Poland - Country Commercial Guide
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In 2023, e-commerce reached a total value of $22 billion (according to estimations of PMR Online Retail Market in Poland). E-commerce in Poland, despite its maturity, is expected to continue to grow in coming years and should reach $31 billion in 2027, according to the PMR study.

Today, 77 percent of Polish Internet users already buy products online, according to Gemius’ e-commerce in 2022 report. By 2026, e-commerce is expected to account for 20 percent of all retail sales in Poland. High inflation related to the war in Ukraine has had a direct influence on consumers behavior according to Gemius’ e-commerce in 2022 report. According to the report, 58 percent of respondents declared buying as much as usual online, 28 percent said that they are buying less, and only 14 percent reported buying more.

The business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce segment also has experienced dynamic growth and reached $90 billion in 2022. In Poland, 84 percent of companies sell online, although they represent varied, sometimes quite low technical levels, and 80 percent of these companies generated less than 10 percent turnover through their online sales.

Assessment of Current Buyer Behavior in Market   

The main drivers for online shopping remain unchanged: 24/7 access, convenient payment and delivery options, and returns. In addition to increased interest in e-commerce due to the Covid pandemic, online shops continue to benefit from Poland’s retail shopping being severely restricted on Sundays. The peak of online shopping is in November and December for the Christmas holiday.

According to the Polish Statistics Office, 93.3 percent of all households had internet access in 2022. Approximately 77 percent of Polish internet users shop online, which is still below the EU average of over 90 percent.

The most active group of buyers reside in large cities or villages and are 29-49 years old. According to the PayPay eCommerce Index 2022 Report, 38 percent of millennials (26-41 years old) buy products online a few times per week.

More than 70 percent of Polish buyers use price-comparison services, such as Ceneo, owned by Allegro. Most buyers usually cross-search offers in marketplaces, shops and on social media before making a purchase. Polish buyers are very price sensitive and increasingly use the “buy now, pay later” option.

The average Polish consumer spends $370 online per month, close to the EU average ($373). Polish e-consumers appreciate local e-commerce solutions, such as Allegro and local shops, and most of the online shopping is still done locally. Cross-border online shopping currently accounts for 30 percent of all transactions and continues to grow. Poles mostly look for products unavailable locally or which can be bought at better prices online.

Delivery preferences are parcel lockers, which are the cheapest delivery option, and courier services. In addition to parcel lockers, e-commerce platforms often offer drop off/pick-up parcel services at shops and retail stores.

Poles mainly purchase online clothing and accessories (79 percent), shoes (66 percent), and cosmetics and perfumes (65 percent). Poland’s preferred payment methods are fast transfer through payment services, including PayU/BlueMedia (70 percent), the mobile BLIK payments (58 percent), credit card (43 percent), and bank transfer (40 percent), according to Gemius.

Local eCommerce Sales Rules & Regulations   

There are no barriers to conducting electronic commerce activities in Poland, but American companies should consider the EU’s strict personal data protection regulations and tax issues. Polish regulations are based on the European Union e-commerce rules.

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA) proposed by the EU Commission in December 2020 were politically approved by the EU on March 25 and April 23, 2022, respectively. These regulations aim to create a safer and more open digital space for all users and ensures a level playing field for businesses. DMA regulates large online platforms acting as “gatekeepers” in digital markets while DSA address changes, particularly in relation to online intermediaries, such as online marketplaces, social networks, content-sharing platforms, app stores as well as online travel and accommodation platforms.

In 2022, Poland has finalized implementing regulations for the EU Omnibus Directive which came into force in May 2022, aiming to end unfair promotions or false reviews. The platforms must inform users about the prior price in the case of price reduction, check whether the reviewers came from consumers of the purchased product, apply regulations according to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and consumer protection rights, inform if the price presented is personalized on the basis of automated decision-making and profiling or not, and inform whether the third party offering the goods, services, or digital content through the online marketplace is a trader or not.

