E-commerce export magazine – Slovenia20.12.2022
With high growth potential and low competition, the Slovenian e-commerce market is primarily dominated by local e-shops with dozens of products in various categories. Get an overview of all the important information you should know before you decide to export to Slovenia.
Crossroads of European cultural and trade routes
A small country in terms of area with a rich developed ecosystem, opportunities and demand Slovenia, which some call the “little Scandinavia,” is located on the border between Central and Southern Europe; it borders four countries and is found at the imaginary crossroads of the main European trade and cultural routes.
Slovenia is a smaller country with a population of approximately 2.1 million inhabitants. The capital city of Ljubljana is often labelled as the greenest capital city in Europe, and the country as a whole ranks near the top of the rankings of the most sustainable countries in the world, which also tells us a lot about the mentality of the inhabitants. Slovenia is part of the European Union, the Schengen Area and the Euro Area. Its currency is the euro.
Size of the e-commerce market
In Slovenia, we find the 77th largest e-commerce market in the world, with sales of 640 million euros in 2021. As in other countries, the pandemic in particular brought Slovenia enormous opportunities for the development and growth of e-commerce.
The restrictions left customers with no option but to adapt to online shopping from home. With the arrival of the coronavirus, 81% of businesses with more than ten employees had their own website, and these websites had to be quickly adapted and improved due to the high demand for products. A large majority of them are already optimised for mobile devices and tablets, and in total there are around three thousand e-shops in Slovenia today.
Growth in the past, growth in the future
The year-on-year increase between 2020 and 2021 was 16%, and further growth is expected in the future, though due to the end of the pandemic measures it will probably be somewhat lower – estimates tell of a global average of 6% per year. The anticipated decrease in year-on-year growth signals a moderately flooded market.
Nevertheless, the Slovenian market has great growth potential, which is also proven by the value of online penetration: up to 48% of the Slovenian population bought at least one product online in 2021. The country’s economy is constantly growing and offers citizens a high standard of living, bringing Slovenia closer to Austria than to the nearby Balkan countries.
The biggest players on the Slovenian market
While international e-shops from the categories of electronics and media (for example in Hungary and the Czech Republic) or furniture and appliances (in the case of Slovakia) made it to the top five biggest players in our previous export magazines, in Slovenia online shops with nationally focused sales and whose sales are generated almost exclusively in the home country are the winners. All the e-shops in the TOP 5 ranking are well-rounded online stores with a wide range of products in various categories, the primary ones being most often toys and hobbies.
- Mimovrste.com – main category: toys, hobby, clothing, fashion
- Merkur.si – toys and hobby
- Bullionbypost.eu – toys and hobby
- Mercator.si – food and personal care items
- Bigbang.sk – electronics and media
The first three e-shops in the ranking comprise 20% of online sales in Slovenia. In the individual categories, we also come across internationally known electronic stores, but even here, nationally orientated e-shops, which repeatedly appear in several categories, prevail. The largest segment is clothing and fashion (where 28% of e-commerce revenue is generated), followed by toys and hobbies (25%) and electronics and media (23%).
- Clothing, fashion – Mimovrste.com, Hm.com, Aboutyou.si, Zalando.si
- Electronics and media – Bigbang.si, Mimovrste.com, Electronic4you.si, Bookdepository.com, Enaa.com
- Toys and hobby – Bullionbypost.eu, Merkur.si, Mimovrste.com, Zoohit.si, Intersport.si
- Food and personal care items – Mercator.si, Lekarnar.com, Notino.si, Sanolabor.si, Moja-lekarna.com
- Furniture and appliances – Mimovrste.com, Merkur.si, Xxxlesnina.si, Emundia.si, Moemax.si
One of the fastest growing e-shops more recently is Bauhaus.si, with year-on-year growth of 158%, but among the growth champions, we cannot forget to mention the cosmetics store DM.si and the jewellery store Pandorashop.si.
How do Slovenian customers behave?
According to statistics, up to 90% of Slovenians aged 10 to 74 have broadband access to the Internet. They most often purchase through mobile devices, though the locality of the store and the sustainability of the brand are key for them.
