E-commerce as the future of global economic markets

Service Business

The modern market has long placed numerous demands on companies. It is influenced by increasing competition, technological development and new trends in trade. Comparing this branch of our economy in recent years, one can definitely notice the transfer of part of the business to the canvas of the ubiquitous Internet. New directions of development also involve the functioning of hitherto unknown concepts, the meaning of which is often difficult to understand. One of the most important is "e-commerce" and relating it to the sales market.

Thanks to many years of experience, CzechLogistic has collected a lot of hard statistical data on Polish online stores sending their goods to the countries listed below. These data allow us to draw very reliable conclusions and we will present them in the article below.

E-commerce concept

The semantics of this concept directly points to its origin. It comes from the English language and combines two concepts: "commerce" - denoting "commerce" and the prefix "e" denoting a reference to virtual reality, which is the Internet. So, in simple terms, it is trading via the Internet.

It must be stated that both the virtual sales market described and the related amenities would not be possible without the cooperation of many factors. Anyone who has ordered goods online at least once appreciates “door-to-door” delivery, easy payment methods or even the speed of service delivery. However, it would not be possible without the participation and good organization of the courier and logistics companies industry.

There are many entities of this type on the market that compete with each other not only in terms of the variety of services, but - above all - in terms of customer opinions. When looking for the best solution for your company, it is worth paying attention to entities that also support local markets.

As mentioned, the e-commerce market is now an important element of the economy of most countries. In order for it to function properly, appropriate interaction with other entities is also necessary. The development of this market branch and its current state largely depend on the economic model that a given country adopts.

It is worth analyzing them and this is what we will do using the examples of countries closest to Poland, such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria. It is worth emphasizing here that this article is largely based on data from internal statistics of the CzechLogistic company, which serves Polish, medium and large companies, supporting their expansion into foreign markets.

Czech Republic - Česko

According to the World Bank, the Czech Republic is among the 31 richest countries in terms of per capita income. Considering the number of citizens living in the Czech Republic (about 10 million - data for 2019), it should be considered that virtually every one of them has access to the Internet and a device that can be used. If you take into account the number of online stores offering the sale of products, it turns out that one of them has about 246 inhabitants of this country. These numbers indicate that everyone can freely navigate through the virtual reality of shopping.

According to many opinion-forming companies, most of them agree that at the end of 2022, around 60% of Czechs will regularly use e-commerce, almost completely abandoning purchases in brick-and-mortar networks. Visits in them will be limited only to the assortment that they will want to see live or try on.

As the research shows, there are also specific information that the inhabitants of this country value most in the online store. Paradoxically, it is not a photo of the purchased goods, but its dimensions, description and price, as well as the variety of delivery options.

It is also important for them to do shopping in their mother tongue. Despite the prevalence of the English language, they definitely choose Czech as their guiding language.

Over time, trends in the selection of the most frequently purchased products also change. In 2017, perfumes, electronics and food products were in the lead. In 2018, however, with a 12% increase, clothing and accessories took the lead. Electronics and broadly understood media (computers, TV sets) also recorded an increase of 5.2%. The third place (also an increase by 5.2%) was taken by the food industry. In turn, the market of furniture and interior design products recorded an increase of approximately 12%, while toys and accessories increased by 8.9%. This data shows not only which industries are developing in a more dynamic way or how Czech shopping habits are changing, but also how the e-commerce market is evolving.

The age of the users also speaks for its dynamic development. Online shopping is mainly used by people aged 18-34 (about 80%). About 20% are people aged 34+, of which the least interest is recorded over the age of 65.

Until recently, one of the most popular shopping portals was "Aukro.cz", owned and equivalent to "Allegro.pl". The group was keen on international development, which implied investing capital in neighboring countries. Currently, however, the ownership structure has changed and the portal's share in the local market has significantly decreased (currently it is only 1% of the Czech e-commerce market). Czechs prefer shopping directly in online stores.

