E-commerce Export magazine: Poland22.11.2022
Poland ranks among the countries with the fastest growing e-commerce market in Europe, though the pandemic has significantly affected the shopping habits of its customers. The most popular category is fashion, but all segments of e-commerce have high growth potential. In the next instalment of our export magazine, we bring you everything you need to know when planning to export to Poland; from basic data to payment gateway prices and current market trends.
A Catholic country with high growth potential
The ninth largest and sixth most populous country of the European Union – that is Poland which has more than 38 million inhabitants. Up to 89% of people belong to the Catholic faith, which affects the market in several ways – for example, all shops are closed on every Sunday, which leads to more online shopping.
In the Slovak Republic’s northern neighbour, payments are made in złoty (1 euro = 4.86 Polish złoty). Poland is slightly behind the European average in the online space, with around 84% of Internet users shopping online and 92.4% of households having Internet access according to 2021 statistics.
Size of the e-commerce market
The Polish e-commerce market totals 29.7 billion euros and has 53 thousand registered e-shops. Up to 80% of Polish companies have their own e-shop, though some have a notably low technical level. The majority of customers use mobile devices, followed by laptops and desktop computers. Similarly as with the Hungarian and Czech markets, most of the annual income in Polish e-commerce is generated in the pre-Christmas period.
Growth in the past, growth in the future
The e-commerce market in Poland, as in other European countries, was seriously affected by the pandemic. Working from home increased the digital skills of the citizenry, and the restrictions prompted a complete change in consumer habits and more frequent online shopping. The increased interest of customers brought with it the rapid development of new initiatives in the field of e-commerce, especially improvements in customer support and the automation of processes (including the application of augmented reality and artificial intelligence).
After several years of double-digit percentage growth of the Polish e-commerce market, a gradual slowing to 7% is expected. Experts anticipate that in 2026 the market will reach a value of 43.5 billion euros and will represent 20% of all retail sales in Poland.
The biggest players on the Polish market
Among the biggest players on the Polish e-commerce market in 2021, according to eCommerceDB domestic e-shops from the electronics, media and fashion categories did battle for customers.
- Mediaexpert.pl – main category: electronics and media
- Zalando.pl – clothing, fashion
- Euro.com.pl – electronics and media
- Ikea.com – furniture and appliances
- Eobuwie.com.pl – clothing, fashion
Domestic e-shops also predominate in the individual categories.
- Clothing, fashion – Zalando.pl, Eobuwie.com.pl, Zara.com, Reserved.com, Hm.com
- Electronics and media – Mediaexpert.pl, Euro.com.pl, Apple.com, X-com.pl, Empik.com
- Toys and hobbies – Zooplus.pl, Oponeo.pl, Decathlon.pl, Nike.com, Leroymerlin.pl
- Food and personal care items – Doz.pl, Aptekagemini.pl, Sephora.pl, Hebe.pl, Notino.pl
- Furniture and appliances – Ikea.com, Mediaexpert.pl, Euro.com.pl, Mediamarkt.pl, Leroymerlin.pl
The food and personal care items category has been the fastest growing segment in recent years, though the gradual easing of pandemic measures has significantly slowed growth.
How does the Polish customer behave?
People between the ages of 29 and 49 are among Poland’s most frequent online customers, and they mostly come from big cities and towns. One Polish customer spends an average of 80 euros per month shopping online. Do you want them to end up with you? When selecting an e-shop, the price and locality of the products are particularly important for Poles.
Extreme price sensitivity
Simply put, the cheapest offer always wins. More and more customers also prefer the “buy now, pay later” option. According to a report from 2021, online shoppers in Poland are especially sensitive to the price of clothing, and among luxury products they pay particular attention to the footwear category.
Discounts encourage impulse purchases
According to the results of one study, Polish customers, both male and female, are inclined to make purchases impulsively when prices are exceptionally low. Therefore, discounts and favourable offers can draw them in quickly.
Frequent comparison of offers
Before sending an order in an e-shop, up to 59% of Polish customers do research and browse offers not only in several e-shops and on social networks, but also on regional marketplaces to ensure they are choosing the best option.
Many Poles are still used to shopping in person at markets or small regional shops near their home, where mainly local products are available. This behaviour is then also transferred to the online space – more customers give preference to products from well-known regional manufacturers.
E-shops in Poland can greatly benefit from the fact that all shops are closed on Sundays. The opportunity to buy at any time can therefore easily win over Polish customers.
Polish customers also frequently buy from abroad, especially products that are cheaper or not available locally. Cross-border trade currently represents about 30% of all transactions, but this percentage is constantly growing.
Polish customers mainly prefer rapid electronic transfers, including mobile payments, card payments or electronic wallet payments. One of the most popular payment options is Blik, a local method for online payments that is preferred by up to 30% of all customers.
Cash on delivery, which is less and less popular in Europe, still has a few fans in Poland, representing up to 10% of total transactions.
The Polish logistics market has already reached maturity, and logistics services are relatively widely used and valued. Among the trends in logistics we recommend digitalization and automation of processes with the aim of ensuring more flexible logistics.
The most popular courier companies in Poland are DHL, DPD, GLS, InPost and Pocztex. Customers most prefer delivery to parcel machines, which are the cheapest delivery option, and courier services. Aside from parcel boxes, e-shop platforms frequently offer in-store and retail package collection services.
