E-commerce Export magazine: Austria10.4.2023
A focus on ecological solutions, shopping especially via smartphones and the strong standing of international e-commerce companies. Austria is one of the main consumer markets in Europe, with a high standard of living and high purchasing power and a population that likes to order mainly from abroad. Are you planning to export to this progressive, ecologically minded country in Central Europe? In the next edition of our magazine, we focus on Austria.
A progressive country with a high measure of online penetration
Popular ski resorts, romantic lakeside towns and delightful cycling paths – which of these possibilities do you think of first when you hear the word Austria? The Republic of Austria is a German-speaking state in Central Europe. This parliamentary democracy has more than nine million inhabitants and is part of the region known as DACH, which also includes Germany and Switzerland.
Austria has been a member of the UN since 1955, and near the end of the 20th century it successively joined the European Union, the Schengen Area and the Euro Area (payments are therefore made in euros). Compared to other Central European countries, Austria is generally exceptional in its level of Internet penetration, which ranks among the highest in Europe – as more than 86% of the population has access to the Internet. A specific element is the high purchasing power of the population and the standard of living in addition to an efficient logistics infrastructure.
Size of the e-commerce market
Austria is the world’s 25th largest e-commerce market. As in other European countries, growth of the online market has been deeply affected in recent years by the COVID-19 pandemic, as Austrian consumers were forced to shop online due to anti-epidemic measures, which sparked an increase of up to 20% in online retail sales. Fast-growing urbanisation and digitisation are also key elements to the growth of e-commerce in Austria.
The specifics of the Austrian e-commerce market is the dominance of international companies, while according to statistics every second Austrian regularly orders goods from abroad. Large companies are used to selling to Austrian customers, importing goods from their headquarters or centres in larger European markets nearby (such as Germany).
Growth in the past, growth in the future
Similarly as in Poland or Hungary, in Austria, too, global e-commerce sales are expected to grow in the coming years. According to forecasts, the annual compound growth rate could be at the level of 11.7% until 2027. Experts estimate that growth in the near future will be much higher – the market could grow by 23.2% by 2023, thus contributing to the global growth rate of 17%. A gradual decline in percentage annual growth may be a sign of a moderately flooded market.
The biggest players on the Austrian market
International companies dominate the Austrian market, and this is also evident in the ranking of the largest e-commerce players. Of the five winners in the ranking, only three have an .at ending.
- Amazon.de – main category: electronics and media
- Zalando.at – clothing, fashion
- Mediamarkt.at – electronics and media
- Universal.at – clothing, fashion
- Apple.com – electronics and media
The leaders of the individual market sectors are also worth a closer look. The largest segment of Austrian e-commerce is clothing and fashion, which covers up to 36.8% of all e-commerce revenues. The second area in terms of size is electronics and media (18.5%), and the top three is rounded out by furniture and appliances (16.5%).
- Clothing, fashion – Zalando.at, Universal.at, Hm.com, Amazon.de, Aboutyou.at
- Electronics and media – Amazon.de, Apple.com, Mediamarkt.at, Electronic4you.at, Cyberport.at
- Toys and hobby – Amazon.de, Muenzeoesterreich.at, Obi.at, Hornbach.at, Thomann.de
- Food and personal care items – Shop-apotheke.at, Amazon.de, Interspar.at, Dm.at, Gurlkerl.at
- Furniture and appliances – Amazon.de, Xxxlutz.at, Ikea.com, Mediamarkt.at, Moebelix.at
How do Austrian customers behave?
The Austrian market is already somewhat nearer to Western e-commerce markets than the other countries of Central Europe, which is also reflected to a certain extent in the behaviour of Austrian customers. We advise you not to underestimate them in order to obtain them.
Customer reviews and online personal assistants
Up to 71% of Austrian online shoppers do a quick online survey before ordering a major purchase. When deciding, reviews of other customers in particular are key, as around 16% of Austrians also use online personal assistants, such as Amazon Echo or Google Home. These most common voice-controlled devices can perform a wide variety of tasks, including comparing reviews.
