According to ARMO (Association of Romanian Online Stores) estimates, the e-commerce sector exceeded the 5.6 billion euro threshold at the end of 2020, 30% more than in 2019 when the value of e-commerce was estimated at 4.3 billion euro. The increase was approx. 500 million euros over the initial forecasts, amid the COVID-19 pandemic which accelerated the online shopping rhythm, as well as the percentage of online card payments.
The value of over 5.6 billion euro refers to all the transactions generated in Romania by both the local merchants and foreign online shops and it represents the e-tail segment only, that means only tangible products that were bought online. It does not include services, utility bills, digital content or plane tickets, vacations & travel, hotel reservations, show tickets or other events (the latter categories facing a considerable decrease in 2020, caused by travel restrictions and social distancing measures).
”Excepting the verticals affected by the effects of the pandemic such as Horeca and Travel, the e-commerce sector in Romania has experienced an accelerated growth in 2020, 30% more than in 2019, the growth ration being significantly higher than in 2018 vs. 2019, when it was situated at around 20-22%. Romania is among the EU countries with the highest annual online commerce growth rate, a fact that shows the significant development potential of the e-commerce sector in the future as well, in a market that hasn’t yet reached the maturity level of other countries in Northern and Western Europe.” says Andrei Radu, CEO & Founder GPeC.
”Starting from the 5.6 billion euro total figure of the Romanian online commerce in 2020, an average would mean that Romanians have spent over 15 million euros daily last year on internet shopping, an increase from approx. 12 million euro – the daily average recorded in 2019” he adds.
”For the online commerce sector, 2020 was the year that marked a spectacular evolution, reaching targets that were in some cases planned for the next 2-3 years. Yet this sector is just the visible and easily quantifiable part of what we largely call digital economy, whose value is higher and that is Romania’s chance to rapidly recover the development lags is has compared to the Western countries.
Getting back to e-commerce, a high number of Romanians faced their fear of ordering online in 2020 and discovered how easy, convenient and secure it is, while others, already familiarized with online shopping, extended their product options. Once one over, these clients will stay loyal to this shopping method. These premises create a significant opportunity fir local retailers to take full advantage of the local or international digital market, accessing marketplace platforms and maximizing their online business”, says Florinel Chiș, ARMO Executive Director.
According to the estimations of the main players on the market, e-commerce will continue to grow in 2021, most probably exceeding the 6.5 billion euro threshold at the end of this year.
For 15 years, GPeC has been promoting the e-commerce sector in Romania, growing the largest community dedicated to online shops and organizing the main events dedicated to online commerce. Among others, GPeC centralizes the data and publishes the yearly Romanian E-Commerce Report.
Here are the main numbers, statistics and estimations for 2020 (the sources are mentioned in the text body, as well as at the end of the report).
Romania in the European context
According to the Eurostat report published in January 2021, 85% of Romanians have used the internet at least once in the last 12 months, while 45% of the internet users made at least one online purchase in the last 12 months.
Among these statistics, Romania is at the bottom of the charts among EU countries, followed only by Bulgaria with 42% of internet users that made at least one online purchase in the last 12 months.
At the top of the ranking are:
- The Netherlands (91% of internet users made at least one online purchase in the last 12 months)
- Denmark (90%)
- Germany (87%)
- Sweden (86%)
- Ireland (81%)
More young people buy online
At the European level, people aged 25-54 represented the highest segment of online shoppers up until 2018 inclusively. In 2019, young people aged between 16-24 became the dominating group of online shoppers, surpassing the 25-54 age range segment, while in 2020 the ratio between the two age groups was almost equal.
”The trend can be of interest for online sellers who should take into account this new target audience and diversify their offer with specific products for young adults, given that the percentage of online shoppers in the 16-24 age group is significant” says Andrei Radu (GPeC).
