GPeC: Romanian e-commerce surpassed €1.4BN in 2015

Business, e-Commerce, Marketing, Studies

According to the main Romanian e-commerce players estimations as well as the estimations of the Romanian e-commerce market authority GPeCthe total value of Romanian online retail has grown from €1.1BN in 2014 to over €1.4BN in 2015. In the same time, there are companies that consider the value is closer to €1.5BN.

The figure reflects only physical goods purchased online (disregarding their nature) and excludes services, utilities paid online, plane tickets, hotel or holiday reservations, travel, event tickets etc.

GPeC is for 11 years the most important e-commerce event in Romania and the biggest Romanian online shops community. GPeC gathers the Romanian e-commerce market information yearly and publishes the official Romanian e-commerce market report (the main facts and figures for 2015 and an infographic relaying the same info in an easy-to-read manner, designed by silkmart).

The latest market statistics show that Romania has a total number of approximately 19.8M inhabitants out of which 13M are aged 16 to 55 years old, and 11M are internet users. Therefore, the Romanian internet penetration rate has grown from 49.76% at the end of 2014 to approximately 56% at the end of 2015. 

Out of the 11M Internet users, 6.7M have shopped online at least once until the present moment. Most of the Romanian online shoppers prefer desktop devices instead of mobile devices when they are doing online shopping, but mobile has grown dramatically in 2015. This is also one of the trends that GPeC and the key market players except to continue in 2016: mobile shopping rise. If we look at the last months of 2015, over 50% of the key online shops traffic has been generated by mobile devices. 

1.4M Romanian online shoppers used a mobile device to complete a purchase, and approximately 850.000 used a mobile shopping app to complete a purchase. Presently, the mobile penetration rate in Romania is over 100%, more SIMs being active than the total number of country inhabitants.

The smartphone penetration rate has known an exponential growth during the last 4 years in Romania. If in 2012 there were approximately 2.5M smartphones, presently this number exceeds 10M, the smartphone penetration rate being above 50%. 

An online shopper makes an average of 8.2 online purchases per year – a slight increase compared to 2014 when the average was 8.1 and to 2013 when the average was 7.9 purchases/year made online. On the other hand, Romanian online shoppers still prefer to pay cash on delivery – a huge percentage of online shopping payments, approximately 90%, are done cash on delivery in Romania. Although slightly growing, online card payments account for only 6-7%while 3-4% are done through other payment methods like online banking, micro-payments via SMS etc.

According to Visa officials, the number of online payments through Visa cards for online shops has grown 20-25% in 2015 comparing to 2014. The Visa figures also show that Romanian people spend more money in online foreign shops than in Romanian online shops, the average order value being €58 EUR for foreign shops and €40 for Romanian online shops. 

The total number of Romanian online shops active on the market remained constant in 2015: approximately 5,000. According to GPeC research, there are over 20,000 websites on .ro domains that have “add to cart” functionality. However, only 5,000 of these websites generate significant traffic and orders.

GPeC and key market players estimate that out of the 5,000 active Romanian online shops, circa 200 are big and medium businesses, exceeding €1M in terms of annual turnover.

Out of the total 5,000 online shops, 1,374 online shops are enrolled in 3D Secure, a significant raise from the total 1,173 shops at the end of 2014.

In Romania there are approximately 14.5 million cards enrolled in the 3D Secure system, but only 1,32M are active in the system, actively used in online shopping.

As far as online card payments are concerned, the total volume registered in 2015 is by far exceeding the 2014 results: 514M generated by online card payments in 2015 (e-tail, services, travel, utilities online payments), compared to €337M in 2014. Out of the €514M, RomCard generated a volume of €394M, and the online payment processor mobilPay generated a volume of approximately €120M  both companies generated significant growth in 2015 compared to 2014.

Apart from the preferred payment method, the main categories of goods purchased in 2015 have been, in this order: Electro-IT (PC, computer parts, notebooks, tablets, mobile phones, electronics, electrical appliances etc.), Fashion & Beauty(clothes, shoes, accessories, cosmetics, perfumes, watches etc.), Home & Deco, Kids & Toys (kids clothes, accessories etc.).

From the average basket value point of view, the Electro IT category registered a decrease in 2015 compared to 2014, from RON800 (RON – Romanian Leu) in 2014 to RON680 in 2015, but the number of transactions has grown. The kids products are constant in 2014 and 2015, the average order value being approximately RON210.

Increase in the average basket value was registered for the Fashion category  (from RON160 in 2014 to RON180 in 2015), as well as for the Home & Deco category (from RON180 in 2014 to RON220 in 2015), Romanian people spending more for these categories.

Only on Black Friday 2015, products worth in total circa €100M were sold, a considerable growth compared to Black Friday 2014, when total sold products’ value was of €75M.

Without any particular reason, statistics from the main e-commerce players as well as affiliate network show that Romanian people buy online most on Wednesdays and Thursdays of every week.

The main e-commerce services Romanian people are looking for in online shops are, in this order: free delivery, discounts and promotional campaigns, free returns (even though the current national laws leave the cost of the return to the shopper), and fast delivery.

The Romanian e-commerce market continues to grow year over year and the figures published in this report prove this. I don’t think I exaggerate when I say that the Romanian e-commerce industry is one of the few industries that continue to grow after ’89

Andrei Radu,

CEO & Founder GPeC.

As far as the online shopping trends and consumer expectations are concerned, Andrei Radu adds:

We live in the century of speed, so the client wants  everything to happen fast, today, yesterday even. Online shops and courier companies need to get ready to answer these demands.

There is another important shift on the market: until recently the price was the important factor influencing the buying decision, but now the smaller price is not the only factor – Romanian people start paying attention to the quality of service and post-acquisition services, time of delivery and time of response and the price is no longer the main factor. The quality of service becomes the most important differentiation in Romanian e-commerce. 

Last but not least, online shops need to keep up with technology and I am referring especially to mobile optimization of online shops. Mobile commerce is no longer the future but the present and online shops need to understand this trend once and for all.

The information sources in GPeC‘s report are (in alphabetical order): 2Parale, Breeze Mobile, eMAG, GPeC,  Internet World Stats, Millward Brown, mobilPay, RomCard,Visa.

GPeC is the most important E-commerce event in Romania, the only online event to take place for 8 months every year. With an 11-year tradition, GPeC is the perfect mix of Conferences, Workshops, Expo, Intensive E-Commerce Trainings and, above all, the GPeC Online Shops Competition, whose contribution to the e-commerce market development is recognised by all leading players. Registrations for GPeC online shops competition 2016 will start in March 2016, while GPeC Summit Spring Edition is scheduled to take place in May  (3 days of Conference, Workshops, Expo). GPeC 2016 is an event powered by FAN Courier – the leader of the Romanian courier services market.