E-commerce Export Magazine: Hungary22.9.2022
Easy access to Internet devices, growth in monthly income and household consumption, higher trust in online sellers and payments. Due to all these factors, Hungary is the country with the highest e-commerce growth rate in its region. We focus on the opportunities that this market offers, as well as the risks that one must be careful about when exporting, in the new segment of our export magazine.
The country with the largest growth rate in the region
The Republic of Hungary is located in Central Europe and has a population of more than 9.75 million inhabitants. Local e-commerce is still growing; it can even boast the largest annual growth rate in Central Europe, by 14 – 18%, in a well-established and functioning ecosystem. Hungary is part of the Schengen Area and the European Union, but it does not yet belong to the Euro Area; the currency is the Hungarian forint (1 euro = 393.08 Hungarian forints).
Size of the e-commerce market
Electronic commerce in Hungary is mainly concentrated in the capital and its environs. Despite a slow start, it has experienced a boom in recent years, which was partly caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The most developed segment is thought to be electronic banking, while customers most often buy books, coupons, electronics, insurance, tickets and vacations via the Internet. Up to 40% of the total annual revenue in Hungarian e-commerce is generated in the last two months of the year due to promotions and holidays (Black Friday and Christmas).
According to the rankings from 2021, Hungary is the 53rd largest e-commerce market in the world with revenues of 1.8 billion euros, and it is expected that its growth will continue in the coming years. The annual compound growth rate is estimated to be 7% until 2025. This is a significant drop compared with the 23% rate between 2020 and 2021, suggesting a slightly flooded market. Hungary, however, still has very high growth potential; in 2021, up to 46% of the Hungarian population bought at least one product online.
5 biggest players on the Hungarian market
The Hungarian market also has its own ranking of e-shops that move the e-commerce world the most. the biggest players for 2021 are well-known global and regional electronic stores, the first three e-shops in the ranking account together for 25% of online revenues in Hungary.
- Emag.hu – main category: electronics and media
- Alza.hu – electronics and media
- Tesco.hu – food and personal care items
- Mediamarkt.hu - elektronika a médiá
- Ikea.com – electronics and media
The largest segment of Hungarian e-commerce is clothing and fashion, which represents up to 37% of total revenues. This is followed by electronics and media (27%) and food and personal care (15%). Individual segments also have their winners.
- Clothing, fashion – Aboutyou.hu, Hm.com, Ecipo.hu, Bonprix.hu
- Electronics and media – Emag.hu, Alza.hu, Apple.com, Edigital.hu, Mediamarkt.hu
- Toys and hobbies – Alza.hu, Emag.hu, Zooplus.hu, Obi.hu, Alkatrezek.hu
- Food and personal care items – Tesco.hu, Kifli.hu, Emag.hu, Notino.hu, Auchan.hu
- Furniture and appliances – Ikea.com, Mediamarkt.hu, Jysk.hu, Edigital.hu, Moemax.hu
One of the fastest growing e-shops is Mvstore.hu from the toys and hobby category. In 2021, it achieved net sales worth 3.3 million euros, an increase of 149% compared to the previous year. Among the current growth champions, we can also include the pet supplies e-shop Fressnapf.hu and the clothing retailer Columbia.hu.
How does the Hungarian customer behave?
Hungarian customers who are used to shopping online make up 59% of the population. In brief, we could at the start summarise by saying that they are used to quality products, delivery on the day of ordering (within Budapest), the lowest possible price and easy returns (standard within 30 days).
According to the English e-commerce news most customers use laptops to browse e-shops, followed by smartphones, desktop computers and tablets. Up to 20% of customers have devices from Apple, and the most popular search engine is Google Chrome. If you want to attract Hungarian customers to your e-shop, you should not underestimate these facts.
Sales, discounts or free shipping work best
Before clicking the pay button, Hungarians like to be sure that they have chosen the best offer they could find on the market. Discounts, sales and free shipping can therefore be really key when deciding and re-evaluating.
Get the best reviews and recommendations
Up to eight out of ten Hungarian customers do Internet research before making a purchase. Aside from price and quality of products, they are also influenced by recommendations from friends or Internet reviews. Therefore, the quality of communication with the customer is exceptionally important.
Popularity of showrooms
If we had to choose one thing that Hungarian customers are really specific about, it would be popularity of their showrooms. For many, a personal meeting is a confirmation of the trustworthiness and in fact the existence of the company. Therefore, such meetings with customers is essential for sustainable growth and for building relationships. E-commerce experts recommend founding at least a small local company with physical space, particularly in regions outside the capital city.
They buy more online than offline
A point of interest is that the value of the online shopping cart of Hungarian customers tends to be greater than when they shop offline. The average value of an order has risen from 19 euros (7,500 HUF) to almost 30 euros (11,600 HUF) over the past five years, notes the text on Hungarian e-commerce.