What did Europeans buy in 2020
According to Eurostat, the most popular categories of products and services sold online in 2020 at European level were (multiple choice question, so the sum of the percentages exceeds 100%):
- 64% – Fashion (clothing – including sportswear, footwear and accessories)
- 29% – Food deliveries from restaurants, fast food, catering services
- 28% – Furniture and accessories for home and garden
- 27% – Cosmetics and beauty and wellness products
- 27% – Books, magazines and newspapers
- 26% – Computers, tablets, mobile phones and IT accessories
The following categories in the top ranking of online shopping at European level were:
- Food supplements, pharma products, vitamins, diet products (online prescription renewals are not included)
- Sporting goods (excluding sportswear)
- Food and beverages in specialty stores
- Electronics and home appliances
- Baby items and toys
- Cleaning and personal hygiene products
- Auto & Moto (including spare parts)
- Movies and series on DVD, Blu-ray, etc.
- Music on CD, Vinyl, etc.
71% of European consumers are happy with online shopping
According to the Eurostat survey conducted at European level in 2019, 71% of online shoppers said they did not encounter any problems or difficulties when shopping online.
Instead, the problems identified by European consumers (in relatively small proportions) were (multiple choice question):
- 17% – delayed deliveries compared to the delivery time mentioned on the website
- 8% – website technical or online payment issues that prevented them to place the order
- 8% received wrong or damaged products
- 5% had difficulties when returning the products or when contacting the online shop for returns
- 4% haven’t found information about product warranty or consumer legal rights on the websites
- 4% encountered issues with foreign online shops that did not ship to the client’s country of origin
- 3% complain about higher total costs of the products (comparing to what is displayed on the website) or about frauds (products not delivered but money collected, or carding)
30% of European consumers make cross-border online purchases, a less common practice in East-European countries where local shops are preferred.
E-Commerce in Romania 2020
According to statistics from 2Performant, the average online transaction value has only slightly increased in 2020 compared to 2019 in the case of desktop transactions and it kept a similar value in the case of mobile transactions.
On average*, in 2020 Romanians spent 297.4 RON (an equivalent of 61.5 EUR) for desktop transactions, compared to 273 RON (57.5 EUR) in 2019.
In the case of mobile transactions, the average order value was 210.4 RON (43.5 EUR) in 2020 compared to 208 RON (43.9 EUR) in 2019. (*the average values above do not include VAT and the EUR equivalent for 2020 was calculated at an average annual rate of 1 EUR = 4,8371 RON).
How much did Romanians spend on specific product categories?
According to 2Performant, in general, the average order value did not suffer large fluctuations compared to 2019, except for the Auto & Moto category, where the average cart value doubled from 72.19 EUR in 2019 to 148.1 EUR in 2020.
In the Health & Personal Care category, there was also a significant increase in the average order value, higher on Desktop than on Mobile.
Invariably, on all product categories the average order value is higher when the transaction is made on Desktop compared to tablet or Mobile.
Average transaction values by different categories in 2020, depending on the device from which the purchase was made (EUR, excluding VAT):
- Auto & Moto – 160,1 euro Desktop vs. 136,1 euro Mobile
- Electro-IT&C – 157,4 euro Desktop vs. 113,5 euro Mobile
- Home & Garden – 130,5 euro Desktop vs. 105,7 euro Mobile
- Sports and Hiking – 71,2 euro Desktop vs. 56,4 euro Mobile
- Baby items and Toys – 71,2 euro Desktop vs. 54,6 euro Mobile
- Fashion – 45,9 euro Desktop vs. 39,3 euro Mobile
- Pet Shop – 44,7 euro Desktop vs. 36,9 euro Mobile
- Beauty – 40,6 euro Desktop vs. 32,8 euro Mobile
- Health and Personal Care – 40,1 euro Desktop vs. 31,2 euro Mobile
- Adult – 39,4 euro Desktop vs. 26,8 euro Mobile
- Pharma – 37,9 euro Desktop vs. 24,9 euro Mobile
- Books, Films, Music – 28,9 euro Desktop vs. 23,6 euro Mobile
- Others – 58,9 euro Desktop vs. 46,2 euro Mobile
Most online shopping is done from the mobile phone
Even though the average transaction value is lower on mobile than on desktop, the number of online orders placed on mobile phones is, generally, significantly higher than the number of transactions made on desktop on almost all product categories, except in the Electro-IT&C vertical where 53% of the orders are made from Desktop, and 47% from Mobile.
In general, where detailed documentation on product specifications is required, or their price is higher, or more similar products are compared, the share of Mobile transactions tends to decrease in favor of Desktop.
