How Is the Romanian Market Rising To New Heights?

Expectations for the Black Friday and Holiday season of 2022 are for overall moderate growth, a trend that shows the maturation of the Romanian online commerce market. Find out more about this unique market in the following sentences.

Romanian market rising balloon

Table of Contents

Black Friday in Romania

For 2021, the number of people saying they made Black Friday purchases were down from 2020, reaching 53% of internet users saying they shopped online on Black Friday.

According to Google searches, Romanians were interested in the Black Friday campaign. Still, there was a concomitant increase in searches related to other shopping events such as Easter, Christmas and Back To School. As a result, it can be seen that there has been a weighting of interest in Black Friday and an increase in interest in other shopping events.

Also, there is a decreasing interest in the number of searches on Black Friday but an increasing interest over the whole period. This shows that the Black Friday phenomenon is no longer concentrated around a single weekend but is spread throughout November.

In 2022, Romanian online shoppers started to plan Black Friday shopping in advance, and spontaneous purchasing decisions during this season started to disappear.

67% of Romanian online shoppers started Black Friday preparations more than 7 days before the campaign started in 2021, and we expect this trend to be present again this year. Over 90% of purchases made by online shoppers this season were necessities or products that needed to be replaced. Most Black Friday shoppers are buying products for themselves or family or shopping for gifts for the winter holidays.

The percentage of Romanians shopping online increased in 2022

Almost half of Romanians (47%) have recently made an online purchase, compared to 41% in 2021.

Romanians maintained the online shopping behaviour adopted in the summer of the 2022 pandemic buying habits in Romania.

At the same time, there is now increased interest in Google searches for:

  • saving;
  • discounts;
  • second-hand products.

In contrast, interest has decreased in entertainment, tourism and spontaneous purchases. Purchases are no longer impulses, they are considered and calculated.

Having a digital presence is becoming a matter of survival for many companies

In 2022, the Romanian e-commerce market business reached already 7 billion euros, and almost 45% of Internet users in Romania will order online, according to the Romanian Association of Online Shops (ARMO) data. When we talk about e-commerce, we are talking about one of the most booming sectors that have practically almost tripled its turnover in the last five years, from 2.8 billion euros in 2017 to 7 billion euros in 2022.

There’s also a big jump in customers turning to e-commerce. Today, we have reached almost 45% of internet users in Romania, with around 90% of the adult population using the internet. A giant leap was made in 2020. In 2019, this process was 23%, but since 2020, it has stabilized at 45%, a virtual doubling.

Although a more challenging period is ahead, online commerce will prove to be a good choice because it saves a lot of travelling, you save on transport, on petrol, and you don’t have to go to many shops. You can find everything within a few clicks, and online trade is also a highly digitized economic sector, which means it has better productivity, it has better efficiency.

Electronics and fashion category at the top of online purchases made by Romanians in 2022

The most significant advance in online purchases in 2022 can be seen in electronics, where the online share has reached 60% in 2022, and fashion, where it is close to half (45%). In addition, the vast majority of Romanians (91%) say they will continue to shop online.

Online shopping grew the most among young people in 2022. More than half of 18-34-year-olds said their most recent purchase was online, up from around 40% a year ago. In terms of devices, the data shows that half of Romanians who shop online make purchases from their smartphone.

Most popular social media in Romania

  1. Facebook: 11.5 million users in RO
  2. Youtube: 11 million monthly unique users
  3. TikTok: 7.5 million users
  4. Instagram: 6 million users in Romania

The pandemic customers remained

The advantage of online commerce is that everyone who came in during the pandemic and bought something online remained a customer. That’s a retention rate that’s rarely seen.

According to the estimates and data presented, Romanian retail sales are still growing overall, but this growth has been slowed by rising inflation and the lifting of restrictions for the summer season. There is a 4% year-on-year increase in online sales, but this is lower than the usual increases in recent years.

Although still hard to assess, the war in Ukraine will have significant consequences for the European economy and e-commerce markets. Most Romanian shops (online or offline) have already reported declines in purchasing power and consumer confidence, mainly due to high energy prices, inflation and uncertainty about the future.

Tip: Concentration on the area of crisis scenarios and borderline situations, and what we do in the area of borderline situations, communication on the area of stockpiling due to problems with stocks, and area of discounts as people are very price conscious during this period.

Top 3 reasons why Romanians are dissatisfied when shopping online

Half of the shoppers said they had dissatisfactions with online purchases, as follows:

  1. Lack of independent reviews for the products they are looking for: one in 5 respondents showed this dissatisfaction across all product types;
  2. Inability to buy without an account;
  3. The return process.

The value of retail sales in Romania grew at an annualized rate of 15% in January 2022 to 21% in August this year, boosted by rising prices, according to Eurostat and Euromonitor data.

Energy tariffs are also fuelling uncertainty during this period. Google searches in Romania related to energy prices increased by 70% in Q3 compared to Q2 2022.

Another effect of uncertainty is the orientation of Romanians towards saving and ensuring financial availability for the future.

Thus, Romanian searches on Google for:

  • bank deposits almost doubled in the first 8 months of 2022 compared to the same period last year;
  • searches for gold increased by 25% in the same period and those for credit cards by 14%.

73% of respondents actively search for reviews

Reviews were critical because, with their help, online shops could gain customer trust and generate more sales.

Respondents who actively seek reviews of products they want to buy follow (multiple choice question):

  • Whether the products were of the quality required, according to other customers’ reviews (74%)
  • Online shop responses to negative reviews (50%)
  • How real the reviews seem to be (47%)
  • See only if the sites exist (41%)
  • Comments on product reviews (39%)
  • Whether there is a regular mix of positive and negative reviews (36%)
  • Information about the speed of delivery (36%)
  • Highest possible ratings (35%)

However, 3 out of 10 online shoppers do not give reviews because 60% of them do not usually do so, 38% say they did not think of leaving a review because no one asked them to, 14% do not consider reviews important and 10% do not leave reviews unless they are rewarded for doing so (multiple answers).

What we learned about Romanian E-commerce from the past years

If we look at the evolution of e-commerce in 2020, we dare to say that 2020 was an exceptional year. The e-commerce sector reached the 5.6 billion € mark at the end of 2020.

2020 was 30% more than in 2019, when the value of online commerce was estimated at around 4.3 billion €, according to ARMO (Romanian Association of Online Shops) estimates. The increase was around 500 million € above initial forecasts amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which has accelerated the pace of online shopping and the percentage of online card payments.

Restrictions on the operation of physical stores to limit the spread of the coronavirus led to changes in consumer behaviour, which shifted strongly towards online shopping. The trend that started in 2020 continued in 2021, the second year of the pandemic.

The rate of use of online shopping among Romanian consumers decreased slightly in 2021, the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to 2020, according to Eurostat statistics.

Romania is an e-commerce hub in the region. The e-commerce sector (sales in 2021) accounts for almost half of the entire e-commerce turnover in Eastern Europe, estimated at 14 billion €.

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This is an excellent opportunity for business growth. If you need help with marketing, finance or even export analysis, let us know. Together, we will shatter any boundaries.

Thanks to the Dexfinity Editorial Staff for Creating This Article

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Michal Lichner

Michal Lichner
Head of Sales & Biz. Development
+421 911 585 689
michal.lichner@dexfinity.com

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Tomáš Karaba
Sales & Biz. Development
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Pavol Adamčák
Executive Director
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