Hungary’s e-tail sector shifts into high gear

2017. 06. 14.

Hungary’s online retail trade closed an excellent year in 2016. Hungarian webshops generated HUF 427 billion (~EUR 1.39 billion) in turnover, more than 5% of the total national retail trade volume. The dynamic expansion of the online sector is not surprising as both the number of customers and order values keep increasing, concludes a fresh research report by eNET Internet Research based on responses by webshops. The research results were announced at the 14th Hungarian E-commerce Conference in Visegrád.

Figure 1: net online retail trade volume in Hungary
Source: supply-side online retail trade research by eNET, May 2017

E-tail sector soars

E-tailers did not rest on their laurels last year. Online retail trade in Hungary continued to grow, reaching HUF 427 billion (~EUR 1.39 billion) in 2016 and further increasing its share within total domestic retail trade. The most popular product categories were information technology and entertainment electronics, clothes, toys/gifts, and household machinery / white goods. The online trade volume in this last category ousted home equipment from the top 5. It’s not only the size of the market that grew but also cart values. Online shoppers spent HUF 13,000 (~EUR 42) for an average online purchase, HUF 1,700 (~EUR 5.5) higher than in 2015.

Delivery by couriers is unbeatable

The availability of delivery methods did not change: delivery by courier services remained the most widely offered, followed by personal collection at staffed stores operated by partners, and the seller’s site / office. The delivery methods based on the total value of the transactions remained unchanged: most of the total purchase value (88%) was still delivered by couriers or own employees, or was collected by customers in physical shops.

Cash payment upon delivery dominates, but bank card payment upon delivery could be the future.

In line with the previous years’ trends, Hungarian webshops primarily offer cash payment upon delivery, bank transfer, or cash payment in a shop, at a site, or in an office.

The fastest expansion, by 25 basis points, was exhibited by bank card payment upon delivery. Logistics suppliers are upgrading and expanding their services, so more and more couriers wield a POS terminal.

Cash payment upon delivery remains the most popular payment option in terms of both the number and value of orders. However, the share of payment with bank cards upon delivery was already more than 10% in both categories last year.

More and more online shoppers

More and more Internet users over 18 years of age have taken up online shopping in recent years; the e-tail boom indicates that that Hungarians have grown accustomed to this buying method. The number of online shoppers has grown by 600,000, from just above four million in 2015. Thus as many as 84% of adult Internet users now buy goods online at least once a year.

And it’s not only the number of domestic webshops’ customers that has risen in recent years. More and more people order goods from foreign online stores, too; their number went up from 1.5 million in 2015 to 2.2 million this year.

Christmas is looming

Summer is just starting but online traders are already preparing for Christmas, the prime shopping time of the year. In 2016, the pre-Christmas season was all about Black Friday deals and special online offers. There’s a good reason for all that fanfare: the share of November’s and December’s trade volume within overall online retail trade is increasing. Last year, as much as 31% of Hungary’s e-tail turnover was generated in the last two months of the year both in terms of transaction numbers and values, up from 19% of the transactions and 21% of the total order value two years earlier.


The survey was conducted by eNET in May 2017 by interviewing Hungarian webshops. Services sold online are not included.

Webshop: a retail business selling goods over the Internet, i.e. a company accepting orders via a Hungarian-language web page, and selling products in virtual carts.

The consumer e-commerce survey was conducted by eNET in May 2017 amongst regular Internet users over 18 years of age.