E-commerce Export magazine: Romania8.2.2023
Forecasts of a favourable growth rate in the future, the fifth fastest Internet connection in the world and potential in almost every area of e-commerce. The Romanian market may seem moderately flooded at the moment, but it still offers many opportunities. Choose the largest country in the Balkans for your export, one that boasts, in addition to a unique space for growth, one of the highest levels of mobile phone penetration in the world. You’ll find all the important information you need to know before exporting to Romania in our blog.
A country with one of the fastest growing markets in Europe
Romania is the largest country on the Balkan Peninsula and one of the largest in south-eastern Europe. The capital of the republic is Bucharest, and with a population of 19 million, Romania is the sixth most populous country in the European Union. Romania is not part of the Schengen Area or the Euro Area; payments in Romania are made in Romanian new leu or lei (1 euro = 4.93 Romanian lei – RON). The main export partners of Romania are Germany, Italy and France, and we can include Germany, Italy and Hungary among the major import partners.
Size of the e-commerce market
In terms of size, the Romanian e-commerce market is, compared to other countries in the world, ranked 47th, with annual revenues worth 5.68 billion euros. According to statistics from 2021, it is thus ahead of New Zealand and behind Singapore. Similarly as in the Czech Republic or Poland, Romania also recorded, due to the pandemic, a high year-on-year increase in the e-commerce market, specifically by 43%. At present, approximately 15 thousand e-shops are located here, and it is expected that this number will rise sharply in the coming years, not only thanks to the trends of digital transformation, but also to the development of online education and remote work.
The so-called Black Friday period is a strong time for shopping. Unlike other European countries, however, you can come across this event several times a year in Romania. The entire Romanian e-commerce market actually revolves around sales and bargains related to Black Friday, which usually starts a week before the American one and continues for most of the year. During this time sales multiply significantly and it is the largest commercial event in the country (even bigger than Christmas).
Growth in the past, growth in the future
Experts expect that global e-commerce sales will increase in the coming years. A year-on-year compound annual growth rate of 15% is estimated up to 2025, which likely makes it higher than the global average. Such a development, according to prognoses, could be supported by new markets and East Asia with lagging offline infrastructure.
In comparison with current growth (43%), there will therefore likely be a decrease in annual growth, which is a signal of a moderately flooded market. An indicator of growth potential, however, is the high value of penetration – 39% of the Romanian population bought at least one product online in 2021, and this number could increase to 59.8% by year 2025. MAn international comparison of online shares show that all e-commerce categories in Romania have the potential for greater online penetration.
The biggest players on the Romanian market
As in Slovenia, universal e-shops with nationally focused sales and a rich range of products from a variety of categories, the net sales of which are generated almost exclusively in Romania, took first positions on the Romanian market. Up to 95% of all orders are placed with national retailers. The clothing and fashion category dominate among the top five players, and this which is also the largest market segment, accounting for up to 46% of all e-commerce revenues in Romania.
- Altex.ro – main categories: furniture and appliances, electronics and media
- Dedeman.ro – toys and hobby
- Aboutyou.ro – clothing, fashion
- Epantofi.ro – clothing, fashion
- Hm.com – clothing, fashion
In individual categories, regional e-shops are for the most part in balance with global ones. We can see the popularity and universality of Romanian e-shops here, too; number on the market, Altex.ro, has a place in as many as four out of five individual categories.
- Clothing, fashion – Aboutyou.ro, Epantofi.ro, Hm.com, Zara.com, Elefant.ro
- Electronics and media – Altex.ro, Cel.ro, Elefant.ro, Evomag.ro, Flanco.ro
- Toys and hobby – Dedeman.ro, Hornbach.ro, Decathlon.ro, Altex.ro, Leroymerlin.ro
- Groceries and personal care – Drmax.ro, Notino.ro, Sephora.ro, Auchan.ro, Altex.ro
- Furniture and appliances – Altex.ro, Dedeman.ro, Ikea.com, Cel.ro, Carrefour.ro
Among the fastest growing Romanian e-shops is Esteelauder.ro, which achieved year-on-year sales growth of up to 406%. The nationally focused e-shops Alfadrink.ro and Specialdrinks.ro, which offer a wide assortment in which food products predominate, can also be considered leaders in growth. In regard to purchases from abroad, up to one-third of Romanians prefer to shop in Chinese shops, and e-shops from EU countries are also popular.
