In the e-commerce market, European merchants are without a doubt in the best position to bring their business across borders. Europe has the most porous borders in the world and conducting e-commerce within the Single Euro Payments Area requires no additional payment technologies for European businesses. The e-commerce market in Europe is predicted to break 500 billion euros in value in 2016, so it’s time for merchants to decide which market to target next.
One of the strongest and fastest-growing e-commerce markets in Europe is Poland. Historically, Poland has been below average due to low internet penetration; however, rapid growth in infrastructure (bringing internet penetration up to 70% and mobile penetration to 150%) has brought over 26 million Polish online shoppers to market and pushed the country up to 4th place in e-commerce turnover.
The challenge of cross-border e-commerce in Europe is the wide disparity in consumer behaviors from country to country. Different shopping habits, preferred payment methods, access to technologies, levels of economic development, legality, logistics, etc. can greatly affect which international markets are—and are not—well suited to your business.
There are 38.3 million people living in Poland; it is estimated that about two-thirds of them have access to the internet and a third of them shop online, though you can be sure these numbers are increasing. Local language is a key driver in Poland – 97% of residents speak Polish, with another 5 million Polish speakers living abroad – and this market is unique in that it has Europe’s highest proportion of online retailers who sell only in their local language (72%).
Polish consumers, however, are not fully satisfied with their local retailers and have adopted cross-border e-commerce at a rate well above the European average. This is due to the rapid increase in e-commerce inclusion over the past 5 years, credited to the growth in mobile penetration (150%, with Android as the preferred operating system), causing the demand for online shopping to outstrip the supply.
After the expansion of m-commerce, the other major market trend in Poland is the growth of cross-border e-commerce. Most Polish consumers cite a lack of product selection from local retailers as a driver for shopping cross-border, with half of consumers also citing lower price as a factor. German retailers account for nearly a third of the total cross-border e-commerce market in Poland.
Note: Under the European WEEE regulation, for physical products, it is mandatory to register the number of items being put to market, as well as the items taken back from the market (as in the case of returns), or risk thousands of euros in fines. Inter-EU deliveries are subject to the EU Directive on the VAT-system.
Polish E-Commerce Facts
- Currently, Poland has one of the highest annual e-commerce growth rates in Europe, at 25%. The Polish e-commerce market is worth over EUR 20 billion annually, more than 5% of the country’s GDP.
- The preferred payment method in Poland is real-time bank transfer, with cash-on-delivery being another popular payment method.
- A recent poll from Gemius asked Polish consumers what they found most attractive about online shopping, with 88% stating round-the-clock availability, 83% the convenience of shopping from home, and 77% the ease of price comparison.
- The top product categories for cross-border e-commerce are clothing and footwear, home furnishings and car accessories. The most popular categories overall include electronics, media products, and consumer appliances.
- Only one in 5 consumers has ever made a return, resulting in a returns rate of only 3.4%, well below the global average.
The e-commerce market in Poland is so strong for one important reason: consumer confidence. Polish consumers don’t have any reservations about shopping online from both local and cross-border merchants. The biggest challenge facing retailers expanding their offerings into Poland is payment options, as the preferred payment methods are mainly bank transfer and cash-on-delivery, so be sure to offer a variety of payment options to please even the most headstrong shoppers. And one more thing to note is that Poles love Payza – so offering Payza as a preferred payment method to Polish online shoppers is a sure bet to getting paid in the most cost-effective manner: by Payza e-wallet payments.
We at Payza are committed to providing you with all the information you need to choose which countries are a good fit for your business by looking at specific markets with potential for cross-border e-commerce. As a provider of comprehensive payment processing services, Payza has first-hand experience facilitating business in over a hundred markets worldwide.