Even as online Personal Care sales in France grew by 80% in the first quarter of 2014, the average basket size has fallen steadily over the past two years. The average e-commerce personal care order was €87.5 in 2012 and shrunk to €81.5 in 2014. That shows promise and opportunity for small and frequent digital personal care purchases, and perhaps smaller players.
Much of the fast growth in online sales comes from expansion of online pickup points at supermarkets (from 1,000 in 2012 to 3,000 in 2013). Click-and-collect expansion among existing brick-and-mortar players might be the path for digital growth in the personal care category in France, as the country passed a regulation in 2013 protecting brick-and-mortar pharmacies by prohibiting the entry of online-only players.
Supermarkets have been working to challenge Amazon’s dominance as the largest personal care e-tailer with a 9% market share, but they have a long way to go. Amazon leads in online reviews (18 per product compared to almost none across other retailers), free shipping, custom product descriptions and videos.
Furthermore, French personal care brand sites create an anemic experience compared to other categories. Only 31% of brand sites offer coupons, and just 40% of brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Personal Care France have mobile or responsive sites.
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