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: 8/23/2017
Overview
Bulgaria’s eCommerce revenues across all product categories was estimated at USD537 million for 2016 (Source: Statista - Bulgaria eCommerce). eCommerce grew 14 percent in 2016 compared to 2015 whereas eCommerce in the EU grew 12 percent.  Per the data, 2.4 million Bulgarians purchased goods and services online in 2016 – which is a 19 percent increase compared to 2014.
General Observations
There are some 72 000 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 shopper make purchases from their Smartphones, while 3 percent make purchases using tablets. 
Table: Bulgaria Number of eCommerce Users, 2015-2021
YearNumber of eCommerce Users (Millions)
20152.3
20162.4
20172.6
20182.8
20193.0
20203.2
20213.4
 
Table: Bulgaria eCommerce Revenue by Market Segment, 2015-2021
YearIndustryRevenue (USD Millions)
 
 
 
 
2015
Fashion$181.1
Electronics & Media$144.6
Food & Personal Care$43.0
Furniture & Appliances$28.5
Toys, Hobby & DIY$40.7
Total eCommerce Revenue$438.9
 
 
 
 
2016
Fashion$207.8
Electronics & Media$156.9
Food & Personal Care$47.0
Furniture & Appliances$32.8
Toys, Hobby & DIY$44.2
Total eCommerce Revenue$489.7
 
 
 
 
2017
Fashion$230.2
Electronics & Media$170.4
Food & Personal Care$51.6
Furniture & Appliances$37.1
Toys, Hobby & DIY$47.7
Total eCommerce Revenue$537.0
 
 
 
 
2018
Fashion$256.4
Electronics & Media$185.5
Food & Personal Care$56.9
Furniture & Appliances$42.4
Toys, Hobby & DIY$51.9
Total eCommerce Revenue$593.1
 
 
 
 
2019
Fashion$285.6
Electronics & Media$201.9
Food & Personal Care$63.0
Furniture & Appliances$48.5
Toys, Hobby & DIY$56.5
Total eCommerce Revenue$655.5
 
 
 
 
2020
Fashion$315.0
Electronics & Media$218.0
Food & Personal Care$69.2
Furniture & Appliances$54.8
Toys, Hobby & DIY$61.0
Total eCommerce Revenue$718.0
 
 
 
 
2021
Fashion$342.5
Electronics & Media$230.6
Food & Personal Care$74.1
Furniture & Appliances$59.6
Toys, Hobby & DIY$64.8
Total eCommerce Revenue$772.6
 
Source: Statista - Bulgaria eCommerce.
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 USD772 million (Source: Statista - Bulgaria eCommerce) with the largest market segments being in fashion and clothes. In 2017 the average revenue per user (ARPU) is estimated to be at USD 207.82.
Table: Bulgaria eCommerce Average Revenue per User (ARPU), 2015-2021
YearAverage Revenue per User (USD)
2015$190.55
2016$201.40
2017$207.82
2018$213.66
2019$218.64
2020$222.39
2021$224.27
Source: Statista - Bulgaria eCommerce
Table: Bulgaria Common eCommerce Purchases, 2016
Consumer GoodSales Percentage
Clothes and sporting and outdoor goods77.2%
Computer hardware 6.7 %
Telecommunication services2.3%
Food or groceries21.7%
Book and e-learning materials12.3%
Furniture and household appliances24.2%
Hotel/travel reservations23.4%
Electronic equipment14.9%
 
In the Southeastern Europe region, Bulgaria ranks second in terms of annual eCommerce revenue at USD537 million, ahead of Serbia with USD274.7 million and Croatia at USD406.5 million. Romania, with three times the population of Bulgaria had revenues of USD2.019 million (Source: Statista - Bulgaria eCommerce).
Table: eCommerce Revenue by Country, 2017
CountryeCommerce Revenue (USD Millions)
China$470,053.3
United States$353,684.9
United Kingdom$93,158.3
Japan$84,532.8
Germany$61,408.1
Bulgaria$537.0
Source: Statista - Bulgaria eCommerce.
Table: Bulgaria eCommerce Users by Age and Gender, 2016
GenderAgeeCommerce Users (Millions)
Male16-240.09
25-340.2
35-440.3
45-540.4
55+0.4
Total Male eCommerce Users1.39
Female16-240.2
25-340.1
35-440.2
45-540.3
55+0.3
Total Female eCommerce Users1.1
Total eCommerce Users2.49
Source: eShopWorld – Bulgaria eCommerce Insights.
eCommerce Challenges
  • 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 

eCommerce Intellectual Property Rights
For more information about the eCommerce IPR please see Bulgaria – Protection of Property Rights.
Popular eCommerce Sites and Platforms
  • eMag is a major online store in Bulgaria. It offers many different products, from consumer electronics to fashion and toys
  • FashionDays is a major ecommerce player with regards to selling clothes online
  • OLX is a major user-to-user online store. It covers many different products in all types of categories
  • Helikon is a major online book store
Online Payment 
Paying for goods purchased online is fairly easy, secure and straightfowrad. Bulgaria uses similar online payment methods to 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 ePay, 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 has had the highest security certification from VISA and MasterCard.

Mobile eCommerce
Using applications for mobile eCommerce is rising especially with the millenial generation. It  provides a fast and easy way to buy goods and services on the go. Excellent broadband network coverage and 3G and 4G service make it very appealing to use. All major e-stores have developed mobile applications to compliment their clients.
Table: Bulgaria eCommerce Purchases by Device, 2016
Technlogoical DevicePercent of eCommerce Purchases (%)
Computer89%
Smartphone5%
Tablet3%
Other Internet-Enabled Device2$
Source: eShopWorld – Bulgaria eCommerce Insights.

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 effective campaigning 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 include: Deals.bg, Grabo.bg, Moites Delski, and Napolovina.

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 intersting channels providing sales opportunites are Instagram and Pintrest which are becoming more popular especially with the younger population.

 

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