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Croatia: Online shopping in 2022: demand shaped by external influences, with electric bikes most in demand - The last days of December are traditionally reserved for reviewing the year that is coming to an end, analyzing the demand of online consumers and reviewing the key trends that await us in the coming year. How was the year in terms of online demand? Which seasonal trends persisted, which ones got stronger? To what extent did external factors influence customer behavior and to what extent did they shape demand? We checked the data of the portal, part of the Heureka group, and extracted interesting and (un)expected data that characterized the Croatian e-commerce market in 2022.

Analyzing the most popular categories of the year on, an interesting fact is noticeable - the biggest surprise of the year and the single most popular product category in 2022 are electric bicycles, for which demand has increased by 146% compared to last year. The growth in demand for electric bicycles was noticed at the beginning of March this year, in the moments of the first drastic increases in fuel prices, and remained extremely high until the last days of the year.

The second place in the list of the most popular categories of the year was occupied by sofas, with a growth in demand of a high 130%. Another surprise in the ranking of the most popular categories refers to the category of perfumes, for which the demand for this year has increased by almost 80% compared to the previous year. The fourth place among the most popular categories went to one of the most sought-after segments of white goods - stoves (+39%), and in fifth place was the block kitchen category (+38%).

Which products did online shoppers look for the most, and which did they skip in 2022?

And in the list of the most popular products in 2022, we encountered several surprises. In first place was the Fides garden house of the Weka brand, with as many as three different models on the list of this year's most popular products. There are also two block kitchens - the Como set and the Gray set and the Relax S sofa set.

The most popular list also includes several extremely seasonal products, such as a SUP board and a Christmas tree, then Nike children's tennis shoes Force, as well as a Končar washing machine.

In addition to the five already mentioned most popular categories in 2022, we noticed a few more categories that, due to the growth in demand, turned out to be a big surprise. This year there were electric scooters with a growth of 30%, washing machines (+28%), men's sneakers (+25%), refrigerators with freezers (+21%) and wardrobes (+14%).

On the other hand, the biggest negative trend in 2022 was recorded in the category of children's sneakers, where demand was 27% lower than a year earlier, and in the category of cordless drills (-22%). Robot vacuum cleaners (-18%), televisions (-16%), laptops (-13%) and tablets (-7%) were also on the same list.  Also, compared to 2021, the demand for summer and winter car tires and swimming pools decreased.

What awaits us in e-commerce in 2023?

Last year was full of turbulence that had an immediate impact on online consumer behavior. Ever since the first months of this year, and the beginning of the war in Ukraine, there has been a noticeable increase in demand for the same products (generator sets, sleeping bags, solar chargers) throughout the CEE region.

In the spring, the drastic increase in the price of fuel encouraged consumers to start looking for alternative transportation such as electric bicycles and e-bikes while the unstable situation with energy sources directed summer and autumn online demand towards additional heating sources and products such as air conditioners and solid fuel stoves. Even the analysis of this year's Black Friday purchases indicated a rationalization of consumption, considering that some of the most sought-after products were products from the segment of small household appliances and white goods.

The trend of rationalization is expected to continue in this year as well. Consumers will avoid impulsive purchases and devote more time to informed and prudent purchases and research prior to purchase. And challenges, but also new opportunities for online retailers will be in the implementation of trends such as sustainability, new delivery methods, taking advantage of local markets and multi-channel approaches to sales