Poland - eCommerce Poland - eCommerce
Although there are no barriers to conducting electronic commerce activities in Poland, American companies should consider the strict requirements of personal data protection regulations and tax issues that match those of other European Union countries.
The Polish e-commerce market is expected to reach USD 13.5 billion at the end of 2019, a 16% increase over last year. Poland is ranked 13th among the fastest developing e-commerce markets in the world. In 2018-2022, the value of the e-commerce market is expected to increase by $6 billion. The government claims that the digital economy keeps developing at 7% a year and in 2020 it will account for 12% of Poland’s GDP. E-commerce currently accounts for a little over 7% of retails sales.
In Poland, e-commerce is one of the most important drivers for economic development, contributing to the rapid growth of logistics operations. E-commerce currently accounts for 60% of the warehouse space used by retail chains and logistics operators. Poland is a hub for several e-commerce operations serving Western European countries, including Amazon and Zalando.
Easy and affordable access to the internet through multiple tools, comfortable online purchasing platforms, and customer-friendly regulations (please see the information on the Digital Single Market below) all drive e-commerce growth. Online sellers benefit from the recent ban on Sunday trading, where most brick-and-morto retail operations are closed on official holidays and three Sundays each month. The Sunday Ban, enacted in 2018, will gradually expand to cover all Sundays by 2020.
There are a total of 28 million internet users in Poland, 66% of them shop on-line. More than half of customers use multiple devices for on-line shopping. The following is the breakdown of equipment used: laptops (80%), personal computers (61%), smartphones (47%), tablets (21%) and e-book devices (3%).
Current Market Trends
As technology changes allow customers to easily compare prices and products offered by various sellers. Retailers tend to take an omnichannel approach to combine traditional and on-line sales channels to retain or expand their customer base and only 20% of them sell exclusively on-line. E-commerce platforms and shops increasingly invest in advanced analytic tools, including artificial intelligence. The industry primarily reaches customers via social media, personalized advertising and content marketing.
On-line grocery sales is the fastest, although still very small, segment of the e-commerce market. This segment’s value is expected to reach $670 million by 2020, a 458% increase over $120 million in 2017. In addition, fast growing e-commerce segments is e-sport and sales of entertainment tickets, both developing at over 20% a year.
Domestic e-Commerce (B2C)
The vast majority of online shopping is done locally in Poland. There are 12,000 on-line stores in Poland. Majority of them are Polish-owned and have been operating for over 10 years.
The most popular products bought online are clothing, shoes and accessories, toys and child care, home appliances, consumer electronics, books, music and movies, and cosmetics. Other popular products include car appliances, airplane, train and bus tickets, sporting goods, and tourist equipment and travel services.
While only about 16% of Poles shop in foreign stores, 40% of Poles have never shopped on-line internationally. According to Kronenberg Foundation by Citi Handlowy bank, 65 % of e-commerce businesses sell internationally, mainly to customers in Central and Western Europe. Outside of the EU, 10% of on-line businesses are active in Asia, 6% in the U.S, and 5% in the Middle East countries. Nevertheless, value-wise, foreign sales account for only 6 percent of the total sales of e-commerce businesses.
The B2B e-commerce market is estimated at over USD 60 billion, and it is expected to grow 8% per year to reach USD 92 billion by 2020. At the moment, only some 35% of Polish firms use internet purchasing platforms. e-Commerce Services
In general, e-commerce platforms in Poland are eager to work with foreign suppliers and sell their products online. Nevertheless, many limit their suppliers to European sources. They have little experience in dealing with suppliers from the United States and provide limited logistical support, if any.
e-Commerce Intellectual Property Rights:
Polish law enforcement agencies are increasingly focusing on Internet crime, but intellectual property infringement continues to be a problem. Please see the Intellectual Property Rights section below for general information on this topic.
Popular e-Commerce Sites:
The most popular e-commerce platform in Poland is Allegro, with over 40% market share. Initially established as an auction platform, over the last few years, Allegro has expanded, currently also selling its own offer as well as hosting a variety of business sellers.
In November 2017, Facebook launched its Polish Marketplace, which is quickly gaining popularity as well.
Amazon has a large presence in Poland, where it operates five fulfillment centers in addition to an R&D center. Amazon offers a Polish language site on its German platform.
Top e-commerce platforms in Poland:
Allegro.pl All types of consumer goods
Euro.com.pl Consumer electronics and home appliances
Amazon Polish language version of German website
Empik.com Books, games, toys, music, gifts, tickets to cultural events
Mediaexport.pl Consumer Electronics and home appliances
Aliexpress.com All types of consumer goods
The most popular on-line payments methods include pay-by-link (56%), cash on delivery (30%) and cards (10%).
The online advertising market was estimated at $1.24 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $1.5 billion in 2019. In 2018, it represented 35% of the total advertising expenditures and is expected to surpass expenditures on traditional advertising by 2020.
Ads on Google and Facebook account for 64% of growth of all expenses in digital marketing. The most popular services for on-line marketing are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. While 62% of e-shops pay search engines for promotion, over 50% place paid ads in social media, Youtube.
Major Buying Holidays
Christmas shopping is the best time for e-commerce activities, with 42% of sales taking place online. Black Friday and Cyber Monday-type sales are new in Poland but are slowly gaining popularity.
Almost all Polish internet users, use social media, which is above the world average. The average user spends over 2 hours on social media each day.
The most popular social media platform in Poland is Facebook. 70% of Polish Facebook users are active every day. Other popular services are YouTube, Instagram, and Tik-Tok, which targets young teenagers’ audience.
As many as 97% of e-shops market and communicate with clients on social media platforms. This applies to all large e-Commerce platforms. The most popular social media e-commerce platforms are Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube.
Please see the information on the European Union’s Digital Single Market Initiative for the EU perspective on this topic.
During the last plenary session before the European elections in May 2019, the Parliament voted on three residual digital files:
First, the Online Terrorist Content proposal, which will require hosting service providers to remove online terrorist content within one hour after receiving an order from the competent national authority. The text will go into negotiations once the new Parliament is in office. Second, the Parliament adopted the provisional agreement with the Council and the Commission on the Platform-to-Business proposal, which will regulate how companies interact with their business users including merchants and app developers. Finally, the Parliament approved the draft rules on the European Cybersecurity Competence Center and Network of National Coordination Centers, which aims to boost the EU cybersecurity industry’s global competitiveness across the entire value chain—from research to the deployment and implementation of key technologies.
Link to the proposed regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online.
Link to final platforms-to-business regulation.
Link to the proposed Cybersecurity Competence Centre and National Coordination Centres.
Value Added Tax (VAT)
While the general VAT regulations in Poland are the same as in other European countries, Poland focuses on implementing strict procedures to maximize the VAT collection and minimize tax abuse. The standard VAT rate in Poland amounts to 23 percent, and the reduced VAT rates range from 5 percent to 8 percent. As of June 1, 2019, the VAT rates for some products and services will be modified, including the reduction of VAT for e-books from 23 to 5 percent.