Bulgaria - Country Commercial Guide

Describes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and covers prominent B2B websites.

Last published date: 2022-09-11

Overview & Current Market Trends

Revenue in the eCommerce market is projected to reach USD 1 Billion in 2021.

(Source:  https://www.statista.com/outlook/243/130/ecommerce/bulgaria , 2021). Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2021-2025) of 12.59%, resulting in a projected market volume of USD 1,588 B by 2025. The market’s largest segment is Fashion with a projected market volume of USD 333 m in 2021. User penetration will be 44.2% in 2021 and is expected to hit 58.3% by 2025.

The average revenue per user (ARPU) is expected to amount to USD 323.80.

Popular eCommerce Sites and Platforms in Bulgaria

The five main e-commerce categories are Fashion at 32% of the eCommerce revenue in in Bulgaria followed by Electronics & Media with 31%; Toys, Hobby & DIY with 16%; Furniture & Appliances with 13%; and Food & Personal Care with the remaining 8%.

The biggest player in the Bulgarian eCommerce Market is emag.bg, which had revenue of US$52 million followed by remixshop.com with US$37 million revenue; and fashiondays.bg with US$24 million. Altogether, the top three stores account for 15% of online revenue in in Bulgaria.

Challenges with eCommerce in Bulgaria:

  • Technical malfunctioning of website during ordering or payment
  • Speed of delivery longer than indicated
  • Difficulties in finding information concerning warrantees and other legal rights
  • Wrong or damaged goods/services delivered.

eCommerce services

All major eCommerce services are available in Bulgaria via local and international specialized companies. Clients may choose from established professional companies or start ups focusing on niche services. Solutions offered include:

  • Consulting 
  • Design and Implementation
  • Online Marketing
  • Platforms & Technology - such as back-office integration

eCommerce Intellectual Property Rights

For more information about the eCommerce IPR please refer to the Investment Climate Statement: https://www.state.gov/reports/2022-investment-climate-statements/bulgaria/ (SS)

Online Payment

Paying for goods purchased online is fairly easy, secure and straightforward. Bulgaria uses similar online payment methods to the rest of Europe. Credit and debit cards are popular, with all major credit cards used online since 2016.

Alternate payment methods include SEPA, Mint, Mobiamo, and TrustPay and a local payment application https://www.epay.bg/v3main/front which is the Bulgarian system for electronic payments launched in 1999 offering customers a way to make payments for goods and services with bank cards and Microaccounts and a way to receive online payments through their Microaccount. “EPay” LLC is a certified payment service provider (Level 1 Service Provider) in accordance with the rules of international card organizations. Since 2007, ePay.bg has the highest security certification from VISA and MasterCard.

The Digital Payments market segment is led by consumer transactions and includes payments for products and services which are made over the Internet as well as mobile payments at point-of-sale (POS) via smartphone applications. The following are not included in this segment: transactions between businesses (Business-to-Business payments), bank transfers initiated online (that are not in connection with products and services purchased online), and payment transactions at the point-of-sale where mobile card readers (terminals) are used.

Mobile eCommerce

Using applications for mobile eCommerce is rising especially with the younger generation. It provides a fast and easy way to buy goods and services on the go. Excellent broadband network coverage—with 4G and 5G service—makes it very appealing to use. All major e-stores have developed mobile applications to complement their clients.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing technologies and techniques such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), social media marketing, display advertising, digital campaigns are widely used in Bulgaria to make products, goods, and services more popular and targeted to the audience.

Major Buying Holidays

‘Black Friday’ initiatives are not new to Bulgarians and have been used for years as they replicate the super effective campaigning that the U.S. introduced.  Another good popular eCommerce practices the ‘Cyber Monday’ shopper which has also shown good results for online sellers. One of the local trends in eCommerce is the introduction of the so-called group shopping websites where one can get a deal on airfare, hotel reservation, clothes etc. Examples are: www.imasdelka.com; www.deals.bg ; www.grabo.bg; www.zadrujno.bg ; www.napolovina.com;

Social Media

Facebook is the most widely used social media channel in Bulgaria with some 3.9 million Bulgarians having Facebook accounts. More than 21 percent of Bulgarians also use Youtube, followed by 14.3 percent who use Google+, 7.9 percent who use Twitter and 5 percent who use LinkedIn.  Instagram and Pintrest are other interesting channels providing sales opportunities.