Operating hours for most businesses in Slovenia are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the majority of retail stores close by 7 or 8 p.m., with a few staying open until 9 p.m. Most stores are open on Saturday mornings, and several shopping centers are open all day on Saturdays. Most businesses, including retail stores, are closed on Sundays.
Many Slovenian consumers prefer to pay in monthly installments, even for lower cost goods. Other approaches critical to marketing success include close and frequent contact with buyers, motivated and trained intermediaries, and aggressive market promotion.
By law, user manuals for technical equipment and content declaration, with appropriate labeling requirements for goods, must be presented in the Slovene language.
Trade Promotion & Advertising
All normal means of advertising are available and widely used in Slovenia, including newspapers, internet banners, magazines, television, radio, and outdoor billboards/signs. Other promotional techniques commonly employed are sales promotions, public relations campaigns, and trade fairs.
Truth in Advertising
The EU Directive on Misleading and Comparative Advertising establishes minimum and objective criteria regarding truth in advertising, including comparative advertising. Per the Directive, misleading advertising is defined as “any advertising which in any way, including its presentation, deceives or is likely to deceive the persons to whom it is addressed or whom it reaches and which, by reason of its deceptive nature, is likely to affect their economic behavior or which for those reasons, injures or is likely to injure a competitor.” Comparative advertising is defined as “advertising which explicitly or by implication identifies a competitor or goods or services by a competitor.” EU member states may also authorize more extensive protections against misleading or comparative advertising through national legislation. According to the European Council’s Directive on the Sale of Consumer Goods and Associated Guarantees (1999/44/EC), product specifications presented in advertising are legally binding on the seller. The link also provides changes following Brexit on January 01, 2021.
The EU Directive on Unfair Commercial Practices (2005/29/EC) several aggressive or deceptive marketing and advertising practices, including pyramid schemes, “liquidation sales” when a business is not actually closing down, and artificially high prices as the basis to offer discounts. The Directive also regulates advertising directed toward children. Additional in the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) .
Per European Council Directive 2001/83/EC, advertising medicinal products or prescription drugs is generally forbidden in the EU without market authorization. EU directives prohibit advertisers from distributing free samples of pharmaceuticals to the general public or recommending therapeutic self-medication where such medication is not suitable. Advertising text must be compatible with the characteristics listed on the product label and should encourage the product’s responsible use. Advertising of medicinal products directed toward medical professionals should include information on the product’s essential characteristics and appropriate classifications. Pharmaceutical companies and representatives are prohibited from offering inducements to physicians or medical professionals to prescribe or supply a particular medical product, and the provision of free samples to physicians and medical professionals is limited.
Nutrition and Health Claims
EU Regulation 1924/2006 dictates EU-wide criteria for product nutrition claims such as “low fat” or “high in vitamin C,” as well as health claims such as “helps lower cholesterol.” These regulations apply to any food or drink product produced for human consumption marketed in the EU. Only foods meeting certain nutrient profiles (for example, certain levels of salt, sugar, and/or fat content) may carry such claims. Manufacturers and marketers may only include such nutrition and health claims on food labels if they are on one of the EU’s positive lists. Food products carrying such claims must comply with the provisions of the EU’s nutritional labeling directive 90/496/EC and subsequent amendments.
Per EU directives, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) authorizes on a case-by-case basis functional health claims, disease reduction claims, and claims related to the health and development of children for particular products to be marketed in the EU, following the submission of a scientific dossier. Health claims based on new scientific data must be submitted to EFSA for evaluation, although simplified authorization procedures have been established. Additional information is available at https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en.
Food Information to Consumers
EU Directive 1169/2011 regulates food labeling and nutrition declaration requirements for consumer food products.
EU Regulation 1925/2006 harmonizes rules on the addition of vitamins and minerals to foods and lists the vitamins and minerals that may be added to foods. This list was most recently revised in 2017. The EU has yet to develop a positive list of substances other than vitamins and minerals that may be added to consumer food products. Until then, member state laws will govern the use of these substances.