Slovenians prefer local e-shops with a wide offer
As evidenced by the ranking of the five largest players on the market, Slovenians when shopping prefer nationally focused stores with a wide range of products. Up to 87% of all online purchases per year are carried out at domestic sellers, followed by purchases in e-shops of member states of the European Union (most often from Germany, Austria and Italy). Among non-European purchases, China and the USA predominate.
Smart shopping with a Western mentality
The shopping mentality of Slovenians is close to that of Western countries. Although price is an important factor in purchasing, it is not primary for Slovenians. Slovenian customers are determined and focused, and the browsing and comparing phase is important to them. The overall customer experience is an ever important factor when deciding for a specific e-shop, so follow-up customer care should not be underestimated. Slovenians love smart shopping; so, you will impress them with quality products at a reasonable price and delivery within two days. On the whole, practicality is key for shoppers. Proof, for example, is the fact that the most popular type of shoes is practical hiking shoes.
Responsibility towards the planet
Slovenians love nature and environmental responsibility is for them important even when shopping online. Few things interest them more than an authentic brand with the right approach towards sustainability and an interesting mission. Ecological packaging, the use of recycled materials and sustainable transport are also key for Slovenians when shopping online.
Rural and urban living are in balance
Unlike other European countries, there is still an even population distribution in Slovenia – 55.3% of the people live in cities and 44.7% in rural areas. This interesting and unusual fact can help e-shops, for example, when choosing a PPC strategy or logistics.
Android predominates over the iOS operating system
While in other countries the base of fans of the Apple brand is still expanding, in Slovenia the number of users of such devices is relatively stable and even slightly decreasing. Slovenians do not use devices with the Apple logo very often (17.2%), and web traffic is most often recorded from Android devices.
Possibility of the highest prices in the region
Did you know that Slovenia is the richest country in the Balkans? The higher prices in electronic stores correspond to this fact. As we have already mentioned, consumer behaviour is influenced by Western Europe; Slovenians are aware and demanding customers who are willing to pay extra for quality. As purchasing power increases, spending also increases in several sectors, such as recreation.
Slovenians have their own specifics and these differentiate them from customers in other Central and Western European countries, even when paying for online products. Customers here like to pay with prepaid cards (such as MINT), and up to 63% of transactions are performed in this way.
Mobile payments (17% of all online payments), credit cards (10%) and electronic wallets (9%) are becoming more and more popular. Cash on delivery, bank transfers and cash payments account for less than 1%.
|Payment gateway||Price list of payment gateway services|
Slovenia has an excellent geographical location and transport infrastructure and is also a part of the Schengen Area. The crossroads of four large countries between East and West – the main pan-European corridors V and X – passes through the country. This is why Slovenia is an important point on the logistics map of Europe. It also has a highly skilled workforce, advanced IT systems and a well-developed road infrastructure – more than 700 km of interconnected motorways and 1,000 km of main road.
In 2021, approximately 35.7 million packages, express packages and parcels were delivered on the courier market in Slovenia. Slovenians choose carriers based on flexibility, the possibility of choosing the time and date of delivery, or whether the carrier offers next-day delivery.
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|Price list Slovenia post service|
Compared with other countries, Slovenia does not have a sufficiently developed service of Out of home – Pickup points and parcel lockers.
The companies Fully, Interlogis and Spica are available to cover fulfilment services in Slovenia.
Similar to other EU countries, rules for online services are set in Slovenia by EU Directive – Directive 2000/31/EC. You’ll find important information about legislation in Slovenia in the following documents:
- Summary Directive (Directive 2019/2161) on amendments to consumer legislation,
- Directive 2019/771 on certain aspects of contracts for the sale of goods,
- Directive 2019/770 on certain aspects of contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services.
TIP: E-shops registered in Slovenia should provide consumers and B2B customers with a high-quality translation in the Slovenian language. Websites as well as product descriptions translated into Slovenian instil credibility among customers.