Romanian customers and their behaviour
More than 78% of the Romanian population use the Internet. Despite the fact that the majority of Romanians use their smartphone to access the Internet, more than half of all online orders are still made via laptops. Let’s take a look more specifically at the behaviour of typical online Romanian customers.
Technical proficiency, speed and reliability
The largest percentage of online buyers are so-called millennials and people between the ages of 25 and 35. These generations of customers are characterised by technical skills and an orientation on rapid and reliable services. For them, online shopping is more than just a preferred way of buying; it is a lifestyle associated with experience. Aside from online stores, they also like to shop via social media and apps.
Personal contact and building trust
A deeper and more personal form of contact should not be underestimated with Romanian customers. The ideal choice is to have a showroom where people can come in and see the products and possibly have them delivered directly to their home. You can also present a product or service in detail on a local website. What is important is to make customers feel that you are an established company with reliable customer support.
They prefer telephone contact
A great majority of Romanian customers prefer telephone contact. Therefore, offering customers a local phone number with Romanian-speaking support is recommended. As experts note this can be a challenge in terms of analytics, which is also a great opportunity for increasing sales conversions with quality customer support.
They don’t forget to do market research, especially when making larger purchases
Romanian customers, too, like to make sure that they’ve made the best choice on the market before placing an order. As many as 70% of buyers survey the market before ordering online, and writing and reading reviews is also popular among customers.
Online card payment is also becoming ever more popular in Romania. This was primarily ensured by the introduction of additional security measures in recent years, and the possibility of immediate refunds also increased trust in this type of payment. Digital wallets are also becoming ever more widespread, though we should keep in mind the still preferred method of payment in cash when picking up goods.
|Payment gateway||Price list of payment gateway services|
|Fondy||Prices for the payment gateway Fondy (universal for Europe)|
|GoPay||Prices for the payment gateway GoPay (universal for Europe)|
|PayPal||Prices for the payment gateway PayPal (universal for Europe)|
|Paysera||Prices for the payment gateway Paysera (universal for Europe)|
|PayU||Prices for the payment gateway PayU (universal for Europe)|
|Skrill||Prices for the payment gateway Skrill (Romania – after entering a filter)|
|Stripe||Prices for the payment gateway Stripe (Romania)|
|Tap2Pay||Prices for the payment gateway Tap2Pay (universal for Europe)|
Fan Courier Express is first among courier companies in Romania, with a turnover of 203 million euros and a net profit of 32.7 million euros. It is followed by Sameday, Cargus, DHL and GLS
The Romanian e-commerce market achieved revenues of nearly 3.1 billion euros in 2021. The selling of products on verified sites, such as price comparison portals, appears very trustworthy to Romanian customers. The platform Monitor Preţurilor, which informs consumers about food and even fuel prices, also operates in Romania.
6 comparators and inspiration search engines in Romania
- eMAG.ro – wide spectrum of products
- Compari.ro – wide spectrum of products
- Price.ro – wide spectrum of products
- Glami.ro – fashion and accessories
- Bonami.ro – wide spectrum of products
The legislation of e-commerce in Romania is based on EU regulations. Romanian law, however, imposes certain conditions that must be applied when running an e-shop.
- Each e-shop must create conditions that allow not only buying products, but also displaying the content of the website, which enables a customer to create and use an account and all other functions of the website.
- In B2C contracts, the seller must meet various informational obligations before the consumer is bound by a contract. This specific information must be displayed before a purchase is completed.
- The law sets certain requirements on what information about a product must be displayed before the customer makes a purchase. The scope of information may vary depending on the product category.
