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European e-tailers threatened by inventory surplus issues

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Published
Apr 7, 2020
Reading time
2 minutes
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As the Covid-19 emergency continues, half of Europe’s e-tailers have been hit, or expect to be hit by inventory surplus issues like those faced by brick-and-mortar retailers, according to a survey by Ecommerce Europe, the European e-commerce confederation. Fashion, luxury and cosmetics e-tailers appear to be especially affected by this phenomenon.


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The survey was carried out in the last few days by interviewing the e-commerce sector’s national representative bodies in 13 European countries. Only 21.43% of respondents said their members are not affected by excess inventory issues, while 35.71% said that e-tailers in their countries have already been hit.

In addition, 14.29% of respondents think that, if it isn’t already the case, the problem will be felt very soon. According to the rest of the panel, the impact is likely to be even worse, given that 28.57% of respondents think that the situation is not yet clear enough for them to offer an opinion.

“In the majority of countries, the sectors hit by these surpluses are fashion, cosmetics, luxury goods and travel-related products,” reported Ecommerce Europe unsurprisingly, indicating that there might be a risk for the food sector too: “more specifically, Italian e-commerce association Consorzio Netcomm said that a critical situation may arise for some seasonal agricultural products, whose harvest is taking place around now. Consorzio Netcomm said this is mostly caused by staff availability issues.”

The day before, e-tail sector analyst Contentsquare disclosed Europe-wide figures which explain the stock glut in fashion and luxury goods warehouses. In the week from March 23 to 29, website traffic in these two sectors dropped respectively by 4.3% and 33.1% below normal levels, while transactions fell respectively by 0.9% and 30.6%. These figures must be taken with a pinch of salt, depending on the various countries’ self-isolation measures. In France for example, fashion and luxury goods posted far worse figures in the second week of self-isolation by consumers.

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