimise your ads based on users' searches to make them more relevant.