Identifies common practices to be aware of when selling in this market, e.g., whether all sales material need to be in the local language.
Accurate statistics for market-size are not generally available. Typically, one agent or distributor can effectively cover the entire country. Several foreign companies have used partners in Albania to expand into Kosovo and other neighboring markets like Montenegro and North Macedonia (which have significant Albanian speaking populations). Improvements in road infrastructure connecting Albania with neighboring countries, particularly with Kosovo, have facilitated the growth of regional trade.
Trade Promotion and Advertising
The ad industry is developing rapidly in Albania as consumers and companies realize advertising’s effectiveness and marketing’s importance. All forms of media, including television, newspapers, magazines, radio, and outdoor billboards are used, though television remains the predominant medium with social media ads rising quickly. To a lesser extent, trade shows, sales promotion literature, and event sponsorship are also used to advertise goods and services. Albania has three national TV stations: state-owned RTSH and privately owned Top Channel and TV Klan. Dozens of local TV stations also exist. Several billboard-advertising companies offer services in the domestic market. International and domestic advertising agencies and PR firms also exist. Rules on advertising are generally liberal with a few exceptions. The government allows neither tobacco advertising nor alcoholic beverage advertising to minors. The government has also introduced restrictions on the marketing and advertising of energy drinks and sweetened beverages to minors. Advertising for over-the-counter medications is approved and monitored by the National Center of Pharmaceuticals and Medical Equipment. Advertising of registered pharmaceuticals is prohibited, and promotion of such pharmaceuticals is done through publication of literature and organization of professional scientific events.
The U.S. Embassy offers fee-based Single Company Promotions to help connect companies to major business and government decision makers in Albania.
Trade events and fairs are effective promotion channels for industrial products. Local and foreign firms rely on trade fairs to build business connections, gain market visibility, and learn about new technologies. However, due to pandemic there are no scheduled trade fairs for the period 2021-2022.
For more information on advertising and the Single Company Promotion, please contact the Embassy at email@example.com
- DDB Albania
- Ogilvy & Mather Albania
- R&T Advertising
- VATRA Advertising
- Albanian Radio Television
- Top Channel
- TV Klan
- Vizion Plus
- Monitor Magazine
Consumers in Albania are price sensitive and reliably seek bargains. Imports into Albania are subject to a 20% VAT (pharmaceuticals are exempted), which is assessed on the cost insurance freight (CIF) and value of the import plus applicable duties, which vary from 0 to 15%. When pricing products, U.S. companies should take into account competition from the EU market. Albania has a free trade agreement with the EU, resulting in no tariffs on commodity imports from EU countries.
Prices are set by the market with a few exceptions, including electricity, which is regulated primarily by the Energy Regulatory Authority. The government also defines the margin of various entities in the distribution chain of pharmaceuticals. Commodities like tobacco, fuels, coffee, spirits, beer, wine, alcohol, tires, fireworks, and batteries incur excise tax, which varies depending on the product.
Sales Service/Customer Support
Retailers in Albania may require assistance to design point-of-sale promotions. Foreign companies may need to advise their agents and distributors on shelving displays, product location, promotional campaigns, and promotional literature.
Although sales support and customer service are relatively undeveloped as marketing tools, service provided by local distributors to customers has improved.
Firms selling capital equipment or technology should emphasize customer service and product quality. American companies that seek to operate in Albania may consider training their distributors/agents to communicate the firm’s distinctive corporate policies, behavior and standards, and offer after sales service.
Local Professional Services
Local professional business services exist. The American Chamber of Commerce in Albania is a good place to start when looking for legal and other business services in Albania. A list of major local professional services is included at the end of this chapter. The U.S. Embassy’s Economic and Commercial Office can also provide lists of local professional services upon request.
- Kalo Associates
- Boga & Associates
- Wolf Theiss
- Tonucci & Partners
- Frost & Fire Consulting
- Bozo & Associates
Auditing, Tax and Advisory Services:
- PBM Accounting, Auditing, & Financial Consulting
- Grant Thornton
Principal Business Associations
There are dozens of business associations in Albania and membership in these associations generally is open. The American Chamber of Commerce in Albania is very active in the business community and open to new membership. Other business associations include the Foreign Investors Association of Albania, Tirana Chamber of Commerce, and the German Chamber of Commerce.
Major Business Associations in Albania are listed below:
- American Chamber of Commerce in Albania
- Foreign Investors Association of Albania (FIAA)
- German Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Italian Chamber of Commerce in Albania
- The British Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Albania
- Chamber of Commerce & Industry Tirana
- Chamber of Commerce and Industry Turkey-Albania
- Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services
- There are no limitations to manufacturing and selling products in the Albanian market by foreigners.