Spurred by the pandemic, the e-commerce market in Poland grew by a record 45% in 2020 and reached approximately 15% of the country’s retail sales, according to a new report from PMR. Such growth is hard to maintain, and we forecast markedly slower e-commerce market expansion in the next five years, even under the most bullish of scenarios. Nevertheless, we project that e-commerce will account for more than 20% of retail sales already in 2023.
The e-commerce market in Poland was worth PLN 88.7bn (€19.4bn) in 2020, growing by 45.1% compared with 2019, according to our estimates. For the period until 2026, our baseline scenario is that the market will continue to expand at a double-digit pace through 2023, and that it will grow by 7-9% per annum in the three years after that, expanding by a total of 89% over this period.
Silver commerce could drive market growth
Apart from the baseline scenario, we have developed six other, alternative scenarios of e-commerce market development until 2026. The most optimistic one is the „high digital activity” scenario, which assumes that the share of internet users in the 55-74 age group will reach more than 94% by 2026, compared to 87% in the baseline.
Interest in the internet among older age groups is growing by the year, and so is adoption of online shopping. With digitisation progressing at a rapid pace, full participation in professional, social, and cultural life is becoming almost impossible without using the Web. And seniors appreciate the many benefits offered by the internet, such as the ability to do many things faster, new forms of entertainment, etc.
The pandemic and its attendant restrictions have accelerated this trend in a big way. Before 2020 even internet-competent Polish seniors were reluctant to shop online. The coronavirus lockdowns forced many of them to overcome their misgivings.
Our econometric modelling shows that the e-commerce market’s value could vary significantly depending on the speed of digital adoption among the 55-74 age group. Assuming a more rapid rise in the number of internet users and online shoppers among seniors than in the baseline scenario, the market could be even PLN 10bn (€2.2bn) bigger in 2026 than what the baseline suggests.
Conversely, a slower pace of digital adoption in this group will result in the market being up to PLN 7bn (€1.5bn) smaller in 2026 than it would have been if the baseline materialised.
Retail Business Unit Director
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