Eastern Europeans increasingly realize the benefits and convenience of internet retail and more often go for shopping online. In turn increasing number of companies choose omnichannel operations and go further improving the service opportunities: cutting the delivery time, adding more convenient delivery options, payment methods, and other innovative services.
From year-to-year, shopping online from abroad is gaining popularity as consumers gain trust and see more benefits from having more choice or better prices than in domestic online shops. In Russia, for instance, cross-border internet retailing is already estimated to exceed 35%. However, in some Eastern European markets, cross-border still possess a low share of total online purchases. Poland is one example, where only around 10% of online shoppers purchase from abroad. In Romania the percentage is even lower. China, as a source market, plays a huge role for cross-border purchases.
An increasing number of retailers realise that in order to stay competitive it is necessary not just to have a website and be active on social media, but to provide consumers with an opportunity to shop where and when they want. Consequently, companies are increasingly choosing an omnichannel business model.
Marketplaces with third-party merchants play an important role in the internet competitive environment. Allegro, AliExpress, and eBay marketplaces hold leading positions in Eastern Europe, accounting for 14% of total internet sales in 2017. The model is gaining popularity by building a customer base and attracting more third-party merchants, leading to growing product variety, intensified competition, and lower prices.
Consumers increasingly switch from personal computers to smartphones in their daily lives. Together with companies’ growing investments into creation of apps, this will result in the continuous growth of mobile internet retail, which will gain popularity and share from total internet retailing.
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