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: 7/23/2018
Overview: Bulgaria’s eCommerce revenues across all product categories was estimated at USD $518M for 2017 (Source: Statista.com, 2018). eCommerce grew 11.8 percent in 2017 compared to 2016 whereas eCommerce in the EU grew 12 percent.According to the data 2.6M Bulgarians purchased goods and services online in 2017. Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (2018-2022) of 8.8 percent resulting in a market volume of USD $800M by 2022. The market's largest segment is the "Fashion" segment with a market volume of USD $234M in 2018. User penetration is at 36.6 percent in 2017 and is expected to hit 57.4 percent in 2022. The average revenue per user (ARPU) currently amounts to USD $205.63.
 
General observations:
There are some 772,000 online Bulgarian retailers -- a number that continues to grow. Sixty percent of online purchases come from international sources. Forty-one percent of the sellers are from the EU, and 19 percent are from the rest of the world.  Eighty-nine percent of online shoppers in Bulgaria shop online via their desktop and 5 percent of shoppers make purchases from their Smartphone, while 3 percent make purchase using their tablet.  There are currently 2.58M eCommerce users in Bulgaria, with an additional 860,000 users expected to be shopping online by 2021. Four years from now, these 3.44M Bulgarian eCommerce users will spend an average of USD $225.56 online.
 
Table 1. Projected eCommerce revenue per year by market segment 2015-2022 and number of users (in millions)
 
Source: Projected eCommerce revenue and number of users (Source: statista.com, 2018).
 
eCommerce revenue is expected to show an annual growth of 9.5 percent from 2017-2021. By 2021 the market volume is estimated to be USD $772M (Source: statista.com) with the largest market largest segments being in fashion and clothes. In 2017 the average revenue per user (ARPU) is estimated to be at USD $207.82.
 
 
 
 
Chart 1. Average revenue per user (ARPU) in Bulgaria for 2018 is estimated at USD $157.49

Source: statista.com, 2018
 
 
In 2016, the most common online/eCommerce purchases were:
 
Furniture and household appliances 24.2%
Hotel/travel reservations 23.4%
Electronic equipment 14.9%
 
In the Southeast Europe region Bulgaria ranks second in terms of annual eCommerce revenue at USD $579M, ahead of Serbia with USD $318.7M and Croatia at USD $456.5M.  Romania, with three times the population of Bulgaria had revenues of USD $2.513M.
 
(Source: statista.com reports).
 
Chart 2. Revenue in Bulgaria and Southeast Europe

Source: statista.com, 2018
 
Chart 3. Users by age and gender

Source: Online Shoppers, eShopworld, 2018

 

Challenges with eCommerce in Bulgaria:

·Technical malfunctioning of website during ordering or payment

·Speed of delivery longer than indicated

·Difficulties in finding information concerning guarantees and other legal rights

·Wrong or damaged goods/services delivered

 

eCommerce services

All major eCommerce services are available in Bulgaria via local and international specialized companies. Clients may choose from established professional companies or start ups focusing on niche services. Solutions offered include:

·Consulting  

·Design and Implementation

·Online Marketing

·Platforms & Technology - such as back office integration etc.

 

     eCommerce Intellectual Property Rights

For more information about the eCommerce IPR[MAD(1]  see: http://www.state.gov/e/eb/rls/othr/ics/investmentclimatestatements/index.htm?year=2017&dlid=269884

    Popular eCommerce Sites and Platforms in Bulgaria

Online Payment

Paying for goods purchased online is fairly easy, secure and straightfowrad. Bulgaria uses similar online payment methods as the rest of Europe. Credit and debit cards are popular, with all major credit cards used online since 2016.
 
Alternate payment methods include SEPA, Mint, Mobiamo, and TrustPay and a local payment application “www.epay.bg” which is the Bulgarian system for electronic payments launched in 1999 offering customers a way to make payments for goods and services with bank cards and Microaccounts and a way to receive online payments through their Microaccount. “EPay” LLC is a certified payment service provider (Level 1 Service Provider) in accordance with the rules of international card organizations. Since 2007, ePay.bg has the highest security certification from VISA and MasterCard.

Mobile eCommerce

Using applications for mobile eCommerce is rising, especially with younger consumers. It  provides a fast and easy way to buy goods and services on the go. Excellent broadband network coverage and 3G and 4G service makes it very appealing to use. All major e-stores have developed mobile applications to compliment their clients.
Chart 4: Devices Used for Online Purhase

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing technologies and techniques such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), social media marketing, display advertising, digital campaigns, etc. are widely used in Bulgaria to make products, goods and services more popular and targeted to the audience.

Major Buying Holidays

‘Black Friday’ initiatives are not new to Bulgarians and have been used for years as they replicate the super effective campaiging that the U.S. introduced.  Another good popular eCommerce practice the ‘Cyber Monday’ shopper which has also shown good results for online sellers.
One of the local trends in eCommerce is the introduction of the so called group shopping websites where one can get a great deal on airfare, hotel reservation, clothes etc. Examples are: www.imasdelka.com; www.deals.bg ; www.grabo.bg; www.zadrujno.bg ; www.napolovina.com;

Social Media

Facebook is the most widely used social media channel in Bulgaria with some 2.5 million Bulgarians having Facebook accounts. More than 21 percent of Bulgarians also use Youtube, followed by 14.3 percent who use Google+, 7.9 percent who use Twitter and 5 percent who use LinkedIn. Other interesting channels providing sales opportunites are Instagram and Pintrest which are becoming more popular, especially with the younger population.

 [MAD(1]The ICS link was

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.



Bulgaria eCommerce Industry Trade Development and Promotion eCommerce