Online commerce in Hungary continued to grow dynamically in 2010, reveals GKIeNET’s survey published in August 2011. Sales at webstores, making up 1.8% of all retail sales in Hungary with a total value of 133 billion forints keep increasing in 2011 and may total up to 155-160 billion forints.
Online retail sales
There are very few areas in the economy that actually benefited from the recession that has been going on since 2008, with online commerce being one of them. Although many retailers feel that they are forced to undertake these developments, the increasing number of online customers does promise attractive growth potential for those who act in a timely manner.
The sales volume of online retailers amounted to almost 100 billion forints in 2009 and exceeded 133 billion forints in 2010, making up 1.8% of total retail sales. Revenues from online retail sales could amount to 155-160 billion forints in 2011, which, if actually realized, would make up 2.2% of the total retail sales. The sales volume increased 25% from 2009 to 2010, and is expected to grow by another 17-20% in 2011.
Figure 1. Sales by online stores between 2001-2011 (in millions of HUF)
Due to methodological reasons, the presented online retail sales figures do not include the data of auction marketplaces. “Sales volume” on these sites totaled 28-30 billion forints in 2010 based on the value of products they were bidding on (revenues of auction marketplaces reflect only the commission charged for the brokerage, but not the actual value of the products).
In 2010 the most popular product categories in online retail in Hungary included the following (in no particular order):
- Food and drink, gastro (prepared food);
- Household appliances;
- Books, newspapers, magazines;
- Clothing, sports apparel;
- Computer technology;
- Entertainment and other electronics.
The big ones get bigger
In 2010 the largest stores were able to increase their revenues without feeling particularly forced to transform themselves. As a result, practically all new entrants offering the traditional shopping cart system fell in the lowest revenue category.
However, a few new market players prompted the large actors, that had been relatively unstirred, to shift gears. Sites geared towards advertisements and closed theme-based communities increased in popularity at an unprecedented rate this year. In response to the new market trends, 7-8% of web stores offered their products or services on advertisement web sites, and 9-10% used auction sites for this purpose. Other online venues are typically used by smaller stores that tend to take advantage of price comparison sites, community pages and other online market places.
Services – growing discounts
We have to discuss online services as a separate category, of which e.g. tourism and insurance have been performing particularly successfully since the dawn of Internet commerce. Promotion and coupon-based shopping has been on the rise in Hungary as well since late 2010, offering deals primarily in the areas of beauty, entertainment, gastronomy, travel, sports, adventures, wellness, health and education. Online revenues from services sold via coupons and promotions will exceed two billion dollars in 2011, and it is evident that the enormous discounts that are offered increasingly attract Internet users who had been wary of this shopping option.
In the last quarter of 2010, 58% of the Hungarian population over the age of 14 (4.9 million people) had Internet access, of which 53% were daily Internet users, while the percentage of those who do not use the Internet at all dropped below 10%.
14% of the population over the age of 14 (1.2 million people) have already bought products or services online, which means that the number of those who tried their hands at online shopping increased substantially in 2010. 32% of the frequent Internet users (1+ hour monthly) has used the Internet for shopping at least once.
About the webstore survey
GKIeNET carried out its traditional annual webstore survey in the Spring of 2001. Within the framework of this project 3,000 online stores were surveyed, all of which were firms registered in Hungary and involved in online retail sales.