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Polish E‑Commerce Overview 2017 – Outlook 2018

Author: Lidia Koubova

Published: 16.04.2019


National e‑commerce market and trends

According to the latest national e‑commerce standard 2017*, the Polish e‑commerce market was estimated last year to reach 38 billion Polish Zloty (EUR 8.7 billion), and thus at a growth rate of 10% vs. previous year.

Out of >120 national online shops and their representatives taking part in this interesting report, more than half estimated a 20% profit growth rate for their business vs. 2016.

Due to Poland’s central geographical location and the recently massively improved infrastructure, the national e‑commerce sector is expected to grow at double digit rates, overall for medium and large shops, over the next years to come.


national e‑commerce sector in Poland

There is a noticeable growth of newly launched e‑stores in Poland, mainly from EU originating online retailers and due to the large domestic market of 38 million consumers. About 17% of new stores operate less than a year; 65% exist for more than 3 years – a significant increase vs. 2016.

The vast variety of nationally sold online goods creates great competition between e‑vendors. Whereas in 2016, sales of automotive parts, travel and sports equipment prevailed, in 2017, there was a sharp increase of shops in the segments home & hobby, clothing & footwear and healthy lifestyle products. Within the fashion segment, 88% of all traders expected a great profit for 2017.

Polish e‑stores abroad

As per the same report*, it his however also seen, that less than 50% of Polish online businesses sell outside their home market, which indicates an immense potential for further future growth.

The main root cause of the lack of expansion are the fierce local competition and thus the increased focus on domestic consumers, yet unknown Polish brands in Western counties as well as the high transport costs for consumers abroad.


Polish e‑stores abroad

Changes in Polish consumer behaviour like EU consumers

As in other developed e‑commerce markets, also in Poland, there is a constant change in consumer order behaviour. For example orders made by consumers through smartphones, tablets or other mobile devices have risen from about 10% in 2015 to 24% in 2017.

The 2nd notable change in the national consumer behaviour is the delivery method preference:


most popular delivery method in Poland

The most popular delivery method are still courier and postal delivery, both declining 2017 vs. 2015. This change is mainly caused by growing network of parcel lockers and the increased available consumer options to order parcels delivered to collection points.

A short journey through Poland’s e‑commerce development

Over the last few years the Polish e‑commerce market has significantly increased – more than in other EU markets. Polish consumer love online shopping and are becoming more and more demanding vs. a couple years ago.

For a long time, it was just good enough to sell products at low prices, nowadays, however, the consumer focus is not only on the price, but moreover on service quality, delivery time and methods, as per their individual preferences for delivery time windows, etc.

As a side phenomenon, there are still a lot of e‑stores that close within a year of activity, mainly because there is a lack of focus on logistics and a great delivery service, which turns consumers away. Mainly caused due to poor/cheap packaging, late/delayed deliveries and a lack of delivery choices. Luckily such shops get less as the focus of survivors and most important leaders in e‑commerce is truly on quality.

A last, very important point for online trades planning to enter the Polish market are the payment conditions for consumers: payment on delivery of the parcel (cash on delivery or COD) is still very popular and may reach up to 40% of the order volume, whereas credit card payments are still considerably lower than in most EU markets, at 26% of order volumes. The situation is expected to change over the next years, however, these are market facts nowadays to be considered.

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* Internet Standard, Report 2017, E‑Commerce Standard, 7th edition, 96 pages

4th October 2018

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