The impact of containment on trade

At first glance, the equation seems simple, with physical shops closed, consumers go online to shop. But observations of shopping behaviour from the confines are actually more complex and some trends have impacted on e-commerce over the long term.

Internet users were initially looking for new product categories. To limit their outings, they preferred to order online products that they were used to finding in stores, such as groceries, baby products and children's games.

Other categories have also seen significant growth as consumers have had to find ways to keep themselves busy at home. This new trend has therefore increased the appeal of board games, video games, books and also sports equipment.

The normalisation of teleworking has increased sales of computer and office equipment.

The aftermath of containment for French retailers


Some of these trends continue after release from confinement as new habits Some of these trends continue after the confinement because new habits have taken hold: sporting goods are still quite large. Consumers are reluctant to return to the gym and prefer to equip themselves at home. In addition, some gyms are closed again. They continue to equip themselves for telework They continue to equip themselves for teleworking because the return to the office is still partial and a new way of working is being adopted.


These new consumer trends also create new challenges for the companies that market these products.

First of all, there is a challenge for brands that sell their products both in physical shops and on an online shop: converting "physical" customers into online customers.

What difficulties have e-tailers faced?

  • Slowing down of the logistics for some facilities due to staff shortages or sanitary measures difficult to comply with in warehouses.
  • Overloading of transporters and therefore delays in deliveries deliverieswhich can causecustomer dissatisfaction.
  • Stock-outs and restocking difficulties for goods imported from abroad.

What happened to Cdiscount?


On the site of Cdiscountthese trends were reflected and new categories were sought out and purchased by customers. New Internet users discovered and bought on Cdiscount to compensate for the unavailability of physical shops.

Cdiscount also supported VSEs and SMEs in difficulty during this period. A simplified procedure for registering and opening a shop on the Marketplace has been put in place.

60 million masks were delivered by Cdiscount to French French companies.

Sanitary measures were introduced in the warehouses and the logistics department managed to maintain an optimal delivery time with the possibility of next-day delivery of a large proportion of the products.

During the lockdown,Cdiscount. com became a real alternative to the physical supermarket for certain primary and secondary goods. Consumers who were delivered quickly and were satisfied with their experience thus maintained certain consumption habits, even after the physical shops reopened.

Re-confinement and shopping season

Everything we experienced in the first phase has made us better prepared to face this second phase of containment. We know what consumers might need and we know how to optimise our response to demand.

However, this time there is an additional parameter, as we are entering the most intense period of the year for e-commerce with, in particular, the end-of-year commercial operations. Cdiscount has therefore put in place a system to help French small and medium-sized businesses that wish to join the marketplace, including the reimbursement of commission fees for orders collected in store* (click and collect). This scheme is also valid for sellers who already have a shop on Cdiscount and who activate click and collect.

See the conditions of the scheme here.