UPDATED IN MAY 2023
Romania has the fastest-growing economy in Central and Eastern Europe in e-commerce. With over EUR 7 billion in 2020 and 2021, Romania’s E-commerce is developing well in 2022 as well.
E-commerce in Romania in 2022
The Romanian e-commerce market reached the threshold of EUR 6.3 billion at the end of 2022, slightly higher than the value recorded in 2021 (EUR 6.2 billion), according to the estimates of GPeC, ARMO and other local main stakeholders.
The e-commerce business is one of the industries in Romania that is expanding the fastest and has seen development even in the face of the pandemic.
The e-commerce market in Romania grew by 13–15% in 2022 instead of 10% in 2021, resulting in a more extensive consumer base.
E-commerce demonstrated that it had become even more deeply ingrained in the economy and society during the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic, when it was, for many people, the primary source of supplies, with a 13% growth in Europe in 2021 to EUR 718 billion.
Romania’s e-commerce market has grown yearly, and the industry insiders’ optimism is sincere. From this angle, the outbreak was advantageous, and the evolution is expected to continue at its current pace.
This region is the largest, with 63% of Western Europe’s total B2C e-commerce sales in 2021. With 16% of total sales, Southern Europe comes in second, Central and Northern Europe (10% and 9%, respectively), and Eastern Europe (2%) comes in last.
Companies are becoming more competitive in the Romanian e-commerce market. However, as e-commerce advances, many businesses expand their market presence by gaining new contracts and tapping into new markets.
Why is the e-commerce sector favourable in Romania?
There are several reasons why Romania is favourable for e-commerce, and a significant evolution can be observed in recent years, but here are some examples:
- The government is undertaking several tactical efforts to improve Romania’s digital economy. For instance, the National Investment and Economic Recovery Plan for Romania, which would cover the years from 2021 to 2030, was introduced by the Romanian government in 2020. Implementing the electronic identity card, transferring public services to a government cloud, and other similar initiatives are all part of this strategy.
- Numerous market participants in the digital industries are eager to increase their presence in Romania as the country adopts digitalization.
- During the epidemic, most Romanians found solace in internet shopping and e-payments, which gave millions of people access to online retailers for the first time.
- A growing number of people in Romania utilize social media websites and apps, demonstrating the critical role that social media plays in e-commerce. Additionally, many social media networks are creating e-commerce websites.
So far, the specialists are saying that sales in Romania increased by 11% compared to 2020, and for 2022 the sector is estimated to grow by 13%, up to 7 billion euros, but the predictions for 2023 are divided.
E-commerce in Romania in 2021
The e-commerce market in Romania has tremendous potential. The optimism of the specialists working in the industry is genuine, and the e-commerce market in Romania has grown yearly.
According to official online payment data, for 2021, there is a significant increase in the use of card payments and the number of online transactions. Adopting enhanced security features, such as the “immediate money back” return option, has boosted trust in the secure payment mechanism.
Also, teleworking and online education have expanded the use of Internet-mediated communication technologies. As a result, Internet service penetration grew, generating a 33% rise in traffic from connected PCs and a 12% increase in traffic from mobile equipment.
With the new VAT restrictions, which apply to online items bought outside of the EU, it is permissible to purchase online outside of the EU. The new VAT regulations are applied to cross-border online purchases with a reported value of up to 10 euros. As a result, the new legislation makes online shopping in China more expensive.
According to research done for GPeC by iSense Solutions, over one-third of Romanians prefer to shop online from retailers in China (27%), EU member states (23%), and the United States. Furthermore, AliExpress is the second most popular overseas platform among Romanians behind Amazon.
As we can see, the majority of revenue is produced in China. It is expected that China will have until the end of the year a market volume of $1,542,551 million, with fashion being the market’s largest sector.
Top e-commerce websites in Romania
emag.ro remains in the top of Romanians’ preferences – is the most frequented E-commerce and Shopping website in Romania, followed by olx.ro in second place and compari.ro in third place as the leaders of the E-commerce and Shopping websites in Romania.
The eCommerce market is predicted to earn $3,208 million in revenue in 2021, with a CAGR of 9.20 percent (2021-2025), culminating in a market volume of $4,562 million by 2025.
