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: 6/21/2017

Overview

eCommerce is widely used in the Czech Republic due to the availability of online shopping for a variety of goods. In 2016, internet sales of goods and services rose to $3.96 billion. Internet penetration continues to steadily increase and is currently at 92.4 percent for the country. Online purchases reached 9.2 percent of total retail sales in the country 2016. Competition is very strong among the 37,920 internet retailers in the Czech Republic.  According to APEK/the Czech Association of Electronic Commerce (https://www.apek.cz/en), the number of Czech consumers who regularly shop online continues to increase, especially young consumers (between the ages of 16-24) who use smartphones.

Current Market Trends

Virtual shopping is gaining in popularity with several Czech firms attracting clients with cost savings and home delivery, offering everything from contact lenses to car tires.  Some global internet marketplaces are active with localized sites but most major U.S. firms are still absent from the market.   
 
Information on online shopping follows:
Age              Purchase method for online shopping
16 -26           61 percent only use smartphones
25- 34           67 percent use tablets and smartphones  
35-49            59 percent use desktops, tablets; only 3 percent use smartphones
50-65            44 percent mainly use desktops; 14 percent use tablets
65+              8 percent only use desktops
In 2016, smartphones were used for 43 percent of every 100 purchases from eStores.
The Czech Government strongly encourages B2B and B2C eCommerce. An eShop can be operated by both Czechs and foreigners. Czech entities and foreign branches need to obtain a trade license from the Czech Trade License Office, covering the intended scope of activity to be carried out by the eShop, unless they are registered elsewhere in the EU. Both individuals and companies must be registered in the Commercial Registry. Foreign entities, with an established eShop elsewhere in the EU, may wish to use a Czech Republic address. The operator of an eShop needs to determine which legal jurisdiction governs relationships with its customers to ensure that they fulfill all statutory obligations (e.g. rights and obligations of the parties to the contract, customer claims in the case of defects or limitation periods, etc.).   
 
Product safety testing and certification is mandatory for the EU market. U.S. manufacturers and sellers of goods must perform due diligence in accordance with mandatory EU legislation prior to exporting. For information on EU regulations pertaining to eCommerce, please refer to Doing Business in the European Union: 2017 Country Commercial Guide for U.S. Companies report.
 
The market infrastructure is integrated with that of other EU countries.

Domestic eCommerce (B2C)

Around 8.4 percent of purchases in the Czech Republic are done online and approximately 70 percent of the population shops online at least a couple times a year. Three out of four shoppers request same day delivery. Delivery time is especially important for grocery purchases. Customers can select a period of time to receive their purchase and track the delivery on the web. Some businesses have started to offer weekend delivery even for non-food items. Fast growth in B2C eCommerce has led to strong growth in logistics and package delivery services.
 
Czech eShops most often sell textiles and accessories (17 percent), home and garden items (11 percent), electronics (7 percent) and groceries (6 percent).
 
Articles on eCommerce appear in just about all news media in the Czech Republic. The main topics are new online products and services.

Cross-Border eCommerce

Interest in cross-border eCommerce is growing among Czech customers. The decision to buy through foreign online stores is most often based on lower prices and secondly on access to products not available in the Czech Republic. The markets most often mentioned for cross-border eCommerce include China, the EU (particularly Germany) and the United States. Customer support and site trustworthiness are important for Czech customers. For cross-border eCommerce, the most sought after items include digital products and electronics, followed by clothes, jewelry/watches and cosmetics.

B2B eCommerce

B2B eCommerce is usually conducted using well-known business platforms and strategic partners.  The Czech Republic offers many business opportunities for worlwide buyers and investors in areas such as:  computers and software; telecommunications; consumer electronics; chemicals; hi-tech; automobiles; transportation; industrial supplies; stone, glass and jewelry; textiles; wood; animal products; etc.  Sterkh, Pauls Trading, No Logo, Profod and Suprotech EU are among the leading companies.
The Czech Government strongly encourages B2B and B2C eCommerce.  There are no obstacles to establishing an eCommerce business in the CR.

