Poland - eCommercePoland - eCommerce
OverviewThere are no barriers to conducting electronic commerce activities in Poland, although American companies should consider the strict requirements of the personal data protection regulations and tax issues that match those of other European Union countries.
The Polish e-commerce market is currently estimated at USD 10.8 billion and is expected to reach the value of USD 17 billion in 2020. With two-digit yearly growth, it is one of fastest developing e-commerce markets in Europe. The digital economy currently accounts for 3% of the Polish economy, and it is expected to reach 9.5% of the GDP in 2020.
In Poland, e-commerce is seen as one of important drivers for economic development, greatly contributing to a rapid growth of logistics operations, E-commerce currently accounts for almost 60% of the warehouse space used by retail chains and logistics operators. Poland is a hub for several e-commerce operations serving Western European countries, including Amazon and Zalando.
The growth of e-commerce is driven by easy and affordable access to the internet through multiple tools, comfort with online purchasing, general familiarity with internet technologies as well as gradually introduced customer-friendly regulations (please see the information on the Digital Single Market below).
There are 25.8 million internet users in Poland, which represents 76.6% of the total population and includes almost all people of the age group 18-34. In general, 48% of Poles shop on-line.
Since Poles like auction services, almost half of e-shops channel their sales through auction websites. The most popular e-commerce platform in Poland is Allegro, with over 50% market share. A majority of online shops complement e-commerce sales with traditional brick and mortar operations.
Current Market TrendsAs technology changes allow customers to easily compare prices and products offered by various sellers, retailers tend to take an omnichannel approach to combine traditional and on-line sales channels to retain their customer base. They also increasingly invest in advanced analytic tools.
As for product popularity, the fastest growing segment of the e-commerce market are on-line grocery sales. This segment’s value is expected to reach the value of $670 million in 2020, a 458% increased over today’s $120 million.
Domestic eCommerce (B2C)
The vast majority of online shopping is done locally in Poland.
The most popular products bought online are clothing and shoes, toys and products for children, home appliances, electronic devices, books and cosmetics. Other popular products include car appliances, airplane, train and bus tickets, sporting goods and tourist equipment and travel services.
Cross-Border eCommerceWhile only about 10% of Poles shop at foreign stores and 40% never get involved in international e-shopping. this situation is slowly changing. At the same time, only 10% of Polish e-shops sell abroad. This places Poland, along with Romania, as one of the countries with the lowest level of cross border e-transactions in the EU.
B2B eCommerceThe B2B e-commerce market in 2016 was estimated at $60 billion, and is expected to grow at 8% a year to reach $92 billion in 2020. At the moment, only some 35% of Polish firms use internet purchasing platforms. Some 30% of businesses do not even maintain their own websites.
eCommerce ServicesIn general, e-commerce platforms in Poland are eager to work with foreign suppliers and sell their products on-line. Nevertheless, many limit their interest to European sources. They have little experience, if any, in dealing with suppliers from the United States and their logistic support for them is usually limited.
eCommerce Intellectual Property RightsPolish law enforcement agencies increasingly focus on crime ont the Internet, but intellectual property infringement continues to be a problem. According to a recent analysis by Deloitte, Poland's economy is losing billions to online piracy. In 2016, the total losses due to illegal use of content exceeded $760 million while the state treasury losses amounted to $210 million.
It is estimated that most people use both legal and illegal content, sometimes making payments to piracy services. Video and audio are the most commonly hacked content.
Please see the Intellectual Property Rights section below for general information on this topic.
Popular eCommerce SitesAllegro https://allegro.pl/ All types of consumer goods
Ceneo www.ceneo.pl Price comparison service
Empik www.empik.com Books, PC games, toys, music, tickets, gift cards
eobuwie.pl http://www.eobuwie.com.pl Bags, shoes
Euro AGD http://www.euro.com.pl Consumer electronics and home appliences
iPerfumy www.iperfumy.pl Health&beauty, cosmetics, perfumes
Dbam o Zdrowie www.doz.pl Health&beauty, OTC products, pharmacy
Mall www.mall.pl All kinds of consumer products
Marketplanet www.marketplanet.pl The largest B2B platform
Amazon has a very large presence in Poland, where it operates five fulfillment centers in addition to an R&D center. The company recently launched a Polish language site on its German platform.
Online PaymentSixty – nine percent of Polish banking customers actively use internet banking services, and this number is growing. Poland is also one of the strongest markets in Europe in mobile-payment technologies. Poland leads in the number of contactless transactions. Some 90% of all cards issued in Poland are contactless enabled (the same as in Czechia), while 83% of cards issued in Germany don’t have such an option.