They like to buy from abroad
Austria is one of the few European countries where turnover from domestic e-commerce is much lower than foreign turnover. This may be caused mainly by the fact that the majority of popular retailers simply did not decide to open a local branch. The most popular countries from which Austrians shop are Germany, Italy, Switzerland, China and the Czech Republic.
A responsive website is also essential for Austrians
Austrian customers most often shop using their smartphones or tablets; in 2021, up to 70% of the Austrian population used a mobile phone for online shopping. Therefore, even in this country, e-shops should not underestimate the optimisation of their websites and possibly the use of applications to ensure convenient and flexible shopping for customers at any time and from anywhere.
Caring for the planet as a priority
In Austrian e-commerce, environmental awareness and sustainable shopping behaviour are increasingly important topics. Online customers also pay attention to regionality, short delivery routes or product packaging, and when comparing individual e-shops they choose the more ecological options. Of interest is that even the biggest player – Amazon.com – has developed a section on its platform where you can search for products from small regional sellers.
An ideal price-to-quality ratio
Austrians are also characterised by the fact that they are aware of the value of money and generally try to find products that offer them the perfect balance between price and quality. Therefore, on the local market, they may consider competitive prices in addition to high quality. New e-shops should consider their pricing strategies based on local competitors as well as the price sensitivity of customers in individual segments.
Top-notch customer service and trust in the seller
Consumers in Austria enjoy good customer service, trust in an e-shop and security when shopping. They expect fast and efficient communication from electronic shops, as well as the security of websites and payment gateways or transparency in data collection and use. If customers have a positive experience with your e-shop and build trust in you, there is a very high probability that they’ll return in the future.
Returning goods as an interesting trend in 2021
Just two years ago (in 2021) approximately 47% of all online customers returned at least one of the products they ordered. This phenomenon is gradually decreasing, however, for which e-shops can thank the more accurate product descriptions and data, the digitalisation of all business processes, faster delivery and the already mentioned more sustainable behaviour of customers. Therefore, even when exporting to the Austrian market, do not undervalue the provision of important information and the placement of complex product descriptions.
Debit cards are used much more often than credit cards in Austria, which may indicate an aversion to taking on credit. According to predictions, digital wallets in particular should be the fastest growing payment method in the near future. At present, after payment by card, payment using electronic wallets is the most common, followed by bank transfer and cash on delivery. A standard of Austrian e-shops is the popular domestic online payment by EPS bank transfer, which up to 80% of all electronic shops offer.
|Payment gateway||Information on prices for monthly operation and payment|
Prices for Barion (universal for Europe)
Prices for Fondy (universal for Europe)
Prices for GoPay (universal for Europe)
Prices for PayPal (universal for Europe)
Prices for Paysera (Austria)
Prices for PayU (universal for Europe)
Prices for Skrill (Austria – after entering filters)
Prices for Stripe (Croatia)
Prices for Tap2Pay (universal for Europe)
Logistics has an important place in the country’s economy. Austria is a major transit hub for Western Europe and has excellent transport connections with neighbouring countries. The country has excellent infrastructure, which allows for the fast and reliable delivery of goods. The main logistics centre is Vienna.
Among the largest courier companies in the field of e-commerce in Austria are Österreichische Post (57%), DHL (27%) and the French company DPD (20%). The Click & Collect service is also gaining popularity in Austria. According to statistics from the company DPD, regular buyers through e-shops receive an average of 5.9 packages per month. While most such orders are delivered directly to the consumer, if the sellers offer the choice, some consumers will pick up products from the store in person.
Major international fulfilment companies, such as LKW Walter Group, Schenker & Co AG and Kuehne + Nagel AG, are based in Austria. Fulfilment by Amazon can also be a good choice for fulfilment.
Act No. 190/1999 deals with issues related to signature verification and certified services in electronic commerce and legal matters. The act relates to all electronic signatures which should be recognised as equivalent to hand-written signatures in legal matters.
