COVID leads to online shopping boom in French-speaking Switzerland
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COVID leads to online shopping boom in French-speaking Switzerland

Stephan Kurmann
Zurich, on 04.03.2021
Pictures: Thomas Kunz
Translation: Veronica Bielawski
Many French-speaking Swiss seem to have discovered online shopping: Digitec Galaxus sales in French-speaking Switzerland grew by 85% last year. Printer ink, diapers and video cables were particularly high in demand.

Digitec Galaxus achieved record growth last year. The online retailer increased its sales by 59% to CHF 1.82 billion across Switzerland. In addition to Ticino, French-speaking Switzerland showed massive growth. The French-speaking Swiss spent 85% more at digitec and Galaxus last year compared to 2019. «Our success in French-speaking Switzerland frankly blew my mind,» says Florian Teuteberg, CEO of Digitec Galaxus.

In recent years, Digitec Galaxus employees have put hard work and dedication into developing the business just west of the Röstigraben, the boundary between German-speaking and French-speaking Switzerland. As of today, all product information is available in French, and a large part of the editorial content is continuously being translated. The Lausanne call centre has a team of employees that are happy to help with any questions or problems, and there are two shops – one in Geneva and one in Lausanne – for collections and returns. «I’m very pleased to see our brand and our services be so well received in French-speaking Switzerland,» says Teuteberg. «As a Zurich-based company, we especially have to prove ourselves in the Romandy.»

To mark the occasion, we’re taking you on a journey through our data pool.

In 2020..., diapers and cables were the bestsellers in the Romandy

COVID had quite a firm grip on the Romands’ shopping carts – home office equipment experienced a boost in popularity. Printer ink was the best-selling product of the year on either side of the Röstigraben. While not exactly spectacular, it makes sense. After all, printing in 2020 shifted from the office to the home. In addition, people in French-speaking Switzerland are very well-connected. Whether for the purpose of working from home or entertainment, three types of cables made it into the list of the top 10 best-selling products. And, even in the crazy year 2020, there's something that remained all too familiar for mums and dads: changing diapers. Second place goes to the mobile toilet.

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...the Romands were lovers of bikes, Lego and cats

The three best-sellers per product category reveal what was particularly popular in the Romandy in 2020. In a nutshell, 2020 was a year spent diapering, disinfecting, printing, plugging, loving, cleaning, wiring, gifting, playing, biking, feeding (more cats than dogs, by the way), checking the time and turning on the lights.

... women in the Romandy won at mobile shopping

More and more online shoppers are placing their orders for socks, cables and yoga mats on their smartphones. Digitec Galaxus customers in French-speaking Switzerland were particularly busy on their phones last year. In fact, they’ve been the trendsetters in mobile shopping since 2017. Customers in French-speaking Switzerland now use their mobiles for almost every other purchase. And women shop on their phones more often than men.

But a comparison of shopping behaviour across all devices (smartphone, tablet, laptop, PC) reveals that men of all ages placed more orders on digitec and Galaxus more frequently than women. The shopaholic par excellence is actually male, between 25 and 34 years of age and lives in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.

...4 p.m. on Mondays was the most popular shopping time among Romands

Both the French and the German-speaking Swiss prefer to do their online shopping on Mondays. With the first work day of the week behind you, of course you deserve a little reward – click. After Monday’s high, the buying mood bottoms out on Saturday, and then rises again on Sunday. This behaviour is the same on both sides of the Röstigraben.

Yet, there are regional differences when it comes to the preferred time for shopping. German-speaking Swiss are more active in the morning and at noon, while those living in the French-speaking parts are more inclined to shop in the afternoon. From 9 p.m. onwards, orders on both sides of the Röstigraben noticeably decrease.

Have you noticed a change in your own shopping behaviour? Do you prefer online or in-store shopping? Are there any other peculiarities you’ve noticed when it comes to shopping in the Romandy? We’re all ears!

Graphics: made with Flourish.

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Stephan Kurmann
Stephan Kurmann
Communications Manager, Zurich
Studies claim that we have a shorter attention span than goldfish. Ouch! My job is to get your attention as often and for as long as possible. How? With content you enjoy. Outside of the office, you’ll find me on the tennis court, curled up with a book, Netflixing or travelling.

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