Mobile eCommerceEighty-six percent of Poland’s Internet users used mobile devices to access the Internet, and over 16% use them for on-line shopping. Many e-commerce platforms continue to struggle with making their platforms user-friendly for mobile users.
Digital MarketingThe level of digital marketing in Poland is below the world average. Poland is expected to meet the 2016 world average expenditures on digital and televison marketing in 2020.
It is estimated that in the period 2012-2016, ads on Google and Facebook accounted for 64% growth of all expenses in digital marketing.
The products most advertised on-line in Poland are fashion clothing.
Major Buying HolidaysIn 2016, Poles spent USD 1.2 billion on on-line shopping for Christmas, 23% more than a year earlier. To compare, shopping in traditional stores increased by only 2.4%.
Social MediaApproximately 90% of internet users, i.e. 39% of all Poles, use social media. This is 2% above the world average. An average user spends 2 hours and 19 minutes on social media a day.
The most popular social media platform in Poland is Facebook. Seventy percent of Facebook users are active on it every day. Other popular services are YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat.
Almost all e-shops maintain their profiles on social websites.
The European Union’s Digital Single Market Initiative
Creating a Digital Single Market (DSM) is one of the ten priorities of the European Commission (EC). The overall objective is to bring down barriers, regulatory or otherwise, and to unlock online opportunities in Europe, from e-commerce to e-government. By doing so, the EU hopes to do away with the current 28 fragmented markets and create one borderless market with harmonized legislation and rules for the benefit of businesses and consumers alike throughout Europe.
The EC set out its vision in its May 6, 2015 DSM Strategy which has been followed by several concrete legislative proposals and policy actions. They are broad reaching and include reforming e-commerce sector, VAT, copyright, audio-visual media services, consumer protection, and telecommunications laws. Most of these proposals are currently going through the legislative process. DSM-related legislation will have a broad impact on U.S. companies doing business in Europe.
The three main pillars of the strategy are:
Pillar I: Better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe
- Better access for consumers and businesses to online goods and services across Europe
- Remove key differences between the online and offline worlds to break down barriers to cross-border online activity.
- Achieve high-speed, secure and trustworthy infrastructures and content services
- Set the right regulatory conditions for innovation, investment, fair competition and a level playing field.
- Invest in technologies such as cloud computing and Big Data, and in research and innovation to boost industrial competitiveness and skills
- Increase interoperability and standardization
For more information see the European Union Priorities for the Digital Single Market.
Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe
The Electronic Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) provides rules for online services in the EU. It requires providers to abide by rules in the country where they are established (country of origin). Online providers must respect consumer protection rules such as indicating contact details on their website, clearly identifying advertising and protecting against spam. The Directive also grants exemptions to liability for intermediaries that transmit illegal content by third parties and for unknowingly hosting content.
Comprehensive Market Research on e-commerce in the EU is available upon request.
For information on this topic please consult the Commerce Department’s Country Commercial Guides on EU Member States.
Alternatively, search the Commerce Department’s Market Research Library.
Value Added Tax (VAT)
The EU’s VAT system is semi-harmonized. While the guidelines are set out at the EU level, the implementation of VAT policy is the prerogative of Member States. The EU VAT Directive allows Member States to apply a minimum 15 percent VAT rate. However, they may apply reduced rates for specific goods and services or temporary derogations. Therefore, the examination of VAT rates by Member State is strongly recommended. These and other rules are laid out in the VAT Directive.
The EU applies Value Added Tax (VAT) to sales by non-EU based companies of Electronically Supplied Services (ESS) to EU-based non-business customers. U.S. companies that are covered by the rule must collect and submit VAT to EU tax authorities. From 1 January 2015, all supplies of telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services are taxable at the place where the customer resides. In the case of businesses this means either the country where it is registered or the country where it has fixed premises receiving the service. In the case of consumers, it is where they are registered, have their permanent address, or usually live.
As part of the legislative changes of 2015, the Commission launched the Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) scheme, the use of which is optional. It is meant to facilitate the sales of ESS from taxable to non-taxable persons (B2C) located in Member States in which the sellers do not have an establishment to account for the VAT.
This plan allows taxable persons (sellers) to avoid registering in each Member State of consumption. A taxable person who is registered for the Mini One Stop Shop in a Member State (the Member State of Identification) can electronically submit quarterly Mini One Stop Shop VAT returns detailing supplies of ESS to non-taxable persons in other Member States (the Member State(s) of consumption), along with the VAT due.
The Commission has received numerous complaints in relation to the new rules on ESS and is in the process of revising them.
The most important pieces of legislation on VAT are the EU VAT Directive 2006/112/EC and its Implementing Regulation 282/2011.
For more information relating to VAT on ESS visit the information page on the One Stop Shop.
Poland Trade Development and Promotion