Poland leads the way
When it comes to economic and consumer trends, Poland is representative of developments that have taken place across much of Eastern Europe over the past decade. Just as a new, digitally-savvy generation has come of age, favorable economic conditions have brought jobs not only in traditional industry but also across the tech field. From an e-commerce perspective, Poland is a European hub both for IT services as well as logistics, a combination which is currently helping to fuel the rise of a sector that has grown at the same time as Poland’s overall consumer economy has matured.
According to external data, Poland leads Eastern Europe when it comes to spend across Beauty and Cosmetics (USD $720 million), Fashion ($6.49 billion), and Digital Goods ($615 million). What’s more, these numbers are still on a significant upward trajectory despite Poland already being more established when it comes to e-commerce than some of its Eastern European counterparts.
COVID-19 was obviously a major catalyst for 2020’s e-commerce growth in Poland but is far from the only factor. If anything, the growth numbers from 2020 show how the Polish e-commerce market still has significant room for further expansion.
If Poland is representative of the changes across Eastern Europe in the last decade, Romania is one place where we can look for signals of what the future might hold. Despite being among the smallest countries in the European Union in terms of GDP per capita, Romania has one of Europe’s fastest-growing e-commerce markets. At the same time, Romania’s population of nearly 20 million is more than the Netherlands and good for 6th among the 27 countries in the EU.
The numbers support Romania’s claim to being on the up-and-up when it comes to the digital economy. In terms of e-commerce growth, Romania was among the leading countries surveyed in our report both for digital goods (+54% since 2019) as well as fashion (+75%). The absolute numbers are also impressive. E-commerce spending in Romania in the fashion segment is projected to top $1 billion for the first time in 2021, outpacing wealthier Eastern European markets like the Czech Republic. In the beauty and cosmetics segment, which is also seeing a rapid rise (+47% since 2019), the average transaction value in Romania on PayU’s platform was $70, the highest of any EMEA market.
Efforts from the public sector and leading private sector institutions to increase the level of digitization in Romania can be expected to drive further gains in Romanian e-commerce in the coming years. There is an increasingly strong foundation to build on.
Czech e-commerce: More than meets the eye
At first glance, the Czech Republic might not seem as exciting an e-commerce market as its larger neighbors to the Northwest (Germany), and Northeast (Poland). But looking more closely, we can see one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets in Eastern Europe, supported by the region’s wealthiest consumer economy.
The Czech economy is also closely linked with neighboring Slovakia. Taken together, the two nations represent a combined population of 16 million and an e-commerce market of $4 billion.
Key growth sectors include digital goods (+33% compared with 2019), and fashion, where transaction data from PayU’s platform showed an increase of 55% year-over-year at the end of 2020.
Looking at the numbers from 2020, the rapid expansion of e-commerce in the Czech Republic is underlined by a steady rise in average transaction value, showing promise for the future as more consumers look for opportunities to buy increasingly higher-value products online.