Decoding Bulgarian E-commerce: Consumer Behavior and Market Dynamics

Business | May 11, 2024, Saturday // 12:22|  views


Social media platforms are currently the primary catalyst for e-commerce, with the engaging content created by marketers and modern methods of consumer interaction being pivotal factors for successful online trade worldwide. These global trends largely extend to the Bulgarian market, where sensitivity to pricing stands out as a distinctive characteristic.

Representatives from "Market Links" elaborated on this observation while presenting their research on Bulgarian consumers' online shopping habits. Conducted entirely online towards the end of 2023, the study surveyed 1,300 users about their purchasing behavior in the latter half of the year.

According to the findings, 82% of Bulgarians are internet users, translating to a potential online shopping base of 4.8 million individuals. Of these, 71%, or 3.3 million people, engaged in online shopping at least once during the specified period, with gender distribution being relatively balanced. Notably, rural areas and individuals over 60 exhibited slightly lower participation rates, at 63% and 52%, respectively.

Shopping Preferences and Decision-Making Factors

Regarding shopping habits, 71% of online shoppers reported comparing prices before making a purchase, while 52% researched similar products beforehand. Additionally, 39% checked various retailers for the same product's availability and pricing, 27% read customer reviews, and 17% sought opinions from friends or peers.

A significant majority (60%) of survey participants frequently read reviews for desired products, and 49% checked brand profiles on social media platforms. Notably, Gen Z users (born between 1993 and 2001) demonstrated a penchant for video content, with 40% engaging in this form of product exploration.

For 75% of respondents, pricing emerged as a crucial determinant in online purchasing decisions, followed by store trustworthiness (51%), promotional offers (45%), and return policies (33%). Furthermore, 42% of individuals typically plan their online purchases, while 39% plan the purchase but make the buying decision spontaneously, with 19% exhibiting entirely spontaneous shopping behavior.

Product Preferences and Delivery Options

The study revealed that the majority of online shoppers (72%) primarily purchase clothing and footwear, followed by cosmetics and personal care products (35%), books (27%), electronics (25%), and household appliances (24%).

In terms of delivery preferences, shipping costs influence decision-making, with 49% of purchases delivered to courier offices, 41% to customers' addresses, and 5% to designated pickup points. The latter option has gained traction, with merchants incentivizing this delivery method through lower costs and free shipping offers.

Despite the prevalence of online transactions, cash on delivery remains the preferred payment method for 61% of Bulgarian online shoppers, compared to 35% who opt for card payments. This preference is partly attributed to consumer trust in the seller, particularly when purchasing clothing or footwear, where physical inspection prior to payment is preferred.

In conclusion, while Bulgaria's e-commerce landscape is evolving, there is still room for growth and adaptation, particularly in terms of payment methods and the integration of online and offline retail experiences.

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Tags: online, shopping, Bulgaria, consumer, e-commerce


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