The majority of income is produced in China, with a forecast market volume of US$1,485,088m in 2021.
At the end of the year, user penetration will be 48.1%, rising to 56.7% by 2025 and the average revenue per user (ARPU) is predicted to be $631.46.
The number of consumers in the eCommerce sector is estimated to reach 10.6 million by 2025.
In the following years, we’ll certainly witness e-commerce in Romania becoming a 10 Billion EUR market.
E-commerce in Romania 2020
According to statistics, the Romanian e-commerce sector reached €7 billion in 2020, an increase of 36% over the previous year.
Romania has one of the biggest e-commerce markets in Southeastern Europe.
In 2020, Romania remained a country that registered some of the best developments regarding the e-commerce market.
The breakthrough comes in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, e-commerce has kept the Romanian economy open and moving throughout the pandemic.
Many Romanian companies, but also many Romanian entrepreneurs who relied exclusively on a physical presence, realized the advantages of the online sector, so they shifted to e-commerce this year.
The penetration rate of online card payment has increased by 50%, reaching 36% in 2020, with a maximum reported by some merchants of over 50%.
The market’s largest segment is Fashion, with a projected market volume of $943 million in 2020. Electronics, toys, furniture, and food & personal care account for the other major industries.
These figures are also the result of factors such as the fact that many buyers make an online payment for the first time online; even one of the top local banks announced that in the first months of the pandemic, over 300,000 Romanians paid online for the first time. The one-click payment facility makes the customer experience extremely simple, secure, and fast, as confirmed by the 117% annual increase in transactions paid with this option, accounting for 38% of total payments with cards made in 2020.
E-commerce in Romania 2019
According to the ARMO (Romanian Association of Online Stores), the Romanian e-commerce market reached 4.3 billion euros at the end of 2019, 20-22% more than in 2018 when the value of online commerce was estimated at approx. 3.6 billion euros.
The 2019 vs. 2018 growth rate was lower than 2018 vs. 2017, when the growth rate from one year to another was approx—30%.
So, if we calculate an average, Romanians spent around 12 million euros every day last year, rising from 9,86 million euros (the daily average recorded in 2018). More than that, the value of over a 43billion euros refers to all transactions generated in Romania to local traders and international online stores.
4.3 billion euros refers strictly to the e-tail segment, the tangible products purchased online. Services, air tickets, holidays and trips, hotel reservations, tickets to shows or various events, payment of utility bills, downloadable content, etc., are not included.
Black Friday 2019: Online Sales of over 283 million Euros
Romanians made online purchases worth 253 million Euros. According to the specialists’ estimates, online commerce will continue to grow in 2020, most likely exceeding the threshold of 5 billion euros by the end of this year.
Black Friday 2019 brought two more awards for online commerce in Romania: over 42% of orders were paid online by card, an increase of 34% over last year, and the traffic generated exceeded 10 million visits, with almost 1 million more than in 2018. Also, over 76% of site visits were made from mobile devices. Another novelty was the availability of 250 Easybox lockers for deliveries and the classic solutions: showrooms and couriers.
Here is another series of Black Friday 2019 data on online payments:
– 499,632 transactions were generated in the PayU Romania system, increasing by 33% compared to last year. Also, 80% of the total amount collected was registered on Friday.
– the Top 3 countries by the number of online payments registered in the PayU platform is Great Britain – 6.8%, Hungary – 3.7%, USA – 0.5%.
– around 10% of the total online payments of Black Friday 2019 were made with cards issued in another country (increasing by 71%).
Also, 56,000 customers ordered for the first time from eMAG, being attracted by the store’s offers.
Here’s what eMAG customers ordered for Black Friday 2019:
- 147,000 household products;
- 100,000 small appliances;
- 79,000 personal care products;
- 67,000 fashion items;
- 49,000 toys;
- 48,000 phones;
- 24,000 laptops;
- 14,000 refrigerators.
E-commerce in Romania 2018
According to the statistics offered by the main players of the Romanian e-commerce market, the value of online shopping exceeded 3.5 billion Euros in 2018, with approx. 30% more than in 2017 when it reached 2,8 billion Euros. Also, the 2019 figures already show the e-commerce industry in Romania will exceed 4.5 billion Euros.
