One year of e-commerce in Hungary: what and how did we buy online?

We ordered online more often in 2020, we preferred to pay cashless, have it delivered by courier and the most popular category was clothing, but there was also high demand for household appliances online, according to Reacty Digital's annual Hungarian e-commerce consumer research. The proportion of Hungarians aged 18-79 who shop online at least weekly has doubled in the last two years, from 6% to 12%. There is a slight increase in cash payment compared to 2020, but the proportion of those who prefer cash-only solutions still seems to have stabilised at a lower level compared to previous years.

What and why to order online?

People shop online mainly for convenience and the possibility of home delivery. The third most important factor is affordability, but its influence has been steadily decreasing in recent years. In the last year, consumers have bought mostly clothing products online (39%). Other popular product categories were household appliances (38%), health-related products (34%) and mobile phones and accessories (33%). Among services, various subscriptions (internet, TV, music, movie streaming, etc.) (26%) were the most popular in the last year, but despite the epidemic situation, booking accommodation (26%) came second, also many people bought insurance (22%) online.

The average Hungarian online shopper checks three different platforms before placing an order. The most important of these are price comparison sites, the shop's own website, and search engines. Overall, a website available in Hungarian is the most important factor when shopping, although this is less emphasised for younger people (under 30). Detailed product descriptions are essential for consumers, as are product images and price.


To buy or not to buy?

In the past year, a quarter of online shoppers have ordered a product but ended up refraining from the purchase. Part of the reason for this is that they had quality concerns about the product, or it simply did not meet their expectations (24-24%). Other common reasons were that the products were not delivered on time (23%) or that customers had changed their minds in the meantime (22%). 8% of cancellers order the same product from more than one place but only take and pay upon delivery the first one that arrives and not the others. Further 11% try the product and then abandon the purchase within 14 days. This type of customer behaviour has become an increasingly sensitive issue for online shops in recent times in Hungary.

Half of the customers shopping online in the last year (54%) have encountered a situation before when they either not started the shopping process or cancelled it before placing their order because they could not find a suitable payment method. In the case of delivery methods, either they are less picky, or the options offered are more in line with what consumers expect, but in any case, the proportion of those who do not start or cancel their order due to lack of a suitable delivery method is lower (40%) than the proportion of those who cancel due to lack of a preferred payment method.

Groceries online?

A third of online shoppers have ever ordered food online, and a fifth have done so in the past year. More than half of those who have bought groceries online in the last year have used Tesco, a third have used Auchan and a quarter have used Spar (however there is an overlap, as a consumer may have ordered from more than one place during this period). Of the chains that do not currently offer online shopping, the survey found that Lidl would be the most popular among customers. Almost all online grocery shoppers believe that there is more than one store serving their area, the most important factor when choosing between them is the time of delivery, people want the store to be flexible in this respect. It is also important that the products they want to buy are available at a good price or at a special offer. Customers appreciate a phone call from the courier before arrival, as well as a polite and helpful attitude.

Payment without cash

Last year, the epidemic situation led to a significant increase in the proportion of people who prefer cashless payment methods. By spring 2021, there was some reversal in this respect, but still fewer people insist on cash at all costs compared to the pre-pandemic era. Those who shop online at least weekly have an above average preference for cashless payment, while those who shop online only annually have a higher-than-average preference for cash.

International orders

43% of people shopping online in the past year (also) ordered from a foreign webshop, mainly in the categories of mobile phones and accessories (37%), and clothing and sportswear (29%). The main reasons for this are that products are cheaper than in Hungary and that certain products are not available in domestic shops. Nevertheless, almost half of those who buy from abroad prefer to shop in Hungarian online stores, a similar proportion uses a mix of domestic and foreign shops, while ordering only from foreign shops is not common. In the past year, Wish (54%) was the number one foreign online shop, but AliExpress (44%) and eBay (33%) were also popular among Hungarians.

Briefly about the background of the survey: the survey was conducted by Reacty Digital with 1000 respondents between 11-18 March 2021. The survey was conducted among members of the Véleményem Van ( online research community. The data is representative of the Hungarian population aged 18-79 by gender, age, education, and region.

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