Describes how widely e-Commerce is used, the primary sectors that sell through e-commerce, and how much product/service in each sector is sold through e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar retail. Includes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and reputable, prominent B2B websites.
Last Published: 11/2/2017

Overview
E-commerce is developing in Yerevan because of the expanded use of the Internet, credit cards and online banking. However inconsistent and inequitable application of customs duties is yet another impediment to e-commerce development. Use of e-mail for business communication, is increasingly common in Yerevan although the telephone remains the primary method of business communication. Most companies have their own website. Some businesses including one of the leading supermarket chains, have recently initiated on-line ordering and other e-commerce techniques, taking advantage of the HayPost arrangements for international delivery, and the Customs’ personal consumption duty waiver (both described above). Online banking is becoming increasingly popular and Armenians are becoming accustomed to this method of receiving financial services. Increasingly Armenian Internet users shop online for household appliances, books, mobile phones and computers, clothes and footwear, goods for children and perfumes, as online products tend to be less expensive. 

Current Market Trends
Armenian legislation regulates key aspects of eCommerce in the country in line with the requirements of the Eurasian Economic Union. The legislation includes:
  • Civil Code of the Republic of Armenia
  • The Law on Trade and Services
  • The Law on Consumer Rights Protection
  • The Law on Implementation of Cashier Machines
E-commerce continues to grow and the number of e-commerce websites has been increasing. For e-commerce development, Armenia has internet connection widely spread throughout the country and thousands of Armenians are engaged in social media. However, eCommerce has not yet penetrated deep into the customer market because of little disposable income and the unregulated (or shadow) economy. Many people continue to prefer cash payments and in many locations postal services are not robust enough.
Domestic eCommerce (B2C)
According to Central Bank data, the local e-trade volume in 2015 was up to $43 million, two-three fold growth from the previous year. In 2016 the growth was about 30%. The volume of online transactions in the Armenian banking system was up to $176 million in 2016. Around 16 percent of all online purchases and payments were from abroad. However, cash payments upon delivery still remains the predominant method of payment during local e-purchases. More than 50 percent of Armenian households have Internet at home and about 30 percent of the overall population uses Facebook.
Cross-Border eCommerce
Armenian consumers widely use Amazon, Alibabaexpress, Ebay and other online platforms for purchasing household appliances, books, mobile phones and computers, clothes and footwear, goods for children and perfumes. Visa and MasterCard cards are the most popular international payment methods.
B2B eCommerce
For B2B ecommerce the top sector in Armenia is the ICT and Finance and Banking sectors. Both sectors have a well-developed infrastructure and content for the business users providing quality services. B2B is also expanding in other sectors of economy due to high internet coverage in the country.
eCommerce Services
The ArCa card unified payment system was introduced by the Armenian commercial banks and the Central Bank in 2001. The owner and operator of the system is ‘Armenian Card’ CJSC which, at the same time, oversees and regulates the activity of the system, formulates the system’s development policy and ensures its implementation. The settlements in the system are executed according to the principle of multilateral netting while the final settlement is done via correspondent accounts of participant banks with the Central Bank. The flows of payment messages in the system are Y-structured. Members of the ArCa system are the parties which have acceded to and qualified as member of the ArCa system under the charter, rules and normative regulations of the system, and have concluded the relevant agreements with the “Armenian Card” CJSC and the CBA. Financial organizations operating in or outside the Republic of Armenia and/or other organizations specialized in the area of banking/payment cards can be members of the ArCa system.
Idram system, allows users to make purchases online or pay for public services, taxes and fees, loan payments, buy plane tickets, etc. Idram is the first company in Armenia to get permission to issue electronic money from the Central Bank.
eCommerce Intellectual Property Rights
Armenia is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) since 1993 and the Eurasian Patent Office (EAPO) since 1995. Despite this, the weak enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) in the country can create impediments for the further development of the eCommerce.

Popular eCommerce Sites

Popular eCommerce sites in Armenia are:

Aliexpress.com, amazon.com, Ebay.com, Google play, App store, Windows Phone Store list.am, edram.am, arca.am, mobidram.am, onex.am, GGtaxi and Yandex Taxi.

Internet and mobile banking services are offered by HSBC, Ameriabank and others.

Online Payment

The ArCa card unified payment system) was introduced by the Armenian commercial banks and the Central Bank in 2001.
Visa and MasterCard cards are also accepted for online payments.

Internet and mobile banking services are offered by HSBC, Ameriabank and others.

Idram and Mobidram systems allow users to make purchases online or pay for public services, taxes and fees, loan payments, buy plane tickets, etc.

Mobile eCommerce

Mobile eCommerce has been developing in Armenia especially with the wide use of smart phones amongst younger population many of whom are making purchases in App Store and Google Store. Local applications are developed but still not as popular except for the transportation services. Two applications the GG taxi and Yandex taxi mobile device applications are very popular in Yerevan for ride hailing/sharing services.

Digital Marketing

Every year digital marketing landscape continues to grow and the number of marketing agencies has been increasing. For digital marketing there are almost all the prerequisites: Internet connection is widely spread all over the country and thousands of Armenians are engaged in social media.

Major Buying Holidays

Major Armenian buying holidays are New Year’s Eve and the Armenian Christmas on January 6. Consumers tend to make their  purchases from the December 25-31. Another buying holiday is the International Women’s Day on March 8. The Valentine’s day and its local equivalent in February are also becoming popular. Armenians also celebrate Orthodox Easter on a large scale.

Social Media

Facebook and Russian OK and VK are the most popular social media platforms and are widely used. Instagram, Tweeter, WhatsApp are popular among youth. Skype and Viber usage is also wide spread.

 

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Armenia eCommerce Industry Trade Development and Promotion eCommerce