The EU Tobacco Advertising Directive bans tobacco advertising in printed media, radio, and internet as well as the sponsorship of cross-border events or activities, while tobacco advertising on television has been banned since the 1990s per the EU’s TV Without Frontiers Directive. Advertising in cinemas, on billboards, and through merchandising is allowed, although several member states limit or prohibit these mediums as well. The EU revised the Tobacco Products Directive in 2014 to require plain packaging and larger, double-sided health pictorial warnings on cigarette packaging.
Slovenia’s major newspapers include Delo (circulation 25,000), Dnevnik (circulation 13,000), Slovenske Novice (circulation 50,000), and Vecer (circulation 6,000). Newspapers and magazines are used most often for print as well as internet-based advertising on their webpages. Major business periodicals include Finance, (circulation 5,000), Manager (circulation 8,000), Podjetnik, and Slovenian Business Report.
Major television stations include Radio Televizija Slovenija, PLANET TV, and POP TV. Proreklam Europlakat is the major “outdoor” advertiser for billboards and bus stations. The EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive regulates television broadcasting activities within the EU. Television advertising is limited to 12 minutes per hour. The Directive also limits junk food advertising during television programming for children.
Trade and Business Fairs
A list of upcoming business and trade fairs in Slovenia in 2022-23.
Fair grounds that organize trade shows include:
• Ljubljana Fair Grounds
• Celje Fair grounds
• Gornja Ragdona
Prices for goods and services in Slovenia are generally lower than in Western Europe but higher than in neighboring Western Balkans countries, due primarily to the high cost of labor and lack of competition in certain sectors. Prices are generally based on free market forces, although the government controls the prices of natural gas and railway transport. As much as a third of the economy is government owned or controlled, and the government may also influence the pricing policies of companies under its direct or indirect control. The price of gasoline is no longer controlled since fall 2020.
Purchases of most goods and services generally include a 22 percent VAT, although food items and certain other goods and services are subject to a 9.5 percent VAT. VAT for books, newspapers, music works, and maps was reduced to 5 percent in January 2020.
Customer support, sales service, and post-sale services are relatively recent innovations in Slovenia and remain poorly developed. The EU has launched a number of initiatives to harmonize national legislation to address consumer frustration over sales service and support, including product labeling, language usage, legal guarantees, and liability. Suppliers inside and outside the EU should remain aware of existing and pending legislation affecting sales, service, and customer support.
Per the EU’s Product Liability Directive, producers of goods are liable for damages resulting from product defects. Victims of such damages must prove both the existence of the defect as well as the causal link between the defect and any bodily or material injury. The manufacturer’s liability may be reduced in cases of negligence on the part of the victim. Find additional information on EU product liability regulations.
The European Commission’s Directive on the Sale of Consumer Goods and Associated Guarantees requires professional sellers to provide a minimum two-year warranty on all consumer goods sold to consumers, as defined by the Directive. Remedies available to consumers for noncompliance include:
- Repair of the good(s) in question;
- Replacement of the good(s);
- Price reduction;
- Recission of the sales contract
Local Professional Services
Slovenia does not recognize U.S. legal accreditation, and regulations regarding licenses to practice law in-country are restrictive. Some Slovenian law firms conduct business in English and are familiar with U.S. law. Information on local service providers specializing in EU law, consulting, and business development is available through the U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Mission to the European Union.
For information on professional services in other EU member states, please see the EU Member State Country Commercial Guides.
Principal Business Associations
Slovenia’s most important business association is the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIS). CCIS provides a number of essential services for companies operating in Slovenia and is an important local partner for foreign investors. With 7,000 member companies of all sizes from all regions, CCIS is a non-profit, non-governmental, independent business organization representing the interests of its members. CCIS is also an important negotiating partner in national collective bargaining agreements on minimum wages and workers’ rights.
Other important Slovenian business associations include the Chamber of Craft and Small Business of Slovenia (CCSB) and the American Chamber of Commerce, Slovenia (AmCham). CCSB is an umbrella organization that works with 62 regional chambers of craftsmen and small businesses. With more than 400 domestic and foreign company members, AmCham is one of Slovenia’s most active and influential business communities offering a number of services and networking opportunities.
Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services
There are no significant restrictions on selling U.S. products and services in Slovenia.