On the other hand, when it comes to impulse shopping, which does not necessarily require a thorough documentation on the product or a long time in making the purchase decision, Romanians buy online mostly from mobile phones.
Desktop Vs. Mobile – share of transactions by different categories:
- Baby items & toys – 18% Desktop vs. 82% Mobile
- Beauty – 27% Desktop vs. 73% Mobile
- Fashion – 28% Desktop vs. 72% Mobile
- Pharma – 30% Desktop vs. 70% Mobile
- Adult – 30% Desktop vs. 70% Mobile
- Health & Personal Care – 33% Desktop vs. 67% Mobile
- Auto & Moto – 33% Desktop vs. 67% Mobile
- Sports & Hiking – 37% Desktop vs. 63% Mobile
- Pet Shop – 40% Desktop vs. 60% Mobile
- Books, Films and Music – 40% Desktop vs. 60% Mobile
- Home and Garden – 48% Desktop vs. 52% Mobile
- Electro-IT&C – 53% Desktop vs. 47% Mobile
- Others – 45% Desktop vs. 55% Mobile
“The important conclusion following these statistics is that online shops should optimize their websites with priority for mobile devices, so as to ensure easy navigation and a pleasant shopping experience for customers. During the GPeC Competition, we annually evaluate approx. 100 Romanian online shops through over 200 criteria primarily concerning User Experience and I noticed that many shops start doing optimizations from Desktop to Mobile and not vice versa, as it should be. Even in marketing campaigns and in creating ads, they neglect their optimal display on mobile – yet the strategy should be Mobile First, Desktop Second”, says Andrei Radu (GPeC).
72% of the online shops’ traffic is generated by mobile
71.9% of the online shops’ traffic from the 2Performant platform came from mobile devices, while 28.1% came from desktop (the numbers didn’t suffer major changes compared to 2019).
In the case of established online shops surveyed by GPeC, the traffic generated from mobile phones exceeds 80%. (similar to 2019)
65.6% of online purchases are made on mobile phones
2018 was the first year in which the number of online purchases made from the mobile phone exceeded Desktop as follows: 54.8% were purchases from the mobile phone, respectively 45.2% purchases from Desktop.
In 2019, the trend intensified, more and more Romanians preferring to buy online using the phone at the expense of the Desktop, respectively: 63.6% bought from mobile, compared to 36.4% who remained loyal to the Desktop.
The year 2020 brought a slight increase in the percentage of purchases made from mobile phones, reaching 65.6%, while purchases made from Desktop fell to 34.4%.
And in terms of the total value of online sales, Mobile is stands first with 57.4%, compared to 42.6% Desktop (similar to the percentages recorded in 2019, respectively: 57.1% Mobile and 42.9% Desktop).
The average conversion rate is close to 2%
In the case of online shops in the 2Performant network, the average conversion rate is higher on Desktop than on Mobile, but it has increased in 2020 on both types of devices as follows:
- Desktop – from 2.1% in 2019 to 2.26% in 2020
- Mobile – from 1.44% in 2019 to 1.68% in 2020
If make an average between the conversion rate on the Desktop and the conversion rate on the Mobile, it would result in an average conversion rate of 1.97% for online shops in the 2Performant network.
It should be mentioned, however, that the average conversion rate can vary significantly both upwards and downwards, depending on many factors such as (but not limited to): the notoriety of the online store, the vertical it belongs to, loyalty programs, customer retention or cart abandonment campaigns etc.
Strictly related to the online shops in the 2Performant network, although the conversion rate is generally higher on Desktop than on Mobile, there are also some verticals where the proportion is reversed, such as the Adult, Pharma and Auto & Moto categories. Also, in the Baby items & Toys category, the conversion rate on Desktop is approximately equal to the conversion rate on Mobile.
Moments with the most purchases in e-commerce
The traffic increases proportionately during the morning on both Desktop and Mobile, but while on Mobile it continues to increase progressively after 11:00 AM, on Desktop it starts to decrease.
According to 2Performant statistics, most sales are made between 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM on Desktop and on Mobile between 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM.
