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March 1, 2012

Poland Tops E-Commerce in Europe, with 24% growth in Online Retail

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A vibrant economy and growing Internet access are fueling a boom in e-commerce in Poland.
The Centre for Retail Research, a U.K.-based retail research and consulting firm, predicts Poland will register the fastest growth in European e-commerce this year, with a 24% hike in e-retail compared to a European average of 16.1%.Shopping search engine Kelkoo also is projecting 24% growth in e-commerce in Poland, to 5.59 billion euros (US$7.4 billion) from 4.50 billion euros (US$6 billion). “Poland is getting in on the action, with the biggest increase in online sales in Europe,” says Kelkoo. “Following 33.5% sales growth between 2010 and 2011, a hike of 24% is expected in 2012.”
However behind upswing in Poland's  Internet Commerce Growth is the grim reality is that  it  ranked last in online retail sales in 2011 in Kelkoo’s analyst of 13 European nations and the fact that  Poland remains far behind Europe’s e-commerce leader, the United Kingdom, where online retail sales will reach 67.4 billion euros (US$90 billion), Kelkoo projects.
Even in Poland, e-commerce is just starting to become a major factor. Online sales will represent just 3.8% of overall retail revenue in Poland in 2012, up from 3.1% last year, Kelkoo says.18.2 million of Poland’s population of 38 million are Internet users, according to web measurement firm comScore Inc., making it the eight-biggest Internet market in Europe. A study from the European Union’s statistical office, Eurostat, says 67% of Polish households had internet access in 2011, far below the 94% of the Netherlands but well ahead of 50% in Greece.
But the growth is unmistakable. It is driven in part by Poland’s relatively strong economy, which grew about 4% in 2011 while the European Union’s economy only grew 1.6%.
Another factor is that more Polish consumers have access to the Internet at broadband speeds and  the provision of fast and cheap services for everyone in Poland has been given a big boost from the European Union with a 300 million euros (US$401 million) investment project in broadband Internet in five provinces of eastern Poland.