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CEE drives European growth in e-retail - Icecat

Five countries in the CEE region - namely Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, and Slovenia - are driving European growth in e-retail sales, with Hungarian online customers alone spending EUR 3.2 billion in 2018, according to research by global e-commerce product content and statistics syndicator Icecat.

In four of the aforementioned countries - Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Slovenia - the most popular product category is consumer electronics and media.

In Hungary, most of the countryʼs web shops use some kind of marketing tool, but only half of these shops attempt to popularize themselves via offline solutions, Icecatʼs report says. Additionally, some 80% of web shops are present on Facebook.

Facebook stands tall above other social media platforms in the CEE region, with usage among firms in other CEE countries reaching 70%. Even so, Instagram is also starting to get more popular, and while most online stores also choose Youtube and Google+, a mere 10% are fully satisfied with these two platforms.

A significant portion of the EUR 3.2 bln spending by Hungarian customers in 2018 was in stores abroad, with 72% of Hungarians preferring to order abroad as they consider it cheaper, the report says, citing numbers from enet.hu. Among those who ordered from foreign e-retail shops, about 79% were students, it adds.

In neighboring Slovakia, around 2.3 million Slovaks used various platforms for online shopping, with the number expected to rise to 3.6 million by 2022. The size of their expenditure is expected to grow by 25%, with the total generated revenue amounting to EUR 722 mln. Most of the revenue is generated by the electronics and media category, followed by toys and DIY items.

Interestingly, in Bulgaria, the most popular category at the moment seems to be fashion, accounting for EUR 201 mln of the countryʼs total EUR 470 mln online revenue across categories. By 2021, this figure is expected to grow to EUR 681 mln.

Furthermore, the Bulgarian E-commerce Association has joined the pan-European organization Ecommerce Europe, which represents over 25,000 online retailers across Europe, a move expected to open up business opportunities in the country for online merchants from other EU members, as well as allowing the organization to fortify its regional presence.

The Polish market consists of nearly 20 million online shoppers (about half of the Polish population), expected to spend EUR 366.04 online annually per capita. In the next four years, the number of Polish shoppers is expected to grow to 20.95 million, spending some EUR 482.32 per capita annually, Icecat says.

In Slovenia, the number of online shoppers is predicted to reach 1.4 million by 2021, representing 83% of the total population.

Summarizing the situation, the report says: "Ultimately, the direction the CEE region is heading is looking especially good for manufacturers, resellers and distributors related to this region."