Factors and techniques critical to success in Croatia are not different from most other countries: a product or service that offers value for the money, close and frequent contact with buyers, motivated and trained middlemen, aggressive market promotion, and, for technical products, a professional and customer friendly after-sales service network in place. Often, the ability to provide financing is also important.
New products entering the market require extensive market research and mass advertising to identify potential customers’ buying patterns and preferences. This applies particularly to unknown brand names, as Croatians are very brand conscious.
Due to the size of the Croatian and neighboring markets, highly specialized products might be best marketed through a regional representative.
Trade Promotion & Advertising
Trade events and fairs are decreasing in popularity in Croatia. The largest fair venue in Croatia is the Zagreb Fair (Zagrebacki Velesajam), which organizes a number of industry-focused or specialty exhibitions during the year in sectors such as consumer goods, food processing, environmental technology, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, automobiles and automotive parts, information technology, textiles and apparel, and wine. For more information on these events, contact:
Avenija Dubrovnik 15
10 020 Zagreb, Croatia
Tel: +385 1 6503111
Fax: +385 1 6520643
The U.S. Commercial Service can assist U.S. exporters to organize a tailored company or product presentation to a selected audience. The standard Single Company Promotion fee-based service includes room and equipment rental, invitation list preparation, invitation mailing, event organization and follow up. For additional information, please e-mail the U.S. Commercial Service office at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
While the number of publications is growing, television (which reaches 90% of the market) is the most important media in Croatia for advertising. Outdoor advertising is also growing. By distribution, about 60% of advertising expenditure goes to TV, 15% to newspapers, 10% to magazines, and 5% to outdoor billboards. Radio is experiencing growing interest, currently receiving about 10% of advertising expenditures.
Croatia has four state-owned and five private TV channels as well as five regional and six local channels; satellite and cable TV bring dozens of other channels into the market. The most advertised products are telecommunications, vehicles, financial institutions, beverages, and newspapers. Croatian regulations prohibit television advertisement of tobacco, alcohol, and spirits.
The six national daily newspapers account for 60% of advertising expenditures for print periodicals. More than 6,000 billboards populate Croatia. Prices range from $140 per month to $265 per two-week period depending on frequency and category. It is recommended that 150-200 billboards be used for a nationwide launch campaign.
Key TV stations include state-owned Croatia Radio Television and privately-owned RTL and Nova TV. Key Internet service providers include HT (Croatian Telekom), A1, and Optima. There are many international advertising firms with offices in Croatia and a substantial number of Croatian advertising agencies. Public relations agencies are also available. Contact details are available from the U.S. Commercial Service.
Prices in Croatia are generally high, even compared to prices of similar products/services in Western European countries and the United States, thus making imported products price-competitive. The standard Value Added Tax (VAT) in Croatia is 25% (since 2016, there are also reduced rates of 13% and 5% for selected products and services).
Sales Service/Customer Support
In the Croatian consumer market, after-sales service is extremely important, especially in terms of providing technical and spare part services to prospective clients. Many Croatian consumers will base purchasing decisions on the prospective after-sales service for their products, especially in higher-end goods such as electronic equipment. Appointing a central distributor that stocks spare parts and provides maintenance and repair service is recommended for both existing brands and new brands breaking into the market. Foreign companies that bring strong customer support systems to the market will find themselves with a competitive edge.
Local Professional Services
Croatia offers a wide variety of high-quality professional services, including freight-forwarders, laboratories for technical/medical/sanitary testing, translators, lawyers, public relation agencies, lobbyists, etc. Most of the key international tax and accounting companies and advertising agencies also have offices in Croatia. For additional information, please e-mail the U.S. Commercial Service office at: email@example.com.
Principal Business Associations
The key U.S. business association in Croatia is the very active and well-organized American Chamber of Commerce. It has more than 300 members, of which about a third are U.S. companies and the rest are Croatian or international companies and non-profit associations. Most of the U.S. companies present in Croatia are AmCham members. AmCham Croatia is an accredited affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington and the AmChams in Europe (ACE) network.
The key Croatian business associations are the – Croatian Employers Association (a private association of about 6,000 prominent Croatian companies), the Croatian Chamber of Economy (membership is mandatory for all companies registered in Croatia), the Foreign Investors Council Croatia (FICC), and Voice of Entrepreneurs Association (Glas poduzetnika).
Limitations on Selling US Products and Services
Any company registered in Croatia is considered a Croatian legal entity, which has no limits to own assets or sell in Croatia. We are not aware of any restrictions on foreign ownership of companies in Croatia.