Electronic Commerce (eCommerce) in Greece has grown considerably over the past three years, as the pandemic crisis accelerated the country’s much needed digital transformation in both the public and private sectors of the economy, driving record increases in Β2C internet shopping and B2B transactions to match new consumption habits.
According to The Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), total e-commerce turnover in Greece skyrocketed between 2017-2022 from $5.5 billion to $22.55 billion. In 2022, of the 39,460 businesses with 10 or more employees surveyed, 38,337 reported using the Internet for professional purposes, an increase of 9% over 2021 figures. Of the businesses surveyed, 18% report receiving orders through e-shops, special applications, or EDI type messages. The turnover from these orders amounted to $22.55 billion, 6.9% of total turnover, demonstrating a 54% increase from $14.63 billion in 2021.
Out of the total eCommerce revenue the B2C retail market consisting mainly of Fashion and Apparel, Consumer Electronics, Beauty and Personal Care, Food and Beverage, Furniture and Home products, has shown a similar increase that exceeded 50% during the period from 2017 to 2022. From $1.87 billion in 2017, revenues from digital retail have doubled in 2022 to $3.80 billion and it is estimated to reach $4.95 billion in 2023.
Legal & Regulatory
Online sales are regulated by the European Union’s E-Commerce Directive. The E-Commerce Directive is the foundational legal framework for online services in the EU. The Directive establishes harmonized rules on transparency and information requirements for online service providers, commercial communications and electronic contracts and limitations of liability of intermediary service providers. It also enhances administrative cooperation between the Member States, and the role of self-regulation.
The Directive sets out basic requirements on mandatory consumer information, steps to follow in online contracting and rules on commercial communications. This covers online advertisements, unsolicited commercial communications and more.
The internal market clause is a key principle of the e-Commerce Directive. It ensures that providers of online services are subject to the law of the Member State in which they are established and not the law of the Member States where the service is accessible. Since the directive does not cover all aspects of the eCommerce relationship from seller to buyer, all other aspects are regulated by the Greek Civil Code, and the legislation for protection of consumers. The Greek eCommerce Association (GRECA) has published all relative regulations pertaining Greek eCommerce on their website.
For businesses already established in the EU, eCommerce environment, there are no licensing requirements. For those not operating in the EU, a license is required. In order to operate in Greece the company needs to register at the Greek Business Registry, which is supervised by the Ministry of Finance.
In Greece the Law 4933/2022, in which the Directive (EU) 2161/2019 (Omnibus Directive) was incorporated into Greek legislation, aims to protect consumer rights by strengthening law enforcement measures and the obligations of transparency, increasing the obligations of digital service providers in exchange for users’ personal data. In addition, it broadens the consumer protection framework to cover digital goods, content, and services. The adopted improvements relate to ensuring the proportionality of the sanctions imposed for the violation of consumer protection legislation, to strengthening the deterrent effect of these sanctions, as well as to the introduction of a clear framework of individual means of legal protection that is made available to consumers. In addition, the Greek legislation on consumer protection includes provisions for online search services that have a significant impact on the consumers and can influence their choices. Transparency in online markets is enhanced, so that consumers can be informed about how the ranking of the offers presented in an online market is determined, or the identity of the counterparty with whom they enter into a contract.
Online shopping behavior is primarily driven by online market research, price comparison, and by the significant increase of online banking. According to EUROSTAT and ELSTAT 2022 reports, 83% of Greeks are Internet users and 69% are online shoppers. Based on data collected by the Digital Transformation Observatory of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises, 22% of Greeks made their first online purchase during the pandemic and the profile of the Greek digital consumer is constantly evolving. The average digital purchase for 2022 is estimated at €631, expected to rise to €780 in 2023, and reach the €1,100 scale by 2027. According to available data, 27% of consumers make at least one purchase per quarter and 38% make six or more times. Greek consumers are increasingly participating in cross-border online shopping, with popular destinations being other European Union countries, the United States, and China. This has prompted many Greek retailers to expand their online presence and offer international shipping. Most purchase products from domestic channels, while around 30% also buy from foreign channels. Several major e-commerce platforms operate in Greece, including both local and international players. Some popular platforms include Skroutz.gr, Public.gr, shein.com and zara.com. Additionally, global giants like Amazon and eBay are also available to Greek consumers.
The Hellenic E-Commerce Association (GR.EC.A) https://www.greekecommerce.gr/
Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) https://www.statistics.gr/en/home
The Federation of Hellenic ICT Enterprises (SEPE) https://www.sepe.gr/
European Union E-Commerce https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/e-commerce-directive
Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) https://www.sev.org.gr/erevnes-kai-ekdoseis/