Key Figures from the Fashion sector in 2020

Hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, the fashion market is experiencing a sharp decline in sales in France and internationally in 2020.

However, fashion remains the number one market on the Internet in terms of the number of buyers. In 2020, according to Fevad (Federation of e-commerce and distance selling), 51% of products and services purchased on the web are part of the clothing sector.

The share of e-commerce in the overall fashion trade represents 14.7% for a total turnover of 4 billion euros; a statistic that keeps increasing.

To learn more about the developments in the sector, and the growing importance of the web for its players, here are some key figures for the fashion market in 2020.


State of the art of the fashion market in France and abroad

Until the health crisis of 2020, the fashion and clothing industry was doing well. Thus, according to the predictions of Kantar, a consulting firm specializing in market research, the global market should register an annual growth of 3.9% until 2025.

This was without counting on COVID-19 which has led to a drastic drop in sales of fashion items, all product categories combined.

In France, the positive projections therefore had to be revised downwards:

  • the IFM (Institut Français de la Mode) is now counting on a decline in turnover estimated at between -17% and -25% over the year 2020, depending on the speed of the recovery in consumption.


Still according to the IFM, in general, the share devoted to clothing has fallen in the overall budget of the French since the 1960s. The first impacted by this purchasing behavior are physical stores :

  • In the first half of 2019, the stores were already experiencing a decrease in their turnover of 2.6% compared to the previous year; while online sales were up 4.2%.
  • During the crisis, physical sales suffered even more, registering a drop of 18.7%, against 6% for online sales.


Fashion in 2020 during containment



According to Fashion Network, Fevad announces that “fashion, which has long been one of the most ordered products on the Internet, is one of the sectors whose sales have suffered the most from the Covid crisis”.

Indeed, the figures speak volumes. In March 2020, e-commerce sales in the fashion sector declined significantly. We note that activity fell by 30% in the first week of containment and does not recover until mid-April. A statistic which suggests that fashion is not seen by the French as an essential purchase in times of crisis.


Panorama of the fashion market on the web

Despite the impact of the crisis on the state of the market, the fashion industry still seems to have a bright future ahead of it, especially on the web. Proof of this is with these few figures announced by Kantar Worldpanel on behalf of Fevad:

  • 40% of French people ordered a fashion item on the Internet during the first three months of 2019;
  • each customer spent an average of 150 euros;
  • total spending on the web for the fashion sector reached three billion euros in 6 months;
  • with an order count of around 70 million.


The fashion actors on the internet in 2020

Le journal du net looks back on a study by the Xerfi group, on the fashion market in France, which dissociates the different types of online sales in France:

  • click and mortar;
  • veadists;
  • pure player.

Click and mortar has the most weight in fashion e-commerce. Who are they ? These are the companies that combine in-store distribution and Internet sales. According to Xerfi and the IFM, in 2016 they accounted for just over 38% of online sales.

However, their turnover achieved through this rarely exceeds 10% of their annual total. For example, in sports fashion, Decathlon only achieves 4% of its turnover on the Internet in 2017 and Intersport forecasts only 5% in 2020.

Véadistes come just behind with a 35.9% share in the online fashion market. These are the brands that, in the past, only sold remotely through catalogs. Overall, they had to fight against competition from pure players and are struggling to do well. Les 3 Suisses recorded an 87% drop in turnover between 2004 and 2016. La Redoute, for on the other hand, has largely recovered thanks to its acquisition by Galeries Lafayette in 2018.

However, pure players come last in the ranking. Companies that work exclusively on the web only hold 26% of the market share.

Ranking leaders remain difficult to establish, as few companies disclose their strategy and results. The newspaper of the net proposes to give a trend based on their audiences. Here are the top 3 e-merchants :

  • Amazon, with more than 100,000 visitors to France per month;
  • Cdiscount;
  • and eBay with between 30,000 and 100,000 visitors.

Regarding specialized sites:

  • the company Veepee (formerly Private Sale) leads by far with almost 30 million visits per month;
  • it is followed by Showroomprivé with around 14 million;
  • then, La Redoute with 12.5 million;
  • Decathlon;
  • and Zalando.



Statista, using figures from its eCommerceDB platform, has determined a top 5 fashion e-commerce sites that have achieved the highest turnover in France in recent years. It confirms the trends cited above:

  • is well in the lead with more than one billion euros in turnover ;
  • Showroomprivé ;
  • Zalando ;
  • Asos ;
  • La Redoute is indeed present in 5th position.

Why is Veepee well ahead of the others?

Clothing sales remain subject to the household budget, as this category of expenditure would not be seen as a priority; a trend confirmed by the decline in purchases of fashion items throughout the crisis period in 2020. Sales and promotions on the web play an essential role in e-commerce sales. Indeed, according to the IFM, 58% of total sales are made on products at crossed out prices.


Young people, the first consumers of fashion items



Millennials, otherwise known as Generation Y, are the young people born between 1984 and 1996. They are a significant segment of the clothing industry’s customers on the Internet.

According to Kantar’s study, they spend 19.5% of their total budget on this expense item. In comparison, seniors spend only 10%.

Web-based fashion transactions for young people continue to increase, with an increase of 17% in the first three months of 2019.

The top 5 fashion e-commerce sites for people under 35 are:

  • Zalando ;
  • Veepee ;
  • Amazon ;
  • H&M ;
  • Showroomprivé.

The other concrete characteristic of this clientele is their more volatile behavior compared to older people:

  • they frequent about 7 different brands;
  • they use loyalty cards less;
  • they buy a lot of sale items;
  • they love second-hand clothes, 47% of Vinted’s purchases are made by millennials.

The fashion market seems to have a bright future on the Internet. Brands are more and more aware that their presence on the web is essential. On the other hand, customers, mostly young, show that this new way of consuming is already well established.


If you want to know more about the strategies to adopt to anchor your brand of ready-to-wear, shoes, bags or accessories, our Alioze agency specializes in fashion communication.



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