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Heureka eCommerce Insider: At single percentage points below last year, Czech e-commerce shows an improvement in Q2

30. 06. 2022 | Adéla Berková

The expected year-on-year comparison of the performance of the e-commerce market, which no longer has to contend with coronavirus measures, showed a significant improvement in the second quarter. E-shop turnover figures ended at 9% below last year’s level in the second quarter, a pleasant shift from the drop in the preceding quarter. The growth was primarily demonstrated in categories relating to the energy crisis and the war in Ukraine – wood stoves, solid fuel stoves and 3D printers. On the other hand, losers of the quarter were bar equipment and roller skates – categories that were extremely successful just a year ago. This is shown by data from the shopping guide in its regular quarterly summary of Czech e-commerce. 

The months of the second quarter showed a positive trend in terms of e-commerce turnover. “We expected an improvement in the year-on-year development compared to the first quarter, as we are not comparing development with months when brick-and-mortar stores were closed. On the other hand, the war in Ukraine and rising prices across the board have significantly affected our desire and willingness to spend money”, says Tomáš Braverman, CEO of the Heureka Group, a price comparison company for the CEE region, explaining the development of e-commerce turnover over the past quarter. “The year-on-year decline of 9% therefore reflects the current social trend”, he adds. The Heureka Group’s data also shows that the closer to the Ukrainian border, the less willing customers are to spend money and the greater the tendency to save is. In Slovakia, for example, e-shop turnover in the second quarter ended at 11% lower than last year.

With Czechs in the middle of an energy crisis, fireplaces and stoves dominate online purchases

The most noticeable trend this year is the expansion of product ranges and the loss of imaginary barriers to buy anything on the internet. The second quarter on the internet was mainly marked by the strengthening of energy independence. “We see in the data that categories associated with alternative heating options have strengthened greatly. There has been year-on-year growth in sales of cookers (353%), fireplaces (330%) and solid fuel stoves (312%)”, says Tomáš Braverman of the Heureka Group, describing the trends. “The 150% year-on-year growth in sales of suitcases also shows us that people have a renewed appetite for travel”. 3D printers were the jumpers of the quarter, with year-on-year growth of 1,276%.

The trend for the future will be categories with all accessories for heating product ranges, which can already be seen this quarter with a 150% year-on-year increase in demand for band saws. On the other hand, categories that absolutely sky-rocketed during the second quarter of last year are logically not doing well year-on-year. “A year-on-year comparison shows declines by tens of percent in, for example, bar equipment (-68%), roller skates (-65%) and bicycles, scooters and sport performance testers
(-60%)”, adds Braverman.

Accessories set to lead the way, while “non-traditional” online categories will also be a draw 

“Big players are often weighed down in year-on-year numbers by last year’s extreme increases. We see that small and medium-sized shops are currently doing better, especially with 'non-traditional' categories”, says Tomáš Braverman. And it is among such players in particular that the Heureka Group’s CEO believes growth will continue. “In addition to accessories and the above-mentioned band saws, the home and garden segment, DIY equipment and selected sports categories will generally do well this summer. This period will benefit from what people have learned over the past year – that they can genuinely shop online for anything. Evidence of this can be seen in pergolas, garden greenhouses or bicycles. These are categories that used to be almost unimaginable in e-shopping”. Although, partly due to preparations for the season, the summer tends to be the weakest period in e-commerce in terms of numbers, the year-on-year comparison should no longer drop significantly.

In the long term, the share of electronics or large appliances on the internet is declining. “People have already equipped themselves with the products from this range in previous years, and there is no need to replace a new fridge so often. And as our data shows, the decline in sales of electronics is mainly due to the expansion of the range of e-shops and the arrival of new players on the market”, adds Braverman.

The quality of e-shops will remain

Customer satisfaction with e-shops remains high, specifically at 95.6%, despite declining year-on-year figures. “High overall customer satisfaction with e-shops proves that our market is simply extremely advanced. E-shops maintain their high quality, and as a result customers are willing to buy online and will keep coming back to e-shops”, explains Tomáš Braverman.

At an average of CZK 1,510, the values of orders are higher than last year by CZK 120

The average order value has increased to CZK 1,510 compared to the previous year. “The rising average order value reflects both inflation and the fact that people have bought large quantities of more expensive equipment this quarter – stoves, boilers and more. This behaviour has therefore “driven up” the average order price by CZK 120 compared to last year”, says Tomáš Braverman. “But the fact remains that inflation has not yet been reflected in goods so significantly, because products bought at their original prices are still being sold”, the CEO adds.