The Czech e-commerce market exceeded expectations in the year 2015, when Czechs spent over 81 billion Czech Crowns online (2.32 Billion GBP/ 3.38 Billion USD). This was a growth of 20% against last year’s figure, according to a study from APEK, the Czech association for e-commerce. The last quarter of the year was the most successful, largely thanks to the Christmas shopping period. In Q4, the turnaround of goods sold online reached 25 billion Czech Crowns. The forecast for 2016 also looks very positive, with an expected growth of 15%.
If you are planning to target the Czech Republic with your international business, this article should provide some useful insights into the Czech e-commerce market and the online behaviours of local customers.
Size of the Czech market and internet penetration
The number of internet users and the internet penetration rate of the country are positive factors for any e-retailer targeting the Czech Republic. There are over 8.4 million Internet users from a population of 10.5 million people in the Czech Republic, a very good internet penetration rate of 80% (Internet World Stats). The speed of the internet is one of the fastest in the world. With an average connection speed of 14.5 MB/s, the Czech Republic is in the top 10 countries in the world (Akamai 2015 ranking).
Mobile penetration surpassed 50% in 2015 which is one of the highest numbers in Central and Eastern Europe. It might therefore come as a surprise that not many e-shops are actually using mobile-optimised websites. Cesky kosik roku, in a study looking at mobile e-commerce in the Czech Republic, tested 120 e-shops on mobile phones and found out that 57% of shops did not have a mobile-responsive design, so those with mobile websites will be at an advantage.
Czech online behaviours
That being said, Czechs are still not the most regular users of online shopping and many customers remain loyal to brick and mortar shops. The main barriers for customers revolve around trust in the retailer and being able to physically see the goods.
Online shopping is preferred by young and middle-aged people, as well as those with a higher level of education, according to research by APEK. Men mainly purchase computers and electronics, while women buy clothes and perfumes.
The most popular e-commerce sites in the Czech Republic are:
- Alza.cz: E-shop for electronics and computers
- Mall.cz: E-shop for white goods, electronics and computers
- Slevomat.cz: Czech alternative to popular global e-commerce site Groupon
- Aukro.cz: Online auction site similar to eBay
- Heureka.cz: Online shopping comparison portal
Despite the fact that Czech people love discounts and deals, it is important to remember that Czechs primarily value good quality products from established/renowned brands.
Tips for targeting the Czech market
Czechs can be sceptical to new portals and sites. Therefore, it is important to reinforce your site with trust symbols. The online customers’ purchasing journey must be as smooth and reliable as possible.
If you are thinking of entering Czech market, make sure that your website is written/translated into perfect Czech. Other trust symbols may include:
- Displaying the Czech flag
- Verified payments methods i.e. Visa, Maestro cards, PayPal etc.
- Prices in Czech Crowns
- Testimonials from customers
- About us page and contact details (with a Czech address and phone number)
These factors will play a key role in influencing your online visitors’ decision-making processes.
Another important aspect for Czechs is that there is a wide range of delivery options. Most customers prefer free personal collection or delivery by Czech post. Online payment is one of the less popular options.
The future of Czech e-commerce
The recent facts and figures presented by Ecommerce Europe show that the internet is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Czech Republic. The Czech online market, although challenging, is a lucrative option that no e-retailer interested in Central/Eastern Europe should overlook. It is interesting to note that global e-commerce leaders like Amazon and eBay are not present in the Czech Republic at the moment, but how long will it take?
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