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Who Are The Top 50 E-commerce Exporters In The CEE Region?

Growww Digital, the leading digital marketing agency in Central and Eastern Europe based in Hungary, annually compiles a list of the largest e-commerce exporters in Central and Eastern Europe. This year, they have published their Top 50 list, which is unique in its direct connection with the key players in the market and represents revenue trends and growth rates over the years.

Who Are The Top 50 E-commerce Exporters In The CEE Region?
Source: Depositphotos

The list aims to provide a picture of the most prominent online retailers headquartered in Central and Eastern Europe and operating in other countries within the region. We can see their sales figures, year-on-year growth and read their profiles to get an idea of how the biggest players in different sectors have developed and what they have achieved in recent years.

Statistics from the list of the top 50 e-commerce exporters in Central and Eastern Europe

The economic environment in Central and Eastern Europe has undergone significant changes since February 2022, due to the war in Ukraine and escalating inflation. These shocks have disrupted trade, increased costs and created uncertainty in the market across the region.

So there is a direct consequence: if we look at the top 50 exporters in Central and Eastern Europe, we can say that overall there has been a dramatic drop in growth rates. While the average year-on-year revenue growth for the top 50 online exporters was 48% in 2021, it fell to 10% in 2022.

Differences in performance

Amidst the economic hurdles, performance differences have been observed between different e-commerce players. Some have managed to overcome these difficulties effectively and have maintained their growth trajectory, albeit at a slower pace than during the Covid years.

The Polish group Allegro, which boasts a gross merchandise value (GMV) of more than €11bn and annual growth of 23%. It is worth noting that Allegro’s entry into the Czech market was a challenge, as there was no tradition of an outsourced marketplace model in this market. The idea of introducing thousands of Polish business partners who can deliver in just 1-2 weeks led to significant customer experience issues.

On the other hand, around a fifth of the top 50 e-tailers posted negative year-on-year sales growth results in the context of 21/22, including Dedoles (clothing), Inspio (home & decor) and Artmie (arts & crafts). Note: Dedoles, which saw excellent growth in 2020 and 2021, failed to maintain the momentum in 2022 and was down 35% year on year. Click here to see the top 50 list.

Speaking of sectors, there is no correlation between the performance of different e-commerce stores and the sectors to which they belong. This leads to the conclusion that success or failure was down to the individual business approach and how they responded to the challenges.

It may be interesting to note that within the green movement, Furbify, a company that sells only refurbished computer hardware, has grown remarkably and still has significant growth potential.

Source: Growwwdigital.com

Strategy changes

Growww Digital believes that the prudent course of action in such circumstances is to pursue a profitability-focused growth strategy that helps e-commerce companies balance growth with financial stability.

The dominant market acquisition strategy, once considered a logical approach in an e-commerce environment accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has run into problems with the outbreak of war and inflation in 2022.

The erosion of purchasing power and the escalating costs associated with global manufacturing, trade and logistics have undermined this strategy. By 2022, revenue growth trajectories have diverged, forcing e-commerce businesses to shift to a profitable growth strategy that emphasises both growth and profitability.

“There was a huge tailwind and everyone could feel like a superhero. But it also had its downside, because it was just a strong wind in the sails. Now we have to row and steer.
László Szabó, Managing Partner, Growww Digital

Szabó suggests that there are two main ways to achieve profitable growth: increasing efficiency and increasing revenue.

Revenue growth can be achieved through a “3D expansion” approach:

  • Sales channel expansion (e.g. using marketplaces)
  • Geographical expansion (penetration of foreign markets)
  • Diversification or expansion of the product portfolio

It is clear that the trend towards market opening has slowed, marking a shift from the previous growth-oriented model. More companies are now prioritising profitability alongside growth and adapting to changing economic dynamics.

Take a look at Growww Digital’s Top 50 E-Commerce Exporters in Central and Eastern Europe to see the players and their performance in recent years.
Click here to view the Top 50 list.

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