Should we unblock the PELs to boost consumption?

Should French savings support business investment or stimulate consumption? For the furniture industry, the second option prevails. Their professional unions, which bring together furniture producers and distributors, are therefore asking the government for a partial release of the PEL (Housing Savings Plan) to boost their sales. They made it known on Thursday February 7th. Indeed, after three years of growth, 2018 ended for them with a decline of 2.7%, to 9.5 billion euros. “This is 250 million euros less than the previous year”, regrets Philippe Moreau, president of French Furniture. A shortfall attributed to the drop in new housing starts and the blockages organized by the yellow vests.

Partial release of the ELP demanded by furniture professionals

According to these organizations, this boost would be beneficial for the country. “This would create 5,000 jobs, while the French say they want to renovate or buy furniture as a priority but that they are slowed down for financial reasons, indicates Patrick Prigent, vice-president of the Fnaem. And then the State does not. does not need to pay the premium during a partial and temporary release of the PEL. ” This lever had already been used in the 1980s to stimulate… the purchase of kitchens. And professionals had demanded it again in 2015. “At the time, the total outstanding amount of the ELP reached 200 billion euros against 275 billion today, recalls Cathy Dufour, general delegate of French Furniture. 10% of households with a plan took 954 euros, the average amount of annual furniture expenditure, this would represent 1.4 billion euros for the sector. “

An air hole also in textiles not only because of the weather and yellow vests

It is not only the furniture that experienced an air gap in 2018. “I had made very optimistic forecasts in January last year, recognizes Pierre-François Le Louët, the president of the Federation of loan – to wear for women. Finally, we ended the year down 2%. ” The reason ? Unfavorable weather, with a very hot September in particular, and social unrest in winter. However, for Eric Mertz, the president of the National Clothing Federation, the spring of consumption broke at the beginning of the summer. “The increase in the CSG on retirees but also the long bridges of May have surely played a role. And, we may have forgotten, but the SNCF strike also weighed on.” Faced with the looming social catastrophe, his federation calls for the outright abolition of sales while more than one in two items is sold at bar prices throughout the year in women’s textiles. “Between private sales, Black Friday, and other commercial operations, the calendar has become frantic and deadly,” he said as the January sales are already shaping up to be very disappointing.

The drop in store visits is accelerating as the sale of promotional items

A question arises: has the yellow vests movement broken the mainspring of consumption or simply accentuated a structural transformation? For François Feijoo, president of Procos, which brings together specialist retailers, consumers no longer have the same priorities. The drop in store visits is accelerating. “They make trade-offs in terms of time spent and budget in favor of recreation, the restaurant, the equipment of the house.” It is true that kitchen designers are showing strong growth once again this year. However, at Gifam, the professional union of household appliance brands, 2018 was not sumptuous after two very dynamic years. Sales of large machines even posted a slight decline of 0.9%, while small machines grew modestly by 0.5%. “This stability is already an excellent performance”, underlines Brigitte Petit, the new president of Gifam. As in textiles or furniture, the boss of Beko France also underlines the relatively low level of average prices in France, undoubtedly linked to the weight of mass distribution. And therefore the difficult valuation of innovation.

New uses appear linked to a desire to preserve the environment

Consumer goods are also facing changes in use by consumers. These are new practices such as repairing household appliances, customizing furniture or buying second-hand clothes. From 2020, a repairability index will be displayed on each electronic product and household appliance. At the same time, sites for buying and reselling second-hand items are developing at full speed. Recently, Leboncoin bought out videdressing. “Clothing is a very dynamic segment,” explains Antoine Jouteau, CEO of the peer-to-peer sales site which offers 5 million textile and shoe ads. It already weighs around 1 billion euros. ” More generally, a CSA survey, published on February 5 by Fevad, indicates that 37% of French people want to reduce their consumption to limit their impact on the environment. More than a third of consumers! It’s no longer a weak signal, it’s a tornado.