The Austrian e-commerce act was created on the basis of the EU e-commerce directive and applies to services that are provided through electronic systems for the processing and storage of information.
VAT in Austria
There are two reduced VAT rates in Austria and one standard rate:
- the standard rate of 20%, which applies to most goods and services;
- a reduced rate of 13%, which applies, for example, to cinema tickets, visits to a swimming pool or the import of works of art;
- a reduced rate of 10%, which applies, for example, to food, rent and public transport tickets
How is the GDPR in Austria?
In Austria, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) includes requirements for the processing of personal data – a cookie bar, such as name, address and payment information – as well as ensuring users’ consent to the use of their data and the right of users to access, rectify and erase their personal data. The law further requires that personal data be processed transparently and securely and that certain procedures be followed in the case of a data security breach.
Overview of public holidays in Austria
In 2021, spending on digital advertising in Austria totalled 1.66 billion euros, which represents a year-on-year increase of approximately 36% compared to 2020. Within social networks, at the start of 2023 some 6.43 million users aged 18 and over were using them, which corresponded to 86.8% of the total population at that time. The potential reach of the advertising of individual social networks in Austria between 2022 and 2023 was as follows:
- YouTube (7.34 million users) – 87.1%
- Facebook (3.15 million users) – 37.4%
- Instagram (2.90 million users) – 34.4%
- TikTok (2.14 million users) – 25.4%
- Facebook Messenger (1.90 million users) – 21.2%
- LinkedIn (2.00 million users) – 23.7%
SEO – language is important
The largest segment is search-engine advertising with a market size of 0.59 billion euros 2023. It is important with search-engine optimisation (SEO) that German is the official language in Austria, though the language used in Vienna is slightly different from that used in Berlin. Most people use various dialects and the differences are evident even in basic phrases and words. Therefore, be sure to select a professional translator, so that you do not make any mistakes on your site.
TIP: There is strong local patriotism in Austria, so it is important that your website is properly translated into German, as it will give you a better chance of succeeding in this market.
According to a study from the end of 2019, 10% of Austrians asked use price alert systems that automatically notify the buyer if a product drops below a certain price. Four percent of those asked use browser add-ons that provide information when a given product is particularly cheap in an online store.
The 6 largest price comparison sites in Austria
- Geizhals.at – a wide spectrum of products
- Preisjaeger.at – a wide spectrum of products
- Idealo.de – a wide spectrum of products
- Mydealz.de – a wide spectrum of products
- Sparhamster.at – a wide spectrum of products
Austrians favour cross-border shopping
More than half of online purchases come from other countries. Compared with domestic e-commerce sales, international sales are much more popular. Shopping on Amazon is a great example. Austrians shop on German websites and then have the goods delivered to their home. The most popular places for Austrians shopping across the border are Germany, Italy, Switzerland, China and the Czech Republic.
C2C has a promising future
The popularity of online bazaar-style platforms is also increasing, and we can even link their growth with the idea of saving. More than half (52%) of online shoppers use these platforms, and almost the same share sell. In addition, 69% of these shoppers believe that second-hand products are cheaper than new ones. This trend also highlights the importance of sustainability, since 33% of online sellers are willing to pay more for products associated with promoting sustainability.
Flexibility in delivery
Austrians like to use the “click and collect” option, which enables users to order a product online and pick it up in a brick-and-mortar store. In addition to saving on delivery costs, this option also allows customers to pick up the goods at a time that is most convenient for them.
Shopping with a smartphone – a clear choice
From the 9.6 billion euros of sales from online retail two billion already come from mobile commerce, which represents an increase of 83% compared to the years 2021 and 2022. Mobile shopping is used particularly among the younger generation. Nearly seven of ten consumers under the age of 29 shop via a smartphone. In contrast, fewer people in Austria use mobile payments when compared to Poland, Sweden, Spain or the Netherlands.
Austria has a stable and prosperous economy and also has a relatively low number of e-shops compared to other European countries, which can represent an opportunity for your business. Do not hesitate to contact us for any questions regarding the expansion to Austria.