However, according to the observed trends and tendencies, the e-commerce market occupies an important position in this country. Citing economic data, it may even be around 7% of the total economy, which results in the existence of over 40,000 electronic sales platforms. Among the trends that can be observed, attention should be paid first of all to the attachment of the local population to the local market. Therefore, they focus mainly on regional products, and consequently on local online stores.

According to research carried out by one of the leading trade newspapers, it turns out that Czechs are very loyal in their purchases, which means that they willingly return to stores and products that have once won their trust.

What's more, the local market is constantly developing, making the society richer. Due to this, it is estimated that by 2022 the average family will spend around $ 600 a year on broadly understood online shopping, and this is a great forecast for companies that are interested in expanding into that market.

What about delivery?

Pickup points in the Czech Republic known as "Balik na Postu", or "Parcel at the Post Office", are very popular - buyers have around 3,800 different pickup locations at their disposal. As many as 40% of buyers decide to pick up their parcel in this way (having the option of a courier to the address). Additionally, it is possible to use the service called "Balikovna", which allows you to collect your shipment without queuing (there are about 400 such points). The lower price may determine the choice of personal collection of your parcel.

When deciding to expand to this country, it is worth paying attention to the delivery time, which can be up to 24 hours!

At this point, the payment preferences of the inhabitants of the Czech Republic should also be emphasized. They definitely prefer the "cash on delivery" form, which accounts for as much as 61% of all payments. These are data derived from internal statistics of a courier and logistics company and may differ slightly from those generally available, but it is a guarantee that they will translate into the operation of Polish online stores, the owners of which will decide to expand their operations to the Czech market. Which is also related to the fact that they prefer cash payment rather than card payment.

You can expect further development of the e-commerce market in the Czech Republic and probably the emergence of new trends in this area.

Slovakia - Slovensko

Economically, it can be considered that the country definitely focuses on the domestic economy, but they are open to other possibilities. According to data for 2019, approximately 85% of Slovak citizens have access to the Internet. This number shows that this is a country where the e-commerce market is also developing very dynamically. In 2018, there were about 8,500 online stores, and now the number is close to 10,000.

In terms of courier services, the sizes of services are proportional to the demand. Of course, there are international companies operating on this market, but their activities are sometimes very limited in terms of objects and territories. The Slovaks place their trust in the local post office, the services of which should be considered as provided at a very high level.

About 94% of people under 25 use online shopping. Other age groups also do them, but to a much lesser extent. It is estimated that there are approximately 3.3 million registered customers of digital stores, and by 2023 this number is expected to increase by 100,000. Nearly 94% of Slovaks make regular purchases there. The development of this market is best demonstrated by the scale of income it brings each year. Before 2018, this growth was not very dynamic, but after 2018, a definitely growing trend can be observed (2018 - USD 853 million, 2019 - USD 930 million, estimated in 2023 - USD 1261 million).

90% of Slovaks choose online shopping because they are committed to better quality goods, and 80% because it is easy to do so. Purchases of electronics and media are the most popular, followed by furniture and home accessories, and only third with clothing.

90% of them use computers, and only 4% and 3% of them use phones and tablets. In terms of the method of payment, 69% choose cash on delivery and 36% bank transfers. Others mainly prefer to pay by card or telephone.

If we talk about shopping patriotism, we should mention the Slovaks. Only 26% of purchased goods come from abroad. Thus, they definitely (around 74%) choose to support their home business. The solution may be to set up an online store on a local domain and translate all content by a native speaker. The entire project should take into account the delivery from Poland to Slovakia, which is 24 hours.

The economy there is constantly developing. It is true that it is not depicted by such a dynamic curve as in the case of other countries, but systematicity is definitely the dominant feature. This, in turn, creates opportunities for expansion and development of new companies. Especially that their prices in many industries are noticeably higher than those in Poland.

Romania - România

The main export goods are products related to the most developed branches of the local economy: metallurgy, mining and the machine industry. Imported products are: textiles, means of transport and mechanical devices.

