Croatia - eCommerceCroatia - eCommerce
E-commerce in Croatia has been growing since the country joined the EU in 2013. According to recent research by the Croatian daily Poslovni Dnevnik, there were aproximately 1.75 million online-buyers in Croatia at the end of 2017 (Croatia's population is 4 million). In 2017, the growth rate was 18% with 250,000 new online shoppers. Reportedly, 60% of internet users in Croatia purchase online, and 6-10% of internet users purchase at least once a month (a 9% increase from the previous year). Only 6% of online users have never purchased online. Market research agencies estimate that the value of the e-commerce market in Croatia is $446 million, and that Croatian retail chains generate approximately $30 million in revenue through online transactions per year.
Current Market Trends
The estimated annual growth rate of e-commerce in Croatia during the next few years is 8%.Adjusting to EU legislation will likely be the major challenge for Croatian companies engaged in e-commerce.In February 2014, the Croatian Electronic Commerce Act was harmonized with the EU Directive 2000/31/EC.
Domestic B2C eCommerce
An estimated 20% of Croatian businesses are active in e-commerce, and retailers are increasing their use of new technologies and business models (such as voice-driven purchasing, or requiring customer subscriptions to access certain products or services). Online shopping is heavily promoted in the media.
An estimated 40% of Croatian online shoppers order from stores outside of Croatia, mostly from China and the EU. The main focus is on the media and electronics sectors, with a market value of $181 million in 2018. Online shoppers also buy clothing, shoes, fashion accessories and food. About 40% of Croatian online retailers serve exclusively the Croatian market, while another 40% are open to global markets.
Since Croatia is a relatively new EU member and a small market, many European online retailers have blocked deliveries to Croatia. However, according to an announcement released by the European Commission on Dec 23rd, 2017, this unfair practice that made e-shopping difficult for Croatians and some other EU nationals will be abolished in December 2018. Once this barrier is removed, the Croatian online market will have greater potential for growth.
An estimated 20% of Croatian enterprises are active in eCommerce and most of the B2B eCommerce happens in the ICT sector.
Croatia has a sound ICT infrastructure and plenty of innovative startups, as well as talented programmers and designers. Sufficient high-quality service providers exist to support further development of eCommerce.
eCommerce Intellectual Property Rights
Croatia is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). As an EU member, it has effective enforcement instruments in the field of intellectual property rights protection.
Popular eCommerce Sites
Amazon, eBay, and Extreme Digital are the most popular sites in Croatia, along with locally-developed platforms eKupi and Abrakadabra.
When it comes to online shopping, 21% of buyers use credit cards to pay for their online orders.PayPal and other similar services are used by only 10% of buyers.A growing trend is the use of smart phone payment applications issued by banks (currently used by 13% of buyers).However, many consumers still prefer to use direct bank transfers (31%) or Cash on Delivery (25%).The delivery is typically done through shipping companies, such as the Croatian Post (20%), Overseas (18%), GLS (21%), and 12% is a personal delivery.The most popular payment gateways are: WSpay (38%) T-Com (32%) and CorVus (22%).
Devices used for shopping include all kinds of smart devices from smart phones through to tablets and laptops. However, desktop computers remain the most popular for online shopping.
Digital marketing is becoming increasingly popular in Croatia. Also, there is an annual growth of 3-4% in leasing outdoor advertising of digital screens in public places, especially in and around shopping centers. As about 85% of Croatians regularly visit shopping centers where the annual consumption is around $3 billion, it is expected that this sector will grow about 20%-30% by 2020.
Market research in 2017 indicated that more than 95% of young people in Croatia access the internet through smartphones. Native advertising -- adds integrated with the content and style of the web page –- is increasingly popular. An estimated 70% of Croatian companies advertise by e-mail, while 80% of online retailers use Facebook as their advertising channel.
Major Buying Holidays
The major consumer “buying holidays” in Croatia are St. Nicholas, Christmas, New Years’, and Valentine’s Day.
Most internet users (more than 74%) in Croatia use the internet for social media. 81% goes to researching data, 81% for entertainment, 63% online assignments, 18% online content and 42% for helping others to explain how to do something. The most popular social networking site is Facebook. In a 2015 study, Facebook Croatia had 1.8 milion users: 50.6% male and 49.4% female, and 40% of users were 25 or younger. Younger Facebook users use the platform as a source of information while older users tend to use it for personal or other communication. Twitter is the second most popular platform used mostly by politicians and journalists. LinkedIn is third. Snapchat and YouTube also have a lot of active, younger users.
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