Local e-commerce market in 2020: 7 billion EUR, + 36%

In 2020, the local e-commerce market (purchases from Romanian merchants), e-tail and services, amounted to approximately 7 billion euros, up 36% from the previous year, according to internal and external data analyzed by PayU.


Evolution of the E-commerce market


Merchants, who until last year only had development plans for online or for which this field was only aspirational, realized during the pandemic that in order to continue their business they need a process that is suitable for a full experience. online. Also, traders who were already working on some online projects found themselves in the position of accelerating them in order to support the online volume and business opportunities.


Consumers, on the other hand, have also found that they can buy and pay online and that the process is easy, fast and secure. Other reasons why consumers choose to buy and pay online are delivery near or directly to the buyer, as well as the expansion of the variety of products available have had an impact on the choice of this purchasing process.


In 2020, there were also industries that developed specifically and for which PayU offers personalized online payment products: medical and educational services. The target of these industries is a predominantly young one, with a great inclination towards the e-commerce area.


The online payment behavior of Romanians


Romanians have increasingly opted for card payment when paying online. The penetration rate of online card payment has increased by 50%, reaching 36% in 2020, with a maximum reported by some merchants of over 50%. For 2021 we estimate a 25% increase in the number of transactions paid online and we expect the penetration rate of online payment by card to reach the threshold of 39%. The total volume processed by PayU almost doubled, and the number of processed transactions increased by 61%, reaching 72 transactions per minute. The average value of a transaction increased by 22%, reaching 46 euros last year.


These figures are also the result of factors such as:


  • Many buyers make an online payment for the first time online; even one of the top local banks announced that in the first months, during the pandemic, over 300,000 Romanians paid for the first time online.
  • The one-click payment facility makes the customer experience extremely simple, secure and fast, as confirmed by the 117% annual increase in transactions paid for with this option, accounting for 38% of total payments with card made in 2020.
  • The Instant Money Back option, through which the customer receives the money within a maximum of 30 minutes from the time of confirmation of the return, a unique benefit in Europe, offered by PayU in Romania together with its partners.


The product categories where significant evolutions were registered this year are: IT&C (~ 120%), marketplace (~ 150%), fashion, (~ 60%), insurance (~ 50%), home & deco (~ 150%), food (~ 200%), utilities (~ 50%).


2021 challenges and opportunities


The growth of customers in the online environment will continue to challenge e-commerce players to find ways to keep them in the digital environment and meet their needs and expectations.


Elena Gheorghe believes that the e-commerce industry should focus on offering a positive experience to buyers, with an online purchasing process that is as easy and well optimized as possible. The standards of international traders are high and the number of Romanians who buy cross-border is increasing. Therefore, there is also pressure on local merchants when it comes to using technologies to automate the online shopping process.


From artificial intelligence to cross-channel advertising solutions, all of this is happening right now in other markets and must also be properly implemented locally.


2021 is a year of opportunities, if we treat them responsibly because the premises exist:


  • Increase the number of customers who buy and pay online.
  • The fact that both local and European authorities have announced that they will invest in digitization processes and this will contribute to the accelerated development of the market.