The ranking of the best transport companies that also provide fulfilment services includes Poczta Polska SA GK, Amazon Fulfillment Poland sp. z o.0., PKP Cargo SA GK, Grupa Raben and DPD Polska sp. z o.0. GK.
Polish regulations are based on the European Union electronic commerce regulations.
VAT in Poland
As of 1 July 2021, the e-commerce VAT package for the online sale of goods and services entered into force, which tightened the tax system. In Poland, the basic VAT rate is roughly 23%.
Poland actually has several VAT rates, the application of which depends on the type of sale made. Aside from the basic tax, reduced rates can also be applied:
- 8% VAT – 1) goods and services listed in Annex no. 3 of the VAT Act, 2) construction, supply, renovation, modernization and thermal modernization, as well as reconstruction of buildings or their parts, if they are included in the construction industry, which is covered by the social housing programme.
- 5% VAT – 1) goods listed in Annex 10 of the VAT Act, which includes basic food products (bread, cereal products, meat products, dairy products and juices) 2) local or regional magazines and books.
- 0% VAT – applies to intra-community supply and export of goods (supply or acquisition of goods or services between EU countries).
With the introduction of an anti-inflation shield for a specified statutory period, the VAT rate was reduced to 0%. The rate reduction relates to food products, soil improvers, growth stimulants, fertilizers and plant protection products, gardening soil and natural gas.
The provisions state that consent to cookies should meet the requirements for expressing consent in accordance with the provisions of the GDPR. Polish e-shops are no exception in the use of the so-called selection box (check box) so that the customer can consciously consent with the acceptance of regulations or the processing of personal data. The operator of the e-shop should adapt all selection boxes so that the consent granted is free, unambiguous and informed.
The provisions of the GDPR introduce the obligation to provide the customer with detailed information required by law, which will be in a brief, transparent, comprehensible and easily accessible form.
New price reduction rules
In addition to the information about the reduced price, according to the new regulations, information about the lowest price of a product that was valid during the 30 days before the introduction of the price reduction should also be provided. This is more demanding for goods that have a short shelf life – in this case together with the information about the discounted price, the information about the price before the first reduction is also applied, with the above mentioned conditions not applying.
The number of social media users in Poland increased by 1.3 million between 2021 and 2022. This means an increase of 5% compared with last year. More than 68% of Poles use social networks, and by 2026 this number is expected to climb to around 83%.
According to statistics that correspond to data from the beginning of 2022, Facebook had 17.65 million users. Instagram had 10.70 million users at the start of 2022, and TikTok was used by slightly fewer Poles – 7.70 million (aged 18 and over). In June 2022, a total of 5.05 million Poles used the LinkedIn platform.
Price comparators are an element of the e-commerce market that has a major influence on the decision-making of customers on the Internet and on increasing the sales of online stores. The greatest advantage of price comparators is that, thanks to the integration, this is a completely automated process. Each sale is made automatically and easily generates additional profit.
The 6 largest price comparison sites in Poland
- Ceneo.pl – a wide range of products
- Radar.wp.pl – a wide range of products
- Skąpiec.pl – a wide range of products
- Okazje.info.pl – a wide range of products
- Nokaut.pl – a wide range of products
- Homebook.pl – furniture and decorative products
Online marketing channels
Various online channels can be used to promote a specific service or product, such Google Ads, SEO or content, graphics and videos published on social networks and websites. If you want to reach a B2B audience, you can use LinkedIn Ads.
The overall image of the market in Q1 of 2022 did not change. The share of graphic advertising, including static display and video, is 43%. SEM recorded 5% and captured nearly a third of the market at 32%. All the key online advertising sales channels – in the programmatic model, on mobile devices and on social networks – also saw an increase.
Current market trends
Omnichannel or multi-channel sales is nothing new in e-commerce. Facebook, Instagram or Tik-Tok are no longer just for building a brand and communicating with customers. They are platforms that take part in sales, too.
Facebook and Instagram have long enabled entrepreneurs to add links to posts that take users directly to the e-shop page. The aim of omnichannel is to make the purchase process simple, fast and convenient – at any time and from any place.
In 2022, the trend of BNPL (“Buy Now Pay Later”) for payments came to the fore.
These are purchases made “on credit”, which are already offered by larger e-shops. In Poland, this service is offered by the companies Klarna, PayU, PayPo and Twisto. According to Twisto 73% of stores offer the option of using BNPL payment.
Shopping on social networks
In Poland, this type of shopping is still being developed. However, data indicates that shopping via social networks is most likely to grow dynamically. More than 80% of Poles buy or sell on Facebook.
Social networks offer customers a simpler shopping process compared to an e-shop. What’s more, sellers can effectively target advertising and in this way acquire new customers.
Headless ecommerce also offers the potential to increase the simplification of working with an e-shop. Simply put, headless e-commerce is a type of e-commerce architecture in which the front-end layer of an online store website is separated from the back-end and database. This enables a company to make changes without requiring complete updating of the development platform. In Poland, it is used by the largest auction sites and the trading platform IdoSell.
The popularity of online shopping will continue to grow, and Poland remains a suitable candidate for expansion. For the effective expansion of your business to this country, do not hesitate to contact us.