eCommerce: Market Trends
Poland’s eCommerce Trends 2023: Market Share, Payment Methods & Amazon
eCommerce in Poland is growing, particularly since the pandemic has accelerated the expansion of the online market. Learn about the growth of Poland's eCommerce market, what role Amazon and Alibaba are playing, and how Polish consumers like to shop and pay online.Article by Nadine Koutsou-Wehling | December 11, 2023
Poland's Online Trends: Key Insights
eCommerce Growth Since the Pandemic: Since 2013, around 36,000 registered pure-play online stores have joined Poland's online market. This trend has seen the most notable increase since 2019, when the pandemic accelerated market growth.
Global Players Enter the Scene: Amazon expanded its presence in Polish eCommerce in 2021 with its own domain. Amazon relied on the existing infrastructure in the country, but faces competition from Poland's top online marketplace Allegro. While AliExpress succeeded in Poland, Shopee had to exit the market.
Unique Payment Preferences: Bank transfers are the most common payment method in Polish eCommerce, followed by eWallets and cards. With the introduction of buy now, pay later services, installment payments are expected to grow.
Polish eCommerce has developed tremendously over the past few decades. The country has managed to move from a primarily offline economy, where retailers engaged in eCommerce were the absolute exception, to the 26th largest ecommerce market in the world.
In the coming years, Poland’s online economy is poised for further growth, as evidenced by the competitive structure of the market and the prospects for innovation. Numbers don't lie, so let's have a look.
Since 2013, an Additional 36,000 Online Stores Have Been Registered in Poland
A decade ago, eCommerce was a niche sector of the Polish economy, attracting little attention from both consumers and businesses. But in recent years, eCommerce has seen a sharp increase in the number of registered stores in the country.
The development of pure-play online stores in Poland over the last 10 years is shown below.
While around 21,700 online stores were registered in Poland in 2013, the following five years saw barely more than 7,000 new online players. It wasn't until 2019 that there was a sharp increase, with 7,700 new online stores, more new entrants in one year than in the previous five years combined.
Since then, the number of registered online stores in Poland has been growing at a consistently high rate, with a CAGR (2019-2022) of 17%. This was to be expected, as not only did eCommerce proliferate during the pandemic, but technological advances and changing consumer preferences in recent years have provided fertile ground for businesses looking to make a profit by selling products online.
Today, there are around 58,000 registered pure-play online stores in Poland. This figure does not include offline retailers with an additional online store. The International Trade Administration estimates that the total number of businesses selling online in Poland is approximately 250,000.
Poland's eCommerce Attracts Big-Name Players
The growth of the Polish market is reflected both in the absolute number of registered online shops in Poland and in the types of new shops entering the market. Most notably, two major players stand out.
Amazon Meets Competition With Polish Domain Launch
Since consumers had been ordering products across borders using Amazon's international domains, the switch to a Polish domain presented both benefits and challenges. With 10 fulfillment centers as of December 2022, Amazon’s entry into the Polish market met with more favorable conditions than in other markets, such as Greece.
But despite Amazon’s global leadership, its move into Polish eCommerce did not go unchallenged by established competitors. In particular, Poland’s most successful marketplace, Allegro, will prove to be a tough opponent for the eCommerce giant. Prior to the launch of amazon.pl, Allegro invested in improved customer service offerings, including loyalty rewards programs, free and same-day delivery, and deferred payment options for consumers.
AliExpress Succeeds Where Shopee Fails
Still, Poland’s growth potential has not gone unnoticed among global eCommerce players, including popular online platforms from Asia such as AliExpress and Shopee. While AliExpress entered Polish eCommerce before the pandemic and managed to expand its platform throughout the global health crisis, Shopee was less fortunate.
A year after entering the Polish market in 2021, Shopee representatives announced the platform’s departure again, citing structural economic barriers and low profitability in the market. According to trans.info, it was also due to an advertising campaign unsuitable for the Polish market, which kept Shopee from effectively reaching Polish customers.
These instances show that Polish eCommerce is not only highly competitive, but also has specific market characteristics that make a one-size-fits-all approach unfeasible in the long run. The following subsection examines an important aspect of eCommerce conversion: digital payment.
Bank Transfers Lead Polish Online Transactions, Other Methods on the Rise
Understanding a market’s payment preferences is critical for businesses to offer options that resonate with consumers. Although Poland is part of the EU, this does not mean that its payment landscape is identical to other European countries.
In the case of Poland, Bank Transfers are the most preferred online payment option, accounting for 54% of online transactions:
In second place are both eWallets (i.e. PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and others) and Cards (including debit and credit cards), each accounting for 18% of online transactions.
Less popular are other payment methods, including installment payments and cryptocurrencies, although their share at 7% is still higher than the last place, which is cash-based payments (3%).
With the launch of Klarna in Poland in 2021, BNPL services (included in the chart under “Other”) are on the rise among Polish consumers. Accordingly, an increase in installment payments can be expected in the coming years, not least supported by a growing number of BNPL providers like Blik, PayU, or PayPo. This development could further contribute to Poland’s growing online market, since installment payments encourage consumers to buy more products online and pay for them according to their financial capabilities.
Consumers in Poland Look for Easy Payment Processes When Shopping Online
Payment is an important topic for Polish consumers, as is reflected in their preferences for eCommerce innovations. Based on data from Klarna Insights, we find that 59% of users in Poland cite frictionless payments as the most desired online store innovation.
This figure emphasizes the importance of a seamless checkout process for online stores. For example, abandoning a shopping cart late in the process due to a lack of viable payment methods not only cancels a potential sale, but consumers may not return to the site if their preferred payment method is not available or if it takes too much effort and time.
The second and third most desired online store innovations are personalized product recommendations (34%), the use of virtual and augmented reality, and a seamless omnichannel solution, each cited by 33% of respondents.
Finally, a personalized service is important to 27% of consumers, which can be achieved at scale by using chatbots in addition to traditional customer service agents or more recent innovations such as VR/AR and gamification tools. Voice assistants are least important to the average Polish consumer, as only 16% of users said they would like to use a device like Amazon's Alexa to shop online.
Klarna's data shows us that consumers in Poland are primarily concerned with practical issues that improve their shopping experience by simplifying existing processes and adding a layer of flexibility and accessibility to online shopping. More sophisticated innovations, such as AI and machine learning technology, do not seem to excite the majority of Polish consumers as much.
Online Market Trends in Poland: Closing Thoughts
Polish eCommerce is growing, as indicated by the large increase in the number of registered pure-play online stores. Poland's attractiveness to established online retailers like Amazon and AliExpress is evidenced by their entry into the market in recent years. But Polish consumers have specific tastes that not everyone can cater to. This is one of the reasons why Shopee failed in the market. A payment preference for bank transfers distinguishes Polish eCommerce, while in addition to Klarna, installment payment services Blik, PayU, and PayPo are hoping to establish themselves as leading payment providers.