Romania is one of the most dynamically developing EU countries in terms of e-commerce. Also, all forecasts indicate that this trend will continue to grow.

The most frequently purchased commodity is consumer electronics, with mobile phones and smartphones leading the way, generating around 80% of orders for products. Romanian citizens are also eager to purchase numerous mobile services for the indicated devices, which leads to the conclusion that they do not use the e-commerce market only at home, but above all value remote access to sales platforms virtually anywhere. Statistics speak for it: 66% of clothing and 63% of cosmetics are purchased this way.

A real treat for buyers is "Black Friday", and the leader in online sales - portal "eMAG.ro". Its position is constantly strengthening, as evidenced by the number of users (2016 - 2 million people, 2017 - 2.3 million users). Other portals of this type include "Alibaba Group", which arouses interest among about 25% of Internet users, and "Altex.ro" - 12%.

Many of the purchased products are sought not strictly in shops, but by search engines, and the most popular is the local "Google". Therefore, the appropriate positioning of products plays an important role.

Despite such a wide virtual sales market, not all Romanians decide to use this way of purchasing goods. Why? 65% of inactive Internet users indicate the fear that the product will not be consistent with reality, 58% believe that they prefer to feel that the goods they see on the shelf have been checked before buying. About 43% fear that additional costs will ultimately be added to the price of the item. It should be assumed that this fear also determines the choice of the payment method for purchases, because as many as 90% of buyers decide to pay "on delivery".

Such a functioning market and its constant development necessitate the adaptation of courier services to the expectations of consumers. They trust the most local couriers by far and their costs are not high. When setting up an online store, it is worth considering using the services of a company that offers preferential rates and delivery at an affordable time. If we collect the package from you on Monday by 6 p.m., it will be at your client's on Wednesday!

Therefore, when analyzing the e-commerce market in Romania, it should be recognized that in order to meet the expectations related to the sale of its goods in Romania, the company must have a well-organized online store with a properly performed translation, as well as support in the form of a company that will organize all logistics facilities. projects, including software needed for e.g. printing labels. Competitive shipping rates and a fast return procedure seem to be an indispensable element.

Hungary - Magyarország

The breakthrough year in the e-commerce industry was undoubtedly 2015, when the highest increase in income was recorded (for comparison, in 2014 its value was PLN 3.6 million and in 2018 about PLN 9 million, which indicates a 150% increase over 4 years). Also, they are currently growing steadily - for the first quarter of 2019, industry revenues were 16% higher than in the same period a year earlier.

The market is relatively "heavy" in terms of expansion. Little interest on the part of large corporations, weakness to the local economy, as well as a relatively difficult language make it a chance for small and medium-sized companies.

The average value of the Hungarian basket is around PLN 205, which, when compared to the fact that over 90% of adults use online sales services, proves significant profitability.

The most frequently purchased online goods are consumer electronics, such as tablets or mobile phones, clothing and toys, so the economy is comprehensive.

The only branch that is less developed in this respect is FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods). The dominant entities and the only ones on the Hungarian market in this industry are: Tesco Online and Auchan Online. However, these companies also do not record very high earnings in the field of fast-moving products (in 2018 only 22% of Internet users bought at least one such product).

In the case of payment methods, Hungarians mainly choose non-cash payment methods (approximately 51%), cash on delivery (78%) or card (40%). The preferred form of delivery is shipment delivered by courier (78%). PickPackPont collection points belonging to the courier company Sprinter, of which there are over 800 throughout the country, are also very popular. Pickup at the post office or at a courier point is about 22%. As in Romania, the "eMAG" website is in the lead.

Undoubtedly, the years of nurturing the local market and little external interference by states allow the Hungarian economy to be considered mature. However, this does not mean being closed to innovation and further development. It is a country worth considering, the more so that the time of shipping goods from Poland to Hungary is only 24 hours.

Bulgaria - България

The e-commerce market is not well developed here, but it is a country with a very large digital potential, which allows forecasting the rapid development of this branch of trade.