- According to Romanian law, all product information must (also) be provided in Romanian, so a Romanian translation should always be available if product information is in another language.
You can read more about the conditions for providing services and products online in Act No. 365/2002, § 2.
VAT in Romania
VAT in Romania is set generally at 20%, at 9% for food and medicine, and at 5% for books and magazines. As of last year, rules related to VAT for cross-border business-to-consumer (B2C) e-shop activities have been in place. Goods with a value of less than EUR 22 imported by companies outside the EU are subject to VAT. This also applies to goods sold by companies from the EU.
Consumer Protection Act
Since 18 August of last year, a law from the workshop of the National Authority for Consumer Protection has been in force which orders every e-shop in Romania to place two mandatory links on its website – ANPC and the platform SOL. The reason for this regulation is to simplify access to alternative dispute resolution procedures. Exceptions apply to the banking system and the non-banking financial system.
The number of Internet users is increasing each year. Romania registers 16.79 million People who use the Internet. Social networks are likewise ever reaching more of the population, with the number of users in Romania increasing by 1.3 million (10.8%) between 2021 and 2022. The reach of advertisements on individual social networks for 2022 is as follows:
- Facebook – 59.0%,
- Tik Tok – 37.9%,
- Instagram – 32.2%,
- LinkedIn – 19.1%.
Price comparators are not only for comparing prices. They can effectively acquire new clients and increase the turnover of the e-shop with a low return on investment.
The 6 biggest price comparison sites in Romania
- Compari – wide spectrum of products,
- Fruugo.ro – wide spectrum of products,
- Price.ro – wide spectrum of products,
- Biano.ro – furniture and decorative products,
- Glami.ro – fashion and accessories,
- Favi.ro – furniture and decorative products.
Online marketing channels
Email marketing (33.6%) and content marketing (31.4%) rank among the four most effective online marketing channels. The first two spots were occupied by Google Ads (57.3%) and Facebook Ads (55.5%). According to findings, Romanian companies invest more in activities focused on site optimisation (75%) and promotion on digital channels, including search engines (64%). Don’t forget search engine optimisation (SEO) either; up to 51% of website page traffic comes specifically from SEO implications and results.
Current trends on the market
You’ll acquire customers with various payment options
In addition to the predominating card payments, the BNPL (Buy now, pay later) option is also coming to the fore. The BNPL service is highly popular among Romanian customers. More than 55% of consumers expressed an interest in purchasing in instalments. E-shops that implemented this payment option increased their average order value by approximately 30 – 50%. Among the most well-known companies in Romania offering instalment payments is Klarna, and the company Mokka is on the rise.
Omnichannel is essential
Companies that use omnichannel retain an average of 89% more of their existing customers compared to companies that do not include omnichannel in their marketing strategy. With the proper connecting of several channels, you’ll achieve fast communication with customers, and compared to an offline environment, an omnichannel solution is less expensive.
Live Shopping on the rise
Live shopping campaigns from industries such as technology, beauty, pharmacy, fashion and publishing from November 2020 recorded more than 150,000 minutes in the first two weeks. This method of shopping enables generation of a conversion rate five-times higher than a traditional store. Live shopping has great potential, though compared to the Chinese market, Europe still has a lot of catching up to do.
Artificial intelligence is increasingly a part of e-commerce
For higher quality and faster work, artificial intelligence is ever more entering into logistics. The combination of autonomous robots with appropriate software can improve supply chain efficiency. Romania is still in the testing phase of working with AI, so they use robots for simpler tasks, such as cleaning warehouses.
AI also includes digital assistants. The company Profi Rom Food invested in a robot by the name of Ana, which is in charge of HR, i.e. communication with employees via SMS, voice call and video call. Ana should be better at analysing the needs and feedback of employees.
Romania is following the example of more developed countries. Some segments are still lagging behind other countries, which can mean a favourable expansion opportunity for your business. If you are interested in expanding your business to this country, please, contact us. We will propose solutions for the best possible start in this country.