Poland’s Booming Sector

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By Jude Bryan

The eCommerce market in Poland is booming in the right direction with even its future projections looking bright.
In 2021, the e-commerce market in Poland exceeded USD24 billion and is expected to be valued more at USD38.9 billion in 2026.
Online sales in Poland were also encouraging as they grew by 35 per cent due to the rapid adoption of digital consumerism which was further accelerated by restrictions brought by COVID-19. 
According to the Gemius report, as many as 38 per cent of Polish consumers have chosen online shopping as a means to obtain their supplies of food, hygiene, and chemical products.
Many Polish companies have started selling their products and services through their own online stores or marketplace platforms.
Numbers show that there were almost 11,800 Polish web stores registered in 2020, alone.
To date, international e-commerce marketplaces are boosting their presence in Poland as even Amazon has jumped onto the bandwagon with amazon. pl followed by Shopee.
Ecommerce tools and platforms, such as Shopify on the other hand, are launching Polish language versions of their technology to support the growing tranche of eCommerce start-ups.
Fortunately for Poland, eCommerce fraud is relatively low, with approximately only one per cent of online shoppers experiencing fraud on an annual basis, compared with the European Union average of two per cent. 

Some stats on the Polish consumer and marketplace overview 

In terms of ranking, Poland bags the 8th largest e-Commerce economy in the European Union and the 19th largest e-commerce market in the world with 14 per cent of all retail sales in 2020 being transacted online. Over 40 per cent of online shoppers are between the ages of 25 and 54 and spends approximately EUR680 per annum on average as an e-shopper.

Poland’s demographic profile: 
  • Population: 38.1 million
  • GDP: USD580.89 billion
  • GDP per Capita: USD15,656
  • eCommerce Market Size: 69.75 per cent of pollution
  • Internet penetration: 81 per cent
  • eCommerce Penetration: 56 per cent
  • Allegro (favoured by 90 per cent of correspondents)
  • Zalando (preferred by 30 per cent of correspondents)
  • Alibaba / AliExpress (preferred by 29 per cent of correspondents)
  • Amazon (preferred by 15 per cent of correspondents)
  • Wish (preferred by 13 per cent of correspondents)
  • eBay (Amazon (preferred by 10 per cent of correspondents)
  • Etsy (favoured by one per cent of correspondents)
  • JD.com (selected by one per cent of correspondents)

Consumer Behaviour and Purchasing Patterns

  • Language: Native translation (Polish) is crucial to building a strong relationship and trust with the Polish customer base. This is one of the main factors contributing to Allegro’s (which is a Polish e-commerce marketplace) popularity in the market in comparison with international marketplaces operating in Poland.
  • Price sensitivity: Over 75 per cent of Polish customers pay close attention to price in their purchase decision making process. Analysing the price sensitivity factor across customers of different age groups, the price remains a particularly important factor for those who are 29 and below, however, customers within the age range of 50 and above, focus more on product description rather than the price. 
  • Return policies: 60 per cent of Polish consumers rank clear information about procedures of return as “very important”. Note: In the EU (including Poland), online consumers have the right to cancel and return their order within 14 days (General rule; exceptions apply). After cancelling the order, the customer has another 14 days to return the product. Online retailers thereafter must satisfy the refund within 14 days of receiving the cancellation.
  • Other important criteria for Polish consumers for purchasing decisions include good photographs and a clear description of the product as well as a clear indication of the total price, which includes shipping, taxes, and other fees.
Factors for Business Case Consideration
  • Marketplace fees: Including, but are not limited to membership fees, subscription fees, commission rates, listing fees and promotional packages. 
  • Tariffs and taxes: In addition to the import duty that the individual product attracts, all imported goods are subject to a 23 per cent VAT. (Note: Effective July 1, 2021, the VAT exemption for consignment goods worth EUR22 and less, had been withdrawn by the EU). Import duties and import requirements by HS Code for entry into the EU can be accessed from here.
  • Logistics: Including logistic partner, warehousing (if required) for both the delivery of sound as well as managing returns. It is also beneficial to note that Poland’s last-mile solution is among the most innovative in Europe, with Poland’s parcel market expected to reach 1.31 billion parcels by 2023.
Observation And Comments  

The growth of eCommerce has certainly redefined the retail business, not only in Poland but globally. From a trade promotion perspective, eCommerce is certainly a game-changer, as it enables manufacturers and sellers to directly present their products to the market or the end consumer, a milestone which would otherwise involve more parties, including but not limited to importers, distributors, and retailers. This would serve as a useful tool to develop, particularly new and emerging markets.
MATRADE Warsaw, in collaboration with Europe and Americas Section, is partnering with allegro.pl, a leading Polish eCommerce marketplace to introduce Malaysian sellers into the Polish e-commerce ecosystem. The partnership programme will include onboarding, training, and promotion components. MATRADE will be recruiting Malaysian sellers to participate in this collaboration programme. Keen Malaysian sellers are urged to contact Matrade Warsaw for further information on the programme.

About the author: Jude Bryan is the Trade Commissioner for Matrade (Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation) in Warsaw, Poland until June 29 after which he would be transitioning to a new role within the organisation. This article was originally published by the editorial department of Matrade in the latest trade magazine however it has been reproduced here as well with permission.

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