The latest report on the Polish e-commerce market shows that shopping online is a fairly widespread and popular phenomenon among Poles. To what extent do we shop abroad, and how faithful are we to our native shops?
Domain of the young and wealthy
The report ‘E-commerce in Poland 2016. Gemius for e-Commerce Polska’ shows that shopping on foreign websites is most popular with young people. E-consumers below 34 make up 26 per cent of those shopping in this way. This group of online shoppers is dominated by people with a monthly household income above PLN 5,000 (21 per cent). Cross-border shopping is less popular with the rural population (5 per cent) and people aged over 50 (6 per cent).
When it comes to online shopping, Poles are reluctant to look abroad. Only 10 per cent of all internet users surveyed said that they use foreign online shops. Within this small group of respondents, the most popular brand is eBay.com (19 per cent). Also frequently mentioned were Aliexpress.com (12 per cent) and Amazon.com (9 per cent).
‘Although Poles tend to shop on Polish websites, I wouldn’t say this is a case of local patriotism or supporting native businesses – though certain consumers will no doubt shop on websites ending with .pl for these very reasons,’ says Marek Molicki, Gemius expert. ‘In my opinion, the reason for this phenomenon is much simpler. Firstly, Polish online shops offer a wide enough range that the majority of goods sought can be purchased in Poland. This usually means a shorter delivery time – especially compared with deliveries from Asia or the USA – as well as lower delivery costs and, importantly, a quick and easy means of possible returns. Price is clearly an important factor when shopping and, since prices are not drastically higher, Poles opt to shop locally. If anything is changing in the market, it’s mainly due to the appearance of the Polish versions of global giants like Amazon. Although I believe this brand is well-prepared for expansion, we should bear in mind the entrance of eBay onto the Polish market and its failure to compete with Allegro. It’s very difficult to fight habit. When we also consider the high level of customer service, Polish shops should not be overly worried about the future,’ adds Molicki.
‘The results of Gemius’ latest study clearly show that, although online shopping has become commonplace, it should be considered primarily in terms of the local Polish market. Even though one in ten internet users has shopped on foreign websites, the collected data shows that this phenomenon is still of an incidental nature,’ says Sławomir Pliszka, head of PBI. ‘There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, the rich offer of Polish online shops and auction websites. It would be hard to identify a product that is not available, apart from niche or collectors’ items. Secondly, the question of price. There’s no doubt that shopping on foreign websites is often simply unprofitable: the high exchange rate of the euro and the dollar, inflated conversions on the złoty, the shipping costs and the need to pay customs duty on purchases from outside the European Union. Thirdly, it’s a matter of convenience and trust – certain product categories, such as clothing and electronics, are linked to high return rates. Although the EU means we have the same rights when it comes to withdrawing from a contract, many people find it faster and more convenient to get a refund for purchases made in Poland. All of this means that, although more and more Poles will choose to shop on foreign websites, Polish shops need not worry about losing customers,’ adds Pliszka.