VAT in Slovenia
For Slovenia a standard rate of VAT applies – 22%. The following items have a reduced VAT – 9.5%: food, plants, water supplies, medicines, medical equipment, entry fees, some works of art, some housing, public hygiene services, home care, hairdressing services and flower delivery.
Books are subject to a 5% rate. No specific licence or permit requirements are required from e-shops except for certain products or services (for example an online pharmacy).
Cookies should meet the requirements for expressing consent in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union. When requesting GDPR consent, you must provide consent on the website in most cases by ticking the appropriate box. When designing a marketing opt-in, certain standards should be met – consent should be in the form of a free, specific, informed and unambiguous statement.
As of 1 July provisions for end consumers apply. For goods not exceeding the amount of 150 euros and purchased outside the EU, the consumer does not have to pay any additional customs fees. However, the seller must register in the new VEM system and the VAT registration and payment system.
In 2021 Slovenia had 2.08 million inhabitants, 1.61 million of whom are active on social networks. Revenues on the e-commerce market are expected to reach 1.11 million euros in 2022.
The reach of advertisements within the total population of individual social networks at the start of 2022 was as follows:
- YouTube – 77.5%,
- Facebook – 45.5%,
- Instagram – 32.7%,
- LinkedIn – 19.2%.
Compared with other social networks, ads on LinkedIn are directed almost exclusively at B2B audiences.
Slovenians like to carefully compare the offers of a specific product, so they reach for price comparators. In Slovenia, the portal Ceneje.si is in first place. Shoppers have access to approximately 1.5 million active daily deals from nearly 700 online merchants and can choose from more than 1 million products in many categories.
TIP: Slovenians are relatively sensitive to prices. They like to shop most during the Black Friday campaign, so it is advisable to take advantage of various discount events. You can read how to get the most out of your campaigns in our blog.
The 5 largest price comparison sites in Slovenia
- Ceneje.si – wide spectrum of products
- Pametno.si – wide spectrum of products
- Mimovrste.si – wide spectrum of products
- Nasasuperhrana.si – food and other consumer products
- Prihrani.si – food and other consumer products
Online marketing channels
In Slovenia, banner ads reign supreme – spending rose to 51.21 million euros. For this market video ads, classifieds and search ads are particularly popular. Social networks, especially Facebook, are also rather popular. For 2022, expenditures on advertising on social networks has reached 67.75 million euros and will continue to grow.
Slovenians prefer local and renowned products over foreign or unknown brands. Therefore they need e-shops to be well-tuned and translated into the Slovenian language. With search engine optimization (SEO), pay attention to a thorough analysis of keywords and register your website on a Slovenian domain. This will allow you to index the e-shop in Slovenian search engines and generate free organic traffic.
Current market trends
AI – artificial intelligence
There are several forms of AI. Among the most typical are chatbots, product recommendations, or e-commerce personalisation and inventory management. Even voice assistants have future potential. By 2022 their use should reach 55%. In 2019, chatbot creation tools recorded a 132 % growth index.
B2B e-commerce is still “in its infancy” in Slovenia. Most businesses work with out of date systems and online channels. The provision of services/goods to the B2B segment can be a great advantage for you. Modern B2B customers will appreciate modern payment methods and additional options – the possibility of invoicing in advance, checking past orders or simple distribution of offer catalogs.
Shopping on social networks
Shopping online saves money and time according to Slovenian customers. The number of shoppers buying via smartphones rose to 70% in 2021. Influencers and social networks have a great share in selecting an e-shop where Slovenian consumers will shop. Up to 72% choose an e-shop based on these two factors.
When shopping online, the more channels, the greater the opportunity to contact customers. An omnichannel solution goes together with social networks; therefore, we recommend using this approach to reach the largest possible audience.
Various payment options
Slovenians in the past liked cash on delivery, but the younger generation chooses to pay by card in advance, and the globally used payment gateway PayPal is the number one choice for Slovenians.
The Google Play and Apple Pay systems also offer more and more merchants that allow payment with some central cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. By offering different payment methods, you can significantly help customers decide on buying your product.
There is no need to hesitate to export to Slovenia. We will help you design the ideal strategy for successful expansion. Our consultants are at your disposal.