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: 7/6/2017

Overview

Online shoppers: 1.9 mn
Average spending per online shopper: €786
E-commerce growth in 2015: 24.2%
VAT-rate: 19%

According to data from GPeC, the absolute lion’s share of online consumers in Romania (90%) prefer to pay cash-on-delivery. But when it comes to utilities payments, travel, event tickets and other online services, paying using cards is the preferred method. The same study also shows that the average online shopper in Romania is between 25 and 35 yeard old. About 8 in 10 shoppers live in cities.

According to information from the Ecommerce Wiki, 18% (1.9 million people) of the online population have bought something online in 2015. In the same year, 1.4 million Romanian online shoppers used a mobile device to complete a purchase, while 850,000 used a mobile shopping app to order something online. The most popular product categories in the Romanian ecommerce industry are consumer electronics, fashion and home & deco. Consumers spent about €140 million ($154 million) online on clothes and shoes in 2014, FashionDays.ro estimates. The average spending per online shopper was €786 ($864.6) in 2015, according to the Ecommerce Foundation.

As in other countries, e-commerce solutions that rely on existing payment relationships have been very much successful in Romania. Currently, about three in ten online orders are placed from a mobile device.

Current Market Trends
Romania is one of the bigger ecommerce consumers in Southeastern Europe. The ecommerce market was estimated to be worth around €1.4 billion ($1.54 billion) in 2015, while it was worth €1.1 billion ($1.21 billion) in 2014 and €600 million ($660 million) in 2013. However, the share of ecommerce in total retail is still quite low, between 2.2 and 2.5%.

E-commerce in Romania grew by as much 30% in 2016, with an estimated 5000 online stores. Two obstacles continue to retard the growth of e-commerce infrastructure and deployment: a relatively low rate of credit card ownership, and the prevalence of online fraud and cybercrime. According to GPeC, an authority on Romanian e-commerce, the market for goods in Romania grew from €1.4 ($1.54 ) to €1.6 ($1.76) billion in 2015-2016. In addition, the number of internet users grew to 11.2 million in 2016 (with a national internet penetration rate of 58%), and the total value of card transactions as high as €745 million ($819.5 million), nearly 50% increase from the €514 million ($565.4 million) paid by card in 2015. Of the total online purchases, some 90% were paid by cash on delivery and over 50% were made in Bucharest.


Domestic eCommerce (B2C)
On average, Romanian people spent daily approximately €5 mil ($5.5 mil) in e-tail sector.
The average order value for the main product categories are:

  • Electro- IT&C 669.37 Ron ($167.34 -2016) vs 680 Ron ($170 -2015)

  • Fashion & Beauty 161.64 Ron ($40.41- 2016) vs 180 Ron ($45 -2015)

  • Home & Deco 474.81 Ron ($118.70 -2016) vs 220 Ron ($55- 2015)

  • Baby, Kids & Toys 203.22 Ron ($50.80 -2016) vs 210 Ron ($52.5 -2015)The top three categories of goods purchased online in 2016:
    1. Bill payments
    2. Online shopping (e-tail)
    3. Telecom services

Cross-Border ecommerce
The Romanian ecommerce association ARMO has joined Ecommerce Europe, one week after it joined EMOTA, another pan-European ecommerce association. It’s the first time ever a national ecommerce association has joined both umbrella organizations.
The European Ecommerce & Omnichannel Association has a new member. It announced ARMO, the Association of Romanian Online Stores, has joined the pan-European ecommerce association. Romania is now the 17th country to have an ecommerce association joining EMOTA.

 

B2B eCommerce
Currently, IT&C (both hardware and software), home appliances, the auto sector, home & deco, fashion and related agricultural products have the largest share in B2B e-commerce in Romania, the last two areas recording an accelerated growth.
Last year, only 10% of all players in the B2B e-commerce were using integrated platforms, which include enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools, marketplaces, online payment systems, and courier firms.


eCommerce Services
The main e-commerce services Romanian people are looking for in online shops are, in this order: free delivery, discounts and promotional campaigns, free returns (even though the current national laws leave the cost of the return to the shopper), and fast delivery.
Top 3 categories:

  • Bill payments

  • Online shopping

  • Telecom services

eCommerce Intellectual Property Rights
On February 2, 2017, The European Commission (“EC”) announced that it launched 3 investigations with respect to certain anticompetitive practices in the e-commerce sector, says Lexology. The Romanian Competition Council launched a sector inquiry in the online segment following the EC practice.
This was initially set to target the online sales of electronics and fashion products and, apparently, was extended to the majority online sold products.
The EC is investigating whether:

  • certain consumer electronics producers breached the EU competition rules by restricting the ability of online retailers of setting their own prices for a variety of products, such as household appliances, notebooks, etc.;

  • Valve Corporation, a video games producer, together with certain PC game publishers, infringed the competition rules by the use of an activation key for the video games sold;

  • there are agreements between certain European tour operators and certain hotels, by which the parties may have prevented consumers from booking hotel accommodation at better conditions offered by tour operators in other countries simply because of the consumer’s nationality or place of residence.It is likely that the Romanian Competition Council will finalize the sector inquiry in the next period and to issue some preliminary remarks or even recommendations for the market participants. It is possible that also targeted investigations to be launched, some following the footsteps of the EC cases.
    Thus, it is advisable for both manufacturers and online retailers to thoroughly analyze their agreements covering the online sales and conditions allowing access on platforms as to avoid an in-depth investigation of the Romanian Competition Council.

Popular eCommerce Sites
There are approximately 5,000 online stores in Romania, which is 11% more than in 2013, when there were about 4,500 online shops reported. The biggest online store in Romania is eMAG.ro, which expanded into Poland in January 2015. Other big online stores in Romania are Altex, Domo, Flanco and Okazii, EMAG, Elefant.

According to GPeC research there are over 20,000 websites on .ro domains that have “add to card” functionality. However, only 5,000 of these websites generate significant traffic and orders.

GPeC and key market players estimate that out of the 5,000 active Romanian online shops, approximately 200 are big and medium businesses, exceeding €1 million ($1.1 million)  in annual turnover.
Top international merchants as far as card online payments, for airlines, travel agencies and gambling websites.


Online Payment
Payment methods in 2016:

  • E-tail payments Cash on Delivery 90%

  • Online by card 6-7%

  • Other types – Online Banking, SMS 3%64% of online payments by Visa cards are for international merchants.
    Average value of Visa card transactions for Romanian online shops in 2015, €40 ($44) and in 2016, €50 ($55).

Mobile ecommerce
Most of the Romanian online shoppers preffer desktop devices instead of mobile devices when they are doing online shopping, but mobile has grown dramatically in 2016. The smartphone penetration rate grew from 50 to 70% in 2015 alone. The latter provides a ready base of shoppers for telecom providers such as Orange, Vodafone, and T-Mobile. Each provide the ability to check bank balances, pay bills and purchase calling credit online.
 

Digital Marketing
Ecommerce share in Total Retail – 4 %


Major Buying Holidays
Without any particular reason, statistics from the main e-commerce players as well as affiliate network show that Romanian people buy online most on Wednesdays and Thursdays of every week.

  • Easter Holiday

  • Christmas Holiday

  • New Year’s Eve

  • ‘Black Friday’ (Usually the last weekend in November)

Social Media

  • TV & Radio

  • Facebook

  • Instagram

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.



Romania eCommerce Industry Trade Development and Promotion eCommerce