Regarding the days of the week, according to eMAG Marketplace, Friday is the day when Romanians buy the most online, while at the opposite pole is Saturday. Also according to eMAG, most orders are placed in the first part of the day, with a peak of orders at 1:00 PM relative to their value and at 12:00 PM, relative to the number of orders.
According to 2Performant, the purchase decision is made, in 50% of cases, in the first hour since the customer enters the online shop. This ration is increasing year over year: 46.5% in 2019, 45.2% in 2018 and 42.6% in 2017. In 66% of cases, the purchase decision is made within the first 24 hours from the first click.
As a highlight of 2020, the Sporting Goods category has increased dramatically at the beginning of the pandemic (April – May 2020), by over 1,500%.
Also, the number of orders in the Baby items & Toys and Health & Personal Care categories was double on Mobile compared to Desktop, and in the Pharma category, it was triple compared to Desktop.
Over 23.000 online sellers on the eMAG Marketplace platform
According to data provided by eMAG for GPeC, at the end of December 2020, more than 23,000 active online merchants were registered in the eMAG Marketplace platform, a significant increase from 20,119 in December 2019.
It should be mentioned, however, that not all merchants who choose to sell online through Marketplace or Ads platforms also have their own online shop, so it is difficult to estimate the number of independent online shops in Romania.
According to the information provided by eMAG officials, the best represented product categories in the active sellers’ offers on eMAG Marketplace were, in descending order:
- DIY (Do It Yourself)
- Home & Deco
- Household items
- Home Appliances
- Outdoor sports and leisure products
Top categories in terms of sales volumes generated on eMAG Marketplace, in descending order:
- Home Appliances
- Home & Deco
- DIY (Do It Yourself)
- Household items
- Medical supplies (masks, gloves, disinfectants etc.)
- Outdoor sports and leisure products
From the trends analyzed by eMAG Marketplace representatives, the verticals with significant growth potential in 2021 are:
- IT products (tablets, software, PC peripherals, etc.)
- Home consumables (groceries, pet food, etc.)
- Do It Yourself (DIY – construction materials, equipment and lighting systems, etc.)
- Outdoor sports and leisure products
- Small and large home appliances
- Books or office supplies
- Home & Deco
Black Friday November 2020
2020 was the tenth year in which Romanian e-commerce adopted the concept of Black Friday. According to eMAG representatives, the 10th edition of Black Friday surpassed all records set by the event so far.
Thus, eMAG registered 12.4 million visits in a single day (1.6 million more visits than in 2019) and ordered products were worth 585.7 million RON (equivalent to 120 million euros ) – 17% more than in 2019.
Compared to the first edition of Black Friday in 2010, the value of the ordered products was 17 times higher and 3 times higher than the 2015 edition.
At eMAG, the best-selling Black Friday 2020 product categories were:
- Home & Deco – 271,000 products sold
- Personal care – 197,000
- Small home appliances – 106,000
- Toys – 90,000
- TVs – 66,000
- Drinks and coffee – 66,000
- Refrigerators – 35,000
According to ARMO, during the entire Black Friday campaign of November 2020, Romanians made online purchases worth over 300 million euros, with approx. 20% more than in 2019, when total sales of 253 million euros were recorded.
According to the PayU payment processor and referring strictly to online transactions paid by card, the November 2020 Black Friday campaign looked like this:
- The number of transactions paid online by card reached 539,000, 95% more than in 2019
- The golden minute was 07:44 AM with 4,792 transactions (+124% more than in 2019)
- During Black Friday, the average order value was 647 RON (down 8% compared to 2019), and the cart paid in installments was 1,028 RON (up 2% compared to 2019)
iSense Solutions 2020 Study: The behavior of Romanian consumers during the pandemic
During 2020, the market research company iSense Solutions conducted two studies for GPeC among internet users on a representative sample at the urban level, consisting of the 18-60 age segment. The purpose of the two researches was to follow the impact of Covid-19 on the consumption behavior in the Romanian electronic commerce, the data being collected in May and October 2020.
According to the iSense research, the number of online shoppers in Romania increased by 13% in 2020 compared to 2019 and was 4% higher in October 2020 compared to May 2020.
A change in behavior was the way customers chose to pay for purchases, the incidence of online card payments increasing by 17% compared to 2019. The highest increase was recorded in the first part of the year until May (15%) following a growth period of only 2% between May and October 2020.
