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.

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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.

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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.

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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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