Online Shopping in Croatia: Internet Sales of Fresh Food Jumps 700 Percent

Lauren Simmonds

As Novac/Bernard Ivezic writes on the 15th of September, 2020, online shopping in Croatia has experienced a boom ever since lockdown, and the sale of fresh food over the Internet in the first half of this year jumped by as much as seven times, while the total online store ‘capacities’ in Croatia increased by 13.9 percent, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) announced.

Individually, Konzum within the Fortenova Group (formerly Agrokor) benefited the most. Konzum is a classic retailer who was among the first to create an online store through which it offered the purchase and delivery of fresh food, thanks to which it firmly positioned himself highly in that niche. In the meantime, the largest online retailer in Croatia, eKupi, part of the M SAN group, also entered the segment of online shopping in Croatia.

Tomislava Ravlic, the director of the Trade Department of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), says that it is noticeable that consumers across Croatia have started to change their habits and that due to the pandemic, the trend of shopping online in Croatia has increased significantly.

“The first data shows us that in the month since the beginning of the pandemic, online shopping in Croatia has grown by up to 15 percent, which is a big jump when we already know that it has otherwise grown by about 12 percent annually. This trend continued in the following months, so online shopping in Croatia grew by an average of 13.9 percent in the first six months of 2020,” explained Ravlic.

Ivan Siranovic, Director of Corporate Communications at Konzum, says that the store recorded significant growth in online retail and that this trend has continued.

“Interest in buying on Konzum’s online store is still high, which is expected given that the situation with the coronavirus is still challenging and the fact that Konzum is the only retail chain in Croatia that has its own online store,” said Siranovic.

According to eCommerce Croatia, an association that brings together more than 300 online stores across the Republic of Croatia, online sales make up only 6 percent of total domestic retail. Last year, goods worth 3.4 billion kuna, or 449 million euros, were sold online.

Marcel Majsan, president of eCommerce Croatia, says that most retailers members of the association recorded a significant increase in online sales compared to the year before.

“This year, due to the epidemic, there has been a large increase in new online shoppers, who have never shopped online before, and an increase in online food sales, as many family farms have realised they can’t survive without online sales channels,” noted Majsan.

He added that he therefore expects the share of online sales in the total domestic retail picture to increase further in the coming period. He pointed out that the measures of quarantine and self-isolation reduced the resistance to online shopping in Croatia, which was present primarily among the older generations.

“Our research has shown that the first purchase is the most important for gaining trust, so those retailers who provided quality customer service during the crisis will benefit the most,” said Majsan.

Prior to the coronavirus era, travel, accommodation, entertainment tickets, as well as other products and services were mostly bought online, which couldn’t be easily enjoyed in recent months due to restrictions on movement and gatherings. Now, clothes, shoes and home supplies are the primary items being bought online, and a new hit is the sale of fresh food.

Alan Slapar, who started the GoGreen brand, and who now works at Anytime Logistics to develop and digitise domestic food producers, says that there has been a sharp increase in online food sales in recent months.

“Thanks to that, there’s a lot more talk about now in respect to the need to improve the logistics that accompanies online sales, and the last six months are proof that the market is ready for this method of distribution,” added Slapar.

He explained that individually, family farms can make very few deliveries, and smaller stores, such as neighbourhood fruit shops that have turned to online sales, generally have a problem with adequate delivery.

“Many retailers are adjusting their sales channels online,” concluded Ravlic.

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