In addition to local purchases, a third of Romanians prefer to shop online from shops in China (27%), EU member states (23%) and the USA (4%) – a multiple-choice question.
How important are reviews?
Reviews were very important in 2020 because, with their help, online shops were able to gain customer trust and generate more sales. 73% of respondents are actively looking for reviews.
Respondents who actively seek opinions about the products they want to buy, follow (multiple choice question):
- If the product have the desired quality, according to other customer reviews (74%)
- How the online shop responds to negative reviews (50%)
- How real the reviews seem to be (47%)
- Checking if the website is real (41%)
- Comments regarding the review scores (39%)
- A normal mix of positive and negative opinions (36%)
- Information about delivery time (36%)
- Higher ratings (35%)
In terms of trust, 37% trust reviews published on websites independent of the online shop, 36% in the opinions from Social Media and 27% in the testimonials displayed by the online shops on their own websites.
7 out of 10 online shoppers have ever left a review (multiple choice answer):
- 67% – when requested by the online shop, after processing the order
- 39% – on their own initiative, without being asked to
- 16% – when requested by a third party service, on behalf of the shop they have bought from
However, 3 out of 10 online shoppers do not give reviews because 60% of them do not usually do so, 38% say they did not think to leave a review because no one asked them, 14% do not consider that reviews are important, and 10% do not leave reviews if they are not rewarded for this (multiple answer).
According to TRUSTED.ro, at the beginning of the pandemic, the customers of the online shops were much more eager to provide feedback on orders, therefore the opinions received almost tripled during the analyzed period, respectively March-April 2019 vs. March-April 2020.
In March 2020, there was a doubling of the opinions received compared to the same month in 2019, while in April 2020 there was a 300% increase in the opinions received compared to April 2019.
Delivery applications – the lifeline solution during the pandemic
”Delivery applications are perceived as a “rescue” solution, especially in this pandemic period, because they respond very well to the need for distancing, but also because they save us time for shopping and products are delivered very quickly (faster than online shopping). Thus, we expect these delivery platforms to become an increasingly important purchasing channel for Romanians in the next period” says Andrei Cânda, Managing Partner at iSense Solutions.
45% of the respondents in the study used a delivery application for online shopping or ordering at least once, and 27% of them use the applications at least once a week.
How often do Romanians use delivery applications for online shopping:
- Daily – 2%
- Several times a week – 10%
- Once a week – 15%
- Once every 2-3 weeks – 22%
- Once a month – 13%
- Less than once a month – 38%
Romanians prefer to test more delivery platforms, but remain loyal to those who align with their purchasing needs.
The most used delivery platforms (May and October 2020)
- FoodPanda – 32% of respondents use it most often (tried by 56% of respondents)
- Glovo – 28% (tried by 60% of respondents)
- Takeaway – 13% (tried by 33% of respondents)
- Bringo – 13% (tried by 26% of respondents)
- TAZZ by eMAG – 3% (tried by 7% of respondents)
Consumers want a diversification of product categories in delivery applications:
- They buy an average of 1.9 product categories
- The wish to buy 3.5 product categories
Consumers want to be able to buy from local producers and traditional markets through delivery platforms, because they see the products as healthier and of better quality and want to support small Romanian businesses.
Which online stores / delivery apps Romanians prefer, by category
In the two periods analyzed in the study, there were changes in preferences regarding online shops where Romanians choose to shop (questions are multiple choice, therefore amount of percentages exceeds 100%).
