Poland is the fastest growing e-commerce market in the EU, according to a report by the Centre for Retail Research (source: wbj.pl).
As recently as 2011, Poland was second-to-last in terms of percentage of retail business done online in a ranking with 13 other European countries. The UK topped that list, while only Italy had a smaller percentage of retail trade than Poland. According to lobby organization Ecommerce Europe, Poland’s online sales grew between 25 and 30 percent year-on-year in 2012. (source: wbj.pl)
Allegro, Poland’s largest auction site, has more than 12.5 million users who in 2012 did business with each other to the tune of some zł.10 billion (€ 2.5 billion). To put that in perspective, total e-commerce sales in Poland came to zł.23.7 billion (about € 6 billion). Outside of Allegro, the rise in sales was some zł.2 billion. (source: wbj.pl)
Where are the Opportunities, and what are Threats?
- Poland is one of the fastest growing country within the European Union
- Poland has a big population of more then 38 million (2011, source: World Bank)
- Internet penetration is high and growing and the Polish people adapt new technology and new ways of for example buying more then average in the European Community.
- Poland has growing middle class who own well running companies or earned their money in the real-estate. They only want one thing: “Western quality”!
- Polish people still like “brands”
- Poland is focusing on Innovative Economy and gets all together €105.8 billion subsidy from the European Union (source: Poland to receive bigger slice of smaller EU cake: thenews.pl).
- Poland’s graduates are much more focused on technology
- Marketing is less innovative and is copied from Western countries
- Many Polish eCommerce companies are small and often they are working low budget but they can be organized better.
- The focus of the mainstream buyers is lowest price (like almost everywhere)
- Poland’s population is decreasing and still emigrating despite of the growing economy
- The Polish population is aging more than in Western Europe
If you have a (eCommerce) business, how do enter the Polish market?
At first it depends of your business model. If you have high quality products and no competition in Poland you can probably roll your business out like you did in your home country or in other countries in the European Union. You have to watch that you reach your target group and that you will be able to get an acceptable Return On Investment on your marketing and branding activities. As 2nd step you can move a part of your operations, like IT and other back-office services to Poland and can save the costs within your whole (European) organisation.
If you have competitive products that are already available on the Polish market, you have to count that it is only easy to enter when your price is lower of for example Allegro. Assuming this will not be your approach there many possibilities to enter. Use your Western brand. Focus on a better organisation, service, faster delivery and the same Unique Selling Points you use in your present markets.
To build your brand fast you can use traditional mass communication like radio, TV, bill boards focused on direct-buy or engagement via social media actions to earn them back faster. If you would like to take more time, try to find your target groups and create Desire for your company and products on the long term. Also here moving a part of your operations, like IT and other back office services to Poland can save the costs within your whole (European) organisation.