Poland has already adopted some of the EECC (EU Electronic Communications Code) provisions. The final act implementing the law is predicted to enter into force sometime in 2023.

The VAT e-commerce package for online sales of goods and services entered into force on July 1, 2021, tightening the tax system. It eliminated the VAT and custom duty exemption for shipments valued below €22 and introduced the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) procedure for processing VAT payments for packages not exceeding €150 in value. Non-EU sellers, including e-commerce platforms acting as intermediaries, are now responsible for collecting VAT and reporting it to EU authorities. This can be done by the established entity in the EU or through appointing a representative responsible for VAT processing in any EU country. For sales exceeding €10,000 to non-VAT registered EU buyers, the seller must collect VAT for all deliveries to EU countries.

Local eCommerce Business Service Provider Ecosystem  

There were 53,000 registered e-commerce stores in 2021 and about 55,000 in 2022 in Poland. During the first half of 2022, 19.6K businesses registered e-commerce as additional activity to their core business, while 120,000 did so in 2021. Most new-to-e-commerce businesses were retail shops, especially grocery stores. There are a total of 250,000 businesses selling online.

The trend to establish omnichannel rapidly accelerated during the pandemic in an attempt to gain customer loyalty. A common practice is to combine sales through online stores, marketplaces, and on social media, especially Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok with brick-and-mortar operations which increasingly perform the role of showrooms. E-commerce providers constantly enhance customer service, developing a personalized approach to customers, often with the use of AI solutions, and focus on improving and streamlining product delivery options.

The most popular e-commerce online shop and marketplace in Poland, in all product categories, is Allegro, with more than 30 percent of the market share and 20.4 million users. Allegro currently hosts over 100,000 business sellers and offers its own retail lines on its platform. Since 2021, Allegro has been expanding its B2B operations, offering corporate customer discounts, rebates for large orders, and deferred payment terms. Allegro has been also building its base of international suppliers, although the offered support does not include VAT-related services. Instead, Allegro recommends outside service providers to handle these services. In early 2022, Allegro launched its international service tasking EU customers, which might also be attractive to U.S. suppliers.

With 9.2 million users in 2022, AliExpress (an online retail service owned by the Alibaba Group) is the second most popular e-commerce platform in Poland, although it lost some of its appeal after the enforcement of e-commerce package in 2021. For years, buyers accepted long delivery terms and a lack of accountability for transactions because the products, usually shipped as low-cost, were exceptionally cheap and were not taxable. In 2021, AliExpress launched its fully functional Polish website and built its first logistics center in Poland.

Amazon launched its long-expected, fully functional Polish platform Amazon.pl in March 2021. The company focuses on developing a base of local sellers, both for the internal Polish market and for international markets. Their logistics support for sellers is seen as Amazon’s strongest competitive advantage. In October 2021, the company launched its Prime Service in Poland, which challenges other suppliers and is seen as a path to accelerate the development of its customer base. So far, the number of users of the Amazon platform has been growing organically. With approximately 9,000 users in the last quarter of 2022, Amazon has yet to advance to the top ten largest e-commerce platforms in Poland.

The competitive e-commerce landscape of marketplaces is likely to evolve in 2023 and the next few years. Polish company Comarch launched its new platform wszystko.pl in 2023.

In general, smaller e-commerce platforms in Poland are eager to work with foreign suppliers and sell their products online. Nevertheless, many limit their suppliers to European sources, especially after the new e-commerce rules were introduced on July 1, 2021. Small companies have limited experience in dealing with suppliers from the United States and usually provide limited logistic support, if any.

Approximately 30 percent of Poland’s e-commerce companies outsource their logistical operations. In addition to large international logistic companies, there are many local specialized providers serving the e-commerce market, including consulting, logistics, digital marketing, and other e-commerce-related services.  A list of business service providers is available on request.

Useful contacts in Poland:   

Local events in Poland

E-commerce trade fair – October 27, 2023

For updated information on events, please check events’ websites or contact: Joanna.bereza@trade.gov.