Review of the 2020 summer sales

18 August 2020

Initially scheduled to run from Wednesday 24 June to Tuesday 21 July 2020, the sales were postponed from 15 July to 11 August and shortened to four weeks instead of the usual six. The aim was to allow retailers to sell off stocks accumulated during the lockdown, without sacrificing their margins.

The current context, which has obliged retailers to implement sanitary measures, and staggered dates in the middle of the summer holiday period have made these sales exceptional. What can we say about the 2020 summer sales?

An encouraging start

For various e-commerce players, the launch of the 2020 summer sales augured well. Indeed, on the first day of the sales, Webloyalty Panel, composed of 37 e-commerce sites, recorded a 22% increase in the overall volume of online transactions compared to the day before (Tuesday 14 July). According to Jerome Keloghlanian (founder of Ikom), their customer panel saw its turnover excluding groceries increase by 24.6% over the first three days compared to the first three days of the 2019 sales. Finally, the number of connections among ReachFive's e-commerce clients was multiplied by 2 on the first day of the sales.

A disappointing for many

Unfortunately, the sales quickly ran out of steam and the balance sheet compared to 2019 is not positive. For this first day of the 2020 summer sales, Webloyalty Panel recorded a 29% drop in overall order volume compared to last year and this decrease went up to 50% in the fashion sector and 18% in the home sector. In addition, the number of connections and sales dropped only a few days after the start of the sales.

This lack of general interest can perhaps be explained by the private sales and pre-sales offered by many retailers as soon as the season begins. But let's not forget that, globally, consumers can now buy items on promotion all year round.

On Google Trends, the trend shows a slight decrease on the queries concerning the sales (summer sales, summer sales, summer sales...) compared to last year, but nothing significant.

Our customer panel allows us to observe the 2020 summer sales (from 15/07/20 to 11/08/20) and to compare them to the 2019 summer sales period from 26/06/19 to 23/07/19. Here are the conclusions we can draw:

  • 16.5% increase in the number of clicks
  • 15% increase in the number of conversions
  • 25% decrease in turnover
  • ROAS decreased by 20.5%.
  • Decrease in average CPC of €0.05 (€0.25 last year vs €0.20 this year)


Changes in consumption patterns

The containment and health context has encouraged many French people who were not used to shopping online to try this ever-growing consumption mode. In the future, the quality of the customer experience will be a key factor in attracting users. Simple and secure authentication will be essential as "95% of French consumers require a secure environment to share their personal data. Rather than using an email address and password to log in to their various customer accounts, 90% of them would prefer to opt for new, more secure solutions, such as two-factor authentication or biometric identification."

Users are also increasingly finalising their purchases on their mobile: for the first day of the sales, 54% of online orders were placed on mobile, compared to 38% last year.

Brands have adapted the services available in-store to the current context. For example, shops that do not offer in-store fitting offer alternative solutions. For example, Etam offers to try on its products at home and only charges the customer's card if they are suitable. Products that do not interest the customer must be taken back to the shop. These changes in purchasing methods directly benefit e-commerce sites, which are therefore on an equal footing, and even allow customers to avoid travelling with free returns, which are becoming increasingly widespread.


Despite a decrease in interest in sales, this period nevertheless generates more turnover than in normal times and enables surplus stocks to be emptied. In addition, as in recent months, e-commerce sites have been able to take advantage of the health context which has encouraged more online shopping rather than in-store shopping. At Feed Manager, we have noticed that some sectors are more popular at this time of year, such as DIY/garden, interior/exterior decoration, children's clothing and wellness/health for example.

E-tailers must now try to retain these new customers by creating, for example, a dedicated audience in order to build their loyalty over the longer term. They can also make the online experience as close as possible to an in-store fitting: the possibility of using virtual fitting applications (clothes, make-up or furniture); personalised advice by chat or telephone; exact measurements.

Other Articles

How to sell on marketplaces: key points to get started

How to sell on marketplaces: key points to get started

Google launches vehicle ads, a format already available in the US and Canada

Google launches vehicle ads, a format already available in the US and Canada

Video shopping or how to get closer to an in-store experience

Video shopping or how to get closer to an in-store experience

Requesting expert advice

A free audit of your campaigns or a question about web marketing levers,
our experts will answer you.