PARIS — Most e-commerce sites have seen a decline in sales since March 15, with steep drops for fashion and home decoration, according to French association Fevad.

Seventy-six percent of the 136 web sites in France polled by Fevad are experiencing a drop in business — and half of these noted sales dropping by more than 50 percent since mid-March. Fashion and home decoration are among activities the hardest hit. Activities rising include food, technology and educational items.

A third of web sites have reduced their activity while 40 percent of them are already experiencing difficulties filling stocks, according to the study.

Adapting to the lockdown rules in France, 82 percent of the companies polled said employees are working remotely, 66 percent are drawing on temporary unemployment and 22 percent have closed some sites. 

As for the French government’s response to the crisis, the majority of e-commerce operators polled judged it satisfactory overall but are worried about the future. Asked how long their companies could survive in a lockdown situation, 40 percent said they didn’t think they could last if it continues for more than three months. 

The French government has unlocked 45 billion euros in emergency aid to help companies weather the crisis, allocating 8.5 billion euros over two months for workers facing partial unemployment as well as 32 billion euros for deferring taxes and social charges.

Fevad, which is an association of 600 companies and more than 800 web sites that operate Internet sites or catalogue sales, conducted the study on March 23 to 25.

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