According to the Eastern Europe B2C E-Commerce and Online Payment Market 2019 report, online retail sales in Eastern European countries continue a trend of double-digit growth rates this year, a release said.
The country at the head of the B2C eCommerce market is Russia, where online shopping revenues are expected to double between this year and 2023.
Cards are the most common means of online payment in Turkey, Russia and a few other Eastern European countries. In most other countries, however, digital wallets, bank transfers, cash on delivery or other forms of payment are used for eCommerce sales.
Some companies do better regionally. For example, Allegro is most popular in Poland, Heureka does well in the Czech Republic, eMag is popular Romania and Wildberries is used in Russia, among others. Cross-border shopping platforms like AliExpress are also popular in the region.
Sources reported at the time that Alibaba was close to finalizing a partnership with Russian internet company Mail.ru and sovereign wealth fund Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).
“This is an important investment and it is very much part of the digital silk road,” said one Russian participant in the deal.
The partnership has been in the works for a while. Last year, Kirill Dmitriev, RDIF’s head, told Russian President Vladimir Putin that it would soon announce “investment in a number of our internet platforms with the aim of expanding their operations abroad, as well as an investment with Alibaba in internet logistics infrastructure in Russia.”
Alibaba’s Jack Ma has made Russia a priority for his company, even sharing a stage with Putin last year. “We think Alibaba should join forces in developing Russia,” Ma said at the time.
Alibaba opened its first office in Russia in 2015 and has focused on the country as a key growth market. Though eCommerce in Russia is behind the rest of Europe, more than half of its 140 million citizens use the internet every day. AliExpress, Alibaba’s cross-border eCommerce business, is the most-visited site in Russia.