The growth and trends of B2C e-commerce in Eastern Europe has caught the eye of global investors, a new report by Hamburg-based business intelligence organization yStats.com said.
Yucel Yelken, the CEO of yStats.com, refers to the Eastern Europe region as “one of the most dynamic in growth of online retail sales.” Eastern Europe accounted for a small one-digit share of the global B2C e-commerce sales last year, dwarfed by the large double-digit shares of North America, Asia-Pacific and Western Europe. However, in terms of growth year over year, some of the nations of the region are among the global leaders.
The leading emerging markets in the Eastern Europe region in terms of market size are Russia, Turkey, and Poland. Russia and Turkey also scored high in year to year growth of B2C e-commerce in 2013, but were outpaced by close to 50 percent growth in Ukraine. Some smaller markets, such as Estonia and Slovakia generate significantly smaller sales of a few hundred millions of Euros, but outperform the rest of the region in terms of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure metrics, such as Internet penetration.
Among the important trends spreading throughout the Eastern European region is the development of mobile shopping. M-Commerce is driven by growing smartphone and mobile Internet penetration. In countries such as Ukraine and Turkey over 40 percent of smartphone owners already have experience with mobile shopping.
Another important movement is cross-border B2C e-commerce. For example, in Slovenia and the Czech Republic close to half of all online shoppers made purchases from foreign online stores in 2013. Regulation of online retail sales is also a trend; the past two years were marked with adoption of important new rules affecting e-commerce in several Eastern European countries including Russia and Belarus.
One of the findings of the yStats researchers is that annual growth of e-commerce sales in Eastern Europe outpaced Western Europe by 13 percentage points in 2012. A double digit growth rate above 20 percent in Eastern Europe is expected for 2013, though this growth rate will decrease by 2017. Total e-commerce sales for the Eastern region are expected to reach over 50 billion Euros by 2016. (GK)