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Poland fastest-growing e-commerce market in EU: report

5th February 2013
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Poland is the fastest growing e-commerce market in the EU, according to a report by the Centre for Retail Research.

As recently as 2011, Poland was second-to-last in terms of percentage of retail business done online in a ranking with 13 other European countries. The UK topped that list, while only Italy had a smaller percentage of retail trade than Poland. According to lobby organization Ecommerce Europe, Poland's online sales grew between 25 and 30 percent year-on-year in 2012.

Allegro, Poland's largest auction site, has more than 12.5 million users who in 2012 did business with each other to the tune of some z.10 billion. To put that in perspective, total e-commerce sales in Poland came to z.23.7 billion. Outside of Allegro, the rise in sales was some z.2 billion.

Wojciech Czernecki, head of the Nokaut Group, an online price-comparison portal, told Rzeczpospolita that the growth of the online retail business is the result of consumers' wallets getting thinner. “During an economic slowdown, consumers are more willing to look for cheaper prices, that’s why the whole sector looks like it will grow strongly.”

Continuously rising internet access is another key driver behind the growth of e-commerce in Poland. Based on a study by the Boston Consulting Group, 67 percent of Polish households had access to the internet in 2011, and this number is expected to increase to 75 percent by the end of 2015.

Because of the rapid growth, companies such as France-based supermarket chain Carrefour and UK-based competitor Tesco have recently introduced features that allow Polish consumers to buy products online and pick them up at drive-in locations. And Polish online grocery stores such as have enjoyed popularity for some time.

US e-commerce giant Amazon recently made waves in the Polish market with its purchase in January of Polish IT company Ivona Software, a maker of text-to-speech software. For years there have been reports in Polish media that Amazon is considering opening a Polish version of its service.

Daniel Schmuck

From Warsaw Business Journal

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