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Trade: Pandemic accelerated electronic trade: 85% of Romanians prefer online shopping


The pandemic accelerated electronic trade in Romania, which gained a tendency of getting in line with European market figures. Romanians prefer online shopping because they win time (85%), save money (69%) and are no longer stressed with going to the mall or supermarket.


The study about the Romanian e-shoppers' behavior shows there are many indicators for which they exceed the EU ones.


The biggest difference is recorded for the use of smartphones for online shopping (88% against 65%, the European average), satisfaction for easier delivery (82% versus 75% in EU) or for returning goods (65% in Romania, 55%in EU). Data were offered by DPD Romania at the event “E-commerce barometer.


Challenges during crisis period”, organized together with Profit.ro, in partnership with the Romanian Association of Online Shops. Data were obtained based on online interviews made in 21 European countries. 1,002 persons were interviewed in Romania.


The number of Romanians who buy online grew by 11% in 2020 (against 2019) and by 4% in 2021 (against 2020), and the growing tendency continues, the study shows when taking into consideration the so-called usual e-shopper responsible for 94% of online shopping. Last month, Romanian e-shoppers received 4.4 packages (EU average is 5.5), while last year they made, on the average, 50 online purchases, 15 more than in 2019.


For the Romanians, electronic purchases bring a series of advantages, which places them among the most optimistic Europeans for that chapter. Thus, Romanians consider that buying online means gaining time (85% for a European average of 78%0, saving money (69% against the European average of 62%) and getting rid of the stress caused by shopping in malls or supermarkets (75% versus the European average of 66%). In exchange, only 29% of Romanian e-shoppers are included in the loyalty programs of the stores, an aspect in which the European average is superior (35%).


The categories of products in the top in Romania are Beauty & Health Care (61%, a lot over the European average of 48%), Fashion (58%, the same as the European average) and Footwear (54% over the European average of 50%). In fact, these categories of products are in the top of preferences in all local European markets, and only the order and percentages are different. For instance, footwear ranks first in Poland (66%), fashion products in Slovakia (69%) and beauty& health care products in Hungary (46%).


Romanian e-shoppers are more demanding than European when it comes to the delivery of products bought online. They want a personalized delivery, demand to know the exact delivery time, to receive information in real time about the delivery and they want more delivery options,” said Elena Andrei, CCO DPD Romania.


Anyway, for most Romanian e-shoppers (82%) the delivery experience remains positive, in the context in which the European tendency for easy delivery is dropping (75%). The preferred delivery place remains the home address (76% on the drop compared to 2019, below the European average, which is 82%), but an important increase is recorded for the delivery preference for office deliveries (28%, while the EU average is 14%) or lockers (21% more than the EU average of 17%). The preference for deliveries at the workplace also dropped (16% against the EU average of 11%), on the background of spreading the remote work phenomenon.


A thing considered by experts as a sign of market maturity refers to returns. It is a chapter in which Romanian e-shoppers advanced a lot in the pandemic period. While in 2019 the return rate was 7%, last year it reached 19%, while the European average is 12%. Everything on the background of a high level of satisfaction towards the product return process, which 65% of Romanians consider as being easy (55% European average).


Romanians also like to buy from foreign websites. While at EU level, 52% of e-shoppers bought from sites outside their own countries, in Romania the percentage is much higher – 69%. The satisfaction degree for foreign purchases is also higher in Romania: 80% against 73% the European average.


Another interesting aspect is that Romanians preferred shops from Europe (78%, for a EU average of 73%) and massively gave up Chinese websites, which had a dropping tendency of 10%.


If we speak about foreign markets where Romanian stores have successful sales, two categories must be taken into account. On one hand there are western countries where there is a numerous Romanian diaspora (Germany, UK, Spain, Portugal, France, Netherlands, Belgium), where Romanians who left the country still prefer Romanian stores, sometimes for sentimental reasons. On the other hand, there are neighborly countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary) where a growing tendency is seen.


E-Commerce Barometer. Challenges in times of crisis” is part of a more ample study made by DPD group, a leader in the European road courier market. DPD Romania has been active in the local market since 2008, after taking over Pegasus Courier, has over 2000 employees (franchises included) and about 20 million packages delivered.