As statistics show, the largest number of people using the Internet are citizens aged 16 to 24 (90.3%), and with age, this tendency decreases (from 25 to 34 years old - 88%, from 35 to 44 years old). 83%, and citizens between 55 and 64 are only 50%).

It is possible that this is where the low popularity of e-commerce should be seen, despite the fact that the income from this business is constantly growing (2018 - $ 552 million, 2019 - $ 664 million, and it is estimated to reach about $ 856 million in 2023).

The percentage distribution of items purchased via the Internet is as follows: over 2018 and 2019, the following industries showed an increase: clothing and footwear (by 5.7%), electronics and media (by 6.4%), furniture and accessories (by 9 %). The smallest increase is in the food industry - around 5.8%.

However, as statistics show, each year Bulgarians spend more and more on online shopping. They most willingly establish contacts with Germans, Italians, French and Greeks, and due to the advanced business culture, these relations are very durable. Almost 60% of online purchases come from the international market, and about 40% from the European Union.

The most popular sales portals include "OLX" and "eMAG".

In addition to Romanians, Bulgarians are also leaders in the field of cash on delivery, which accounts for as much as 90% of all transactions in the online store.

At this point, it is necessary to emphasize the wide possibilities that a Bulgarian customer has when collecting his parcel, because the Open and Open & Test services are very popular. Regardless of whether the customer picks up the parcel at home or at the pickup point, he can open his package, and in the case of the second option, he has the option to test the received item for 10 minutes, and all this before the payment.

As if that were not enough, collection points are very popular in Bulgaria, which in Bulgaria are offices with fitting rooms, where the customer can try on previously ordered clothes and then decide on its collection. This possibility is provided by the local courier company - Econt, which has almost 600 collection points throughout the country. It is also a kind of flagship of Bulgaria due to the high quality of the services offered.

The CzechLogistic company has a habit of supporting local courier companies, so when you decide to expand specifically the Bulgarian market, you can count on your product to be delivered to the end customer within 48 hours.

Customized courier services

When analyzing the market of each of the countries described, it should be undoubtedly recognized that each of them has its own specificity. They also share common features, such as:

  • constantly developing e-commerce market,
  • attachment to the local market,
  • high requirements for service providers.

These are only the most important of these requirements that should be taken into account. It leaves no doubt that the perfect adjustment of services to any economy is a futile effort. However, when setting up your own online store with the intention of expansion to any of the above markets, you certainly should:

  1. Buy a local domain - it is important due to the habits of the inhabitants of these countries and their purchasing habits. In addition, such a page is easier to position on the web, which is important from the marketing point of view.
  2. Invest in high-quality translation of your website content - for this purpose, it's best to work with a native speaker to make sure that the translation is accurate.
  3. Consider returning goods - returns are unavoidable. The customer must feel that he can return the goods that do not meet his expectations. This procedure shouldn't be too complicated. Therefore, it is worth placing the address of the local warehouse in the footer of your online store, where the customer can easily return the purchased goods without having to send it back to Poland.
  4. Consider the issue of payment - it is worth having a local bank account, unfortunately it creates many difficulties. A good solution is to use quick payments and enable the option of paying for the goods on delivery (cash on delivery). The money can be refunded even to a Polish account in PLN.
  5. Consider the forms of contact with the customer - despite the commonly used English language, it is worth considering establishing cooperation with a company that provides support for your online store in the native language of your group of potential customers that you want to acquire. Not only will you gain more trust, but you will show great professionalism and increase your chances that the customer served in this way will come back to you.

These and many other services are offered by our company to meet the constantly growing needs of our customers. It is not an art to enter the developed market and flow with the flow, becoming one of many companies. A success is expansion into emerging and developing markets and thanks to professionalism and commitment, taking an active part in this process together with them. This is the idea behind CzechLogistic, and our customers are its indispensable element.

Discover our offer for courier services to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria at CzechLogistic.pl.

External text, partner's article