It is worth mentioning that these 3.5 billion Euros represent just the segment of e-commerce – the tangible products that were bought over the Internet. It doesn’t include services, air tickets, holidays and travels, hotel bookings, so if they were added, the total value of online purchases would increase considerably.
E-commerce in Romania holds an 8% share of the total retail market
E-commerce in Romania holds an 8% share of the total retail market. The entire retail market from Romania is estimated at 45 billion Euros, meaning the e-commerce market represents approx. 8% of total retail, rising significantly from 5.6% in 2017 and approx. 4% in 2016.
The Romanian figures for e-commerce are a little lower than the percentage of other developed countries. However, it shows the huge potential for growth of the Romanian e-commerce market in the next few years.
80% of online shopping in Romania is generated by mobile phone
80% of online shopping is generated by mobile phones. Romanians often use their mobile phones to browse the Internet, and approx. 80% of the traffic is recorded from mobile devices. According to the last report of the Romanian National Institute of Statistics, 86% of internet users connect online from their mobile phones; other statistics show that the number of broadband mobile connections has increased considerably from 16.6 million in 2017 to 19,3 million in 2018. It is enormous, considering Romania’s population barely exceeds 19 million.
Nevertheless, the conversion rate on mobile devices is still half of the conversion rate recorded on desktops for most online stores. Romanians prefer using their mobile phones to search for product information, but they complete online transactions using a computer.
Mistrust and transport taxes – the main impediments to online shopping
The main reasons put forward by those who didn’t buy online are:
- The mistrust that the products presented on the online store websites correspond precisely to the reality: 65% in 2018 compared to 68% in 2017.
- Failure to see and test the products: 58% in 2018 compared to 53%in 2017.
- The distrust/ the fear of not being cheated: 46% in 2018 compared to 51% in 2017.
- Payment of shipping charges in addition to the product price: 33% in 2018 compared to 30% in 2017.
The most important arguments that would convince non-buyers to take a step towards online purchases are:
- Product prices are lower than in classic stores: 65% in 2018 vs. 54% in 2017;
- Delivering products as fast as possible: 38% in 2018 vs. 27% in 2017;
- 38% of all online buyers have become more impatient in 2018 than in 2017, wanting shorter delivery times; ideally the same day they placed the order.
Also, are not only quick deliveries desired by customers but also quick answers from the online stores’ representatives to different consumer issues or questions. Thus, the customers expect an answer from online stores in real-time – 23%, in minutes – 20%, in a few hours – 16%, on the same day – 31%, and anytime – 4%. So, most online buyers want feedback on the same day they ask the question or raise a particular issue.
What are the main advantages of e-commerce compared to classic shops?
Those who choose to buy from the Internet to the detriment of classic stores identify as the main advantages of e-commerce:
- e-commerce is time-saving;
- there are much more products online than offline;
- the prices are lower than in traditional trade;
- the convenience of online shopping.
Black Friday – November 2018
Online sales of over 250 million euros
In the Black Friday campaign of 2018, Romanians made online purchases of over 250 million euros. Black Friday sales have increased significantly from one year to the next if we relate to the past year’s values, respectively 130 million euros in 2016 and 100 million euros in 2015. It demonstrates that the notoriety of the largest discount event in Romania has risen considerably over the last couple of years.
According to eMAG studies, the biggest e-commerce platform in Romania, consumers’ buying intention during Black Friday increased from 44% in 2017 to 51% in 2018, and the national notoriety of the event increased from 79% in 2017 to 88% in 2018.
15.000 online merchants in Romania
The number of online stores has doubled from approx. 7.000 online stores in 2017 to 15.000 traders in 2018. The growth is spectacular if we consider that in 2016 there were approx—5000 online stores.
Many online merchants start their business directly in the Marketplace without necessarily having an individual online presence (a website).
83% of Romanians choose to pay cash on delivery
The preferred method of payment for Romanians remains cash on delivery. According to NETOPIA Payments, the average percentage of online card payments is around 15%. The difference of 2 percentage points to 100% is given by other payment methods, such as online banking, payment via SMS, and so on.
This is a sign that the Romanian e-commerce market has a huge potential to grow and people prefer it to the traditional methods.