They are nationally oriented, but they also like to shop abroad
Hungarians are proud of their country and prefer domestic e-shops, but the share of cross-border e-commerce is relatively high, at 10%. Up to 56% of online shoppers have already ordered goods from a foreign e-shop in the past. China dominates (56%), followed by Germany (13%) and the United States (3%).
Popular payment gateways
Regarding payments, 44% of Hungarian customers prefer cashless payment by debit or credit card, while 45% prefer cash. Customers are typically unwilling to pay in advance, so they often choose cash on delivery and payment upon delivery. Even in Hungary, however, you will find users who have no problem with online payment, so you need to choose the right payment gateway for your e-shop.
|Payment gateway||Price list of payment gateway services|
The Hungarian e-commerce market is mainly located in Budapest and its environs. And thanks to well-placed and interconnected logistics centres, Hungary has one of the simplest parcel delivery systems in the world. Many orders come from larger cities; therefore, delivery is fast and shipping costs are slightly lower. Up to 68 % of residents prefer home delivery, while 20 % use delivery points and store delivery, and 12 % use parcel machines.
Among the carriers most used are DPD, GLS, Express One, MPL (Magyar Posta) and Sprinter. Among e-shops 48% stated that they use GLS services to transport goods.
Among the shipping partners operating in Hungary, we mention companies such as Webshippy, the Packeta Group (Csomagküldő) or Pick Pack Pont.
Some new changes in the laws affect several areas. This mainly involves:
- changes in the disclosure of consumer contact information
- changes in contractual terms
- changes to the rules for ratings and reviews
New rules for determining discounts
As in other EU countries, the service or product offered must contain information about the original price 30 days before the discount. If you marked a product or service as discounted once in the last 30 days, you must publish a comparison of the current price with the previous selling price. The new rules on price displays do not apply to perishable services and products or to products that retain their quality for a short period of time (such as fresh food, baked goods, cut flowers).
VAT in Hungary
The new rules for the online invoicing system mainly affected businesses that have a Hungarian identification number for value added tax. The standard VAT rate is 27%, which is one of the highest in the world. Exporters in Hungary are required to register a VAT number if their annual turnover exceeds EUR 35,000. In addition to registration, it is also recommended to establish a local limited liability company (called a Kft).
Based on the GDPR, you must inform e-shop visitors about the cookies you use when they first visit your website. Cookies must also contain a name, what they are for and how long they will be used. Even for a separate cookies bar, it must contain several consent buttons for data processing. In practice, this means that the consent button for basic cookie is listed separately from the marketing and statistical cookies.
In January 2022, Hungary had 9.62 million inhabitants, 8.56 million of whom are Internet users. According to the data, up to 7.33 million Facebook users were recorded in Hungary this year. The social network Instagram is used by 2.89 million people and LinkedIn is favoured by 1,29 million users, Tiktok is used by 2.17 million people.
Advertising systems such as Google Ads, Google Shopping and Facebook ads are the most commonly used on the Hungarian market. One important fact is that there is a large price disparity between Budapest and the rest of the country. Up to 40% of visits and more than half of sales come directly from Budapest. The average cost per click in the capital is about 10% higher than in other cities.
Portals for comparing prices make it easier for users to browse multiple offers from online stores. The advantage of price comparators is that they have lower advertising costs compared to other marketing channels.
The 6 largest comparison and inspiration search engines in Hungary
- Arukereső.hu – wide spectrum of products
- Argep.hu – wide spectrum of products
- Olcsobbat.hu – wide spectrum of products
- Favi.hu – furniture and decorative products
- Biano.hu – furniture and decorative products
- Glami.hu – fashion and accessories
Technologies based on virtual and augmented reality are increasingly being used. Their advantage is that they partly replace the pleasure of offline shopping for buyers. Thanks to virtual reality, you can view and “try out” the product in an online environment, too. Furthermore, future development may lead to us being able to experience the smell or touch of products from a distance.
Another trend in Hungarian e-commerce is chatbots. This software significantly eases the work of customer service and also provides a number of benefits for website visitors. By launching and operating them, you can lower the cost of customer services to a certain extent, and they can also be available to the customer 24 hours a day. Keep in mind, however, that chatbots, like other software, need to be regularly optimised and developed.
An omnichannel provides customers with hassle-free shopping, whether online or offline. This system enables merchants to send personalised offers through multiple channels (email, push notification, phone, SMS). It is expected that e-shops that invest in an omnichannel strategy will maximise sales and raise customer loyalty.
More and more customers are willing to pay more for sustainable products. This is true particularly for the younger target audience. Focusing on sustainability is already a trend, but it will continue to grow. For e-shops, it is good to consider research on sustainable packaging or seeking ways to reduce the carbon footprint when transporting goods. This creates a responsible brand image and actually reduces the environmental impact of business practices.
The Hungarian market offers many opportunities for your business. For expanding into Hungary do not hesitate to contact our consultants, who will provide you with the best know-how on the market.