eCommerce Services

ECommerce services include legal, accounting and consulting services; trade and tax compliance; PR and marketing; and business opportunities (B2B sales). Lists of trade lead contacts for manufacturers, distributors, wholesale agents, buying offices, importers and exporters, are available at http://www.scalefast.com. ECommerce web services can be found at: http://www.shopify.com. Czech companies use the above-mentioned non-Czech websites.  

eCommerce Intellectual Property Rights

Several principles are important for effective management of intellectual property (IP) rights in the Czech Republic. It is important to have an overall strategy to protect company IP. Second, IP may be protected differently in the Czech Republic than in the United States. Third, the IP rights must be registered and enforced in the Czech Republic under local laws. For example, a U.S. trademark and patent registration will not protect a U.S. company in the Czech Republic. There is no such thing as an “international copyright” that will automatically protect an author’s writings throughout the entire world. Protection against unauthorized use in a particular country basically depends on the national laws of that country. However, most countries do offer copyright protection to foreign works in accordance with international agreements.

Popular eCommerce Sites

The most popular online shops in the Czech Republic include www.alza.cz; www.mall.cz; www.kasa.cz; www.CZC.cz ; and www.123shop.cz; www.monkeydata.cz

Online Payment

Credit cards are popular among Czech consumers for online purchases. Multinational financial corporations like Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, American Express and Discover process payments between merchants and card issuing banks. Online payments in the Czech Republic are processed as follows: 76 percent - credit cards, 20 percent  - pre-paid cards, 10 percent – ewallets, eight percent - bank transfers and three percent – mobiles. All major international credit cards are accepted. Electronic banking is a common practice. Banks in the Czech Republic are considered safe.  

Mobile eCommerce

Mobile devices are a key platform for digital content and communications and they are rapidly gaining ground in the retail and commercial domains. This development is driven by the huge growth in smartphone sales. In 2016, the Czech Republic’s smartphone usage increased again to almost 8.2 million devices (out of a population of 10.5 million). The widespread adoption of increasingly powerful smartphones with larger screens is improving the eCommerce experience. Meanwhile, more and more retailers are optimizing their sites for mobile shopping. 
In the past few years, the Czech Republic has experienced a boom in mobile marketing. Mobile visits to eShops have doubled. Customers increasingly use mobiles to conduct eShop searches, however, purchases still tend to be finalized on a PC as it is considered more user friendly. An estimated 35 percent of the population regularly shop by mobile. Mobile versions of eShops are also increasing. Currently, 46 percent of eShops have mobile versions.

Digital Marketing

Czech digital marketing began in 2004. Only 43 percent of companies invested in internet advertising at that time. By 2012, smartphones were being becoming popular for eCommerce which resulted in a greater use of digital advertising.  Alza, the best known Czech eShop, opened its mobile operation in 2012. Digital marketing agencies offer advice, assistance and e-commerce marketing platforms. To successfully enter the Czech market, a company must be technology and data driven. 
In 2016, companies spent almost $820 million on online advertising, a growth rate of 25 percent over the previous year. TV advertising was the most popular and consumed 45 percent of companies’ advertising budgets.  In 2016, digital marketing was second in advertising spending for the first time, with a 21 percent market share.  Digital marketing spending displaced press advertising which fell to third place. eCommerce digital marketing spending is expected to double in 2017 (compared to 2014).  

Major Buying Holidays

The major buying holidays in the Czech Republic are pre- and post Christmas/January sales, pre-Easter sales and Midsummer sales.  Pre-Christmas sales are the largest sales during the year.   
Czech eShoppers look for special online offers throughout the year. Pre-Christmas eSales are a popular time for online purchases.  Around two years ago, the Czechs started to adopt U.S. online sales practices, such as Black Friday. 

Social Media

The most popular social media in the Czech Republic include YouTube and Facebook. It is estimated that almost 95 percent of the internet connected population in the country use YouTube although users are generally watching and not uploading videos. Facebook has 4.5 million active users. Skype is used by three million Czechs every month. LinkedIn has an audience of 650,000. There is a growing interest in Instagram which has 600,000 users in the country. Google+ has 400,000 users. Compared to worldwide numbers, Twitter is less popular in the Czech Republic with 300,000 active users. Pinterest has around 60,000-100,000 users. Viber is also gaining in popularity.

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.



Czech Republic eCommerce Industry Trade Development and Promotion eCommerce