China. “Big retailers will come out of this crisis in a better position”
Based in Shanghai, Victoria Glanz is Senior Partner at Full Jet, an agency that supports retailers on the Alibaba’s platforms Taobao and Tmall (824 million monthly active users in total in 2019). According to her, the crisis has reinforced the online dynamic in China.
Sophie Baqué: Ikea and Arket (H&M) have just announced their arrival on Tmall. Will the crisis favour Western retailers?
Victoria Glanz: Big retailers should come out of this crisis in a better position than the small ones. On Tmall website, the gross value of Adidas merchandise sold jumped by 135% in the 3 months to the end of April 2020, and by 52% for Nike. On the other hand, it fell by 4% for the Chinese retailers LiNing and Anta.
Is Chinese e-commerce strengthening?
Overall, online retail has fared much better than offline in Q1 2020. Total retail sales of consumer goods dropped by 19% year-on-year, while online retail only decreased by 0.8% (National Bureau of Satistics). E-commerce accounted for 24% of the total retail sales of consumer goods. The most dynamics categories online were food (+33%) and living commodities (+10%). Fashion dropped by 15%.
You are French. How do you consider European retail?
China’s e-commerce was almost completely unaffected by the Covid-19 crisis. The European experience is very different. Where online sales helped absorb the financial loss of offline retail for grocery, in other categories, it was not enough, due to logistics. Most fashion and cosmetics retailers were not able to continue offering online services (sales and delivery) to balance against the loss of business from offline retail. Pure players like Amazon and Veepee have pulled out of the game. I think Europe cannot be considered a mature e-commerce market, even though we see more and more active initiatives to push online and balance the split between online and offline retail. These include ‘click and collect’, deliveries and order preparation directly from shops.