Top 10 FMCG shops / shopping apps
- Carrefour – 37% October 2020, 39% May 2020
- Kaufland – 35% October 2020, 45% May 2020
- eMAG – 28% October 2020, 31% May 2020
- Bringo – 23% October 2020, 17% May 2020
- Auchan – 23% October 2020, 32% May 2020
- Mega Image – 15% October 2020, 21% May 2020
- Cora – 14% October 2020, 14% May 2020
- Glovo – 12% October 2020, 9% May 2020
- Solaris – 1% October 2020, 4% May 2020
- FurnicaMarket – 1% October 2020, 2% May 2020
Top 10 Catering shops / shopping apps
- FoodPanda – 34% October 2020, 39% May 2020
- Glovo – 32% October 2020, 30% May 2020
- PizzaHut – 26% October 2020, 32% May 2020
- Takeaway – 19% October 2020, 16% May 2020
- Jerry’s Pizza – 14% October 2020, 13% May 2020
- Bringo – 10% October 2020, 10% May 2020
- Domino’s Pizza – 8% October 2020, 12% May 2020
- Presto Pizza – 7% October 2020, 9% May 2020
- UberEats – 5% October 2020, 9% May 2020
- CuptorulCuLemne – 4% October 2020, 3% May 2020
Top 10 Fashion shops / shopping apps
- eMAG – 66% October 2020, 44% May 2020
- H&M – 40% October 2020, 44% May 2020
- Fashion Days – 34% October 2020, 28% May 2020
- Carrefour – 23% October 2020, 15% May 2020
- About You – 20% October 2020, 13% May 2020
- Zara – 19% October 2020, 26% May 2020
- AliExpress – 18% October 2020, 12% May 2020
- Auchan – 16% October 2020, 12% May 2020
- Bershka – 16% October 2020, 18% May 2020
- Miniprix – 13% October 2020, 10% May 2020
Top 10 Pharma shops / shopping apps
- Farmacia Tei – 55% October 2020, 54% May 2020
- Sensiblu – 32% October 2020, 33% May 2020
- FarmaciaLaPretMic – 10% October 2020, 10% May 2020
- Medifarm – 8% October 2020, 8% May 2020
- Pcfarm – 6% October 2020, 5% May 2020
- Pfarma – 5% October 2020, 8% May 2020
- Glovo – 5% October 2020, 5% May 2020
- Bringo – 5% October 2020, 5% May 2020
- Efarma.ro – 5% October 2020, 4% May 2020
- Pilulka – 3% October 2020, 2% May 2020
Top 10 Beauty shops / shopping apps
- eMAG – 45% October 2020, 50% May 2020
- Farmacia Tei – 31% October 2020, 26% May 2020
- Elefant – 25% October 2020, 27% May 2020
- Sephora – 24% October 2020, 22% May 2020
- Yves Rocher – 23% October 2020, 24% May 2020
- Notino – 22% October 2020, 19% May 2020
- Douglas – 12% October 2020, 11% May 2020
- Marionnaud.ro – 7% October 2020, 6% May 2020
- Makeup.ro – 6% October 2020, 7% May 2020
- Pink Panda – 5% October 2020, 4% May 2020
Top 7 DIY shops / shopping apps
- Dedeman – 75% October 2020, 76% May 2020
- Leroy Merlin – 29% October 2020, 34% May 2020
- Hornbach – 21% October 2020, 15% May 2020
- Bricodepot – 18% October 2020, 23% May 2020
- Mathaus.ro – 7% October 2020, 9% May 2020
- Bricoshop.ro – 7% October 2020, 6% May 2020
- E-bricolaj.ro – 4% October 2020, 4% May 2020
Significant increases in online card payments
The total volume processed by PayU almost doubled and the number of processed transactions increased by 61%, reaching 72 transactions per minute. The average transaction value increased by 22%, reaching 46 EUR.
The NETOPIA Payments processor also recorded a 60% increase in the volume processed in 2020 compared to 2019.
The pandemic had a major positive effect on the increase of the percentage of online card payments, Romania being until 2020 a market in which cash on delivery was the preferred method of payment for 80% of online shoppers.
As an example of the positive effects of the pandemic in e-commerce, according to eMAG officials, in 2020 over 40% of orders were paid online by card on the retailer’s platform.
The average value of online card transactions has increased
In both PayU and NETOPIA Payments cases the average value of online card transactions increased significantly in 2020 compared to 2019:
- PayU: increase from 185 RON in 2019 to 225 RON in 2020
- NETOPIA Payments: increase from 165 RON in 2019 to 215 RON in 2020
The largest transaction paid online by card in 2020 in the NETOPIA Payments system had a value of 97,000 RON as an advance title for a Renault car.
The report can be taken over and published only with the mention of the source: GPeC and link to https://www.gpec.ro/
Infographic made by MTH Digital
Copyright: GPeC 2021