- American products are widely recognized and accepted for their quality, reasonable prices, and overall value. These three factors sell well in Bulgaria.
- Sales materials and labels must be written in Bulgarian.
- Statistics on market size can be unreliable and should not be used as a sole indicator when analyzing the Bulgarian market.
Trade Promotion & Advertising
The 2008 Competition Protection Act and the 2006 Consumer Protection Act regulate advertising and prohibit advertisements that either disseminate misleading information to consumers or malign the reputation of competitors. Separate legislation regulates advertising for specific products such as tobacco products, pharmaceuticals, and alcoholic beverages.
- All normal channels for advertising are available and widely used in Bulgaria: newspapers, internet banners, magazines, television, radio, and outdoor billboards/signs.
- Trade fair activities throughout major Bulgarian cities have grown significantly in recent years and serve as excellent venues for rexhibiting many U.S. products by local agents, distributors and dealers.
For additional information about trade fairs in Bulgaria, please visit:
- Plovdiv Fair
- Bulgarian Economic Forum: http://www.biforum.org
- Calendar of Fairs of the Bulgaria Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Bulgaria’s most popular local newspapers include:
- TRUD daily
- 24 CHASA daily
- STANDART daily, email@example.com
- SEGA daily, firstname.lastname@example.org
- KAPITAL daily, email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org
- KAPITAL weekly, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
- MONITOR daily, email@example.com
- BANKER weekly, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Bulgaria’s relatively low per capita income, and low-to-medium purchasing power means that consumers are price sensitive, though they are willing to spend more for high quality products. As an emerging economy, with emerging middle and upper classes, Bulgarians do have a propensity for expensive name-brand cars, accessories, and clothing.
The standard Value Added Tax (VAT) rate in Bulgaria is 20 percent. There is a nine percent, reduced VAT rate for hotel accommodations, and other goods and services. For additional information about VAT, see Deloitte’s European VAT Refund Guide 2023, Bulgaria (on page 20): https://www2.deloitte.com/be/en/pages/tax/articles/vat-refund-guide.html
Bulgaria follows EU VAT Directives. Thus, if a company is supplying goods or services within the EU, the company may be required to register for VAT.
- Resident businesses: Depending on annual revenues, resident businesses, or businesses
with a permanent establishment in a country, must register for VAT. If the turnover of VAT taxable goods and services supplied within a specific jurisdiction over a 12-month period is more than the relevant registration threshold, a company must register for VAT. In Bulgaria, the mandatory registration is approximately USD 27,500 of taxable supplies for the last 12 consecutive months.
- Non-resident businesses: In most EU states there is no VAT registration threshold for non-resident businesses. This means as soon as a company starts trading, and the good or service is a taxable supply, a company should be VAT-registered in that jurisdiction.
Sales Service/Customer Support
Bulgarian retail and industrial consumers alike expect after-sales service, customer support, and warranty commitments when purchasing imported products. All three are considered important in developing and maintaining customer loyalty. Depending on the product, it is strongly recommended that U.S. exporters consider having an EU-based service/repair facility.
Most U.S. companies operating in Bulgaria provide training for their agents/distributors. Training agents/distributors in the United States is recommended in order to communicate the firm’s distinctive corporate policies, behavior and standards.
Local Professional Services
The American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria (AmCham) is an excellent resource for identifying local businesses, legal entities, or other business professionals.
The U.S. Embassy Sofia maintains a list of local legal services providers:
Legal representation in Bulgarian courts or before administrative agencies must be performed by duly licensed members of the Bulgarian Bar Association or independent practitioners in law firms, or employees of corporations with the necessary skills.
Some larger international accounting and consulting firms have established legal offices in Bulgaria that perform some of the services offered by law firms.
- Bulgaria’s Principal Business Associations
- American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria
- Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Bulgarian Industrial Association
- Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum
- Confederation of the Employers & Industrialists in Bulgaria