The State of eCommerce in Greece

When gathering information about eCommerce in Greece, the first thing anyone would ask themselves - unless they’ve been living under a rock since 2010 - is: is there an opportunity? The answer is self-evident. But what’s the evidence?
ecommerce in greece and the greek consumer

State of eCommerce

The strongest upward trend Europe has ever seen

The great development of eCommerce and the growth of Europeans’ online shopping expertise as an effect of the Sars COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns is a well known fact.

This is particularly true for Greece. According to the European Ecommerce Report 2021, Greece is the country that presented the highest growth in terms of Ecommerce turnover (+77%). Moreover, we can go back in time to observe how such upward trend is the indisputable evidence that Ecommerce in Greece ism’t a temporary trend.
In fact, according to ELTRUN (Ecommerce and Business Laboratory of the Athens University of Economics and Business): 

-Ecommerce turnover was estimated around 9 billion before the pandemic in 2019

-in 2020, as inhabitants had to necessarily turn to the internet to find the products they wanted to buy, it increased all the way to 11.5 billion

-in 2021 it hit an outstanding 14 billion despite physical stores being open to the public. 

The raise of eCommerce pairs with the raise of cybercriminals

Unfortunately, on the flip side, the increment of online purchases has drawn the attention of cybercriminals who are taking advantage of the moment to engage in fraudulent activities or attacks to data storage servers.

Both customers and retailers have been caught off guard: the first lack the experience and the knowledge that can keep them safe from malicious third parties, the second have been so focused on adopting eCom-oriented solutions as fast as possible in order to support product demand during the lockdown that they have left behind the security of their websites. Personal data as emails, credit card numbers and loads of valuable information are therefore continuously targeted by cybercriminals. 

In 2020, ten days before Greek Black Friday an 80% increase in malicious phishing campaigns was registered across the whole country and in 2021 a mind-blowing 200% increment in phishing attempts was registered for the months from January to September. The phenomenon has spread to an extent that left no choice for the Ministry Of Civil Protection but to stat carrying out information campaigns on a very large scale and put citizens up to speed with the basics of web security. Well done!

empty box

Along with phishing, the fraudulent eCommerce-related risks for who buys online in Greece are: 

  1. Inexistent stores: these are copies of well known stores that attract viewers and turn them into customers because of their very low prices. But the store is fake and the products will never arrive. If it seems too good to be true…
  2. Identity theft: in this scenario, the customers’ personal data is intercepted during the checkout phase on a legit website. The information is then used to complete other purchases or transactions without the victim’s approval.
  3. Undelivered products: this stands on the line between bad customer service and an actual cybercrime. The customer places an order and never receives the product or receives something different, or damaged or with a strongly deteriorated quality (something that could end up in the “what you order/what you received” category).

Who is the Greek consumer?

Resilient and able to adapt

We can describe the Greek consumer as someone who had to adapt numerous times during the last two decades to several kinds of restrictions due to the economical crisis, to the EU rules to avoid default, to the pandemic, to the current recession and the effects of the war in Ukraine to the point that their ability to deal with a new situation is a skill that no other European population can even think about matching. 

Moreover, the Greek consumer loves ECommerce and technology and isn’t afraid of using it, they love to interact with DTC brands! 

After Q4 2022 a new period of sacrifice awaits

Looks like there is no rest for the Greek population. According to all surveys carried on during the last 6 months, Greeks are very aware of the moment of recession and of the future energetic crisis and are ready to cut, not only from their non essential spendings, but from their essentials as well. It emerges from a survey by the Athens Chamber of Commerce that to reduce expenses, 8 out of 10 Greeks will reduce energy consumption, travelling by car, holidays and product purchases

The Greek E-consumer profile

Greek consumer

If you have carefully read this article up to this point, you will certainly understand that to win the greek consumer you don’t need a fancy campaign nor a product suggestion by a popular influencer. It’s a matter of the price. After that other criteria follows.

Low prices and free shipping

All Greek consumers regardless age, sex or other details belonging to a specific audience, when having to chose from which store they will buy from, will consider price as the most important factor.

And not just the product price, but the final price, meaning that any additional fees during checkout – like shipping fees for instance – are a deterrent for conversions. For this reason free shipping is another element of preference, for which the Greek customers is also willing to accept longer shipping times.
They will thoroughly investigate prices with the help of comparison websites which during events like Black Friday, also during Q4 in general, register incredible peeks in traffic volumes. 

Following criteria

Even if prices mean a lot, there are also other elements that are relevant to decision making:

  • Fast shipping: is most relevant for male audiences as well as for the elderly (age 55+)
  • Security of the shopping platform is the main concern for the female audience, the same matter represents a much lower level of concern to males.
  • Positive feedback. Someone else’s previous experience with the product is what matters the most to the youngest consumers (age 16/34).
  • Among other purchasing criteria worth mentioning also the possibility of free returns as well as the simplicity of navigating the website find a relatively significant impact.

TIP: even if not directly evaluated as a purchase criteria, the vast majority of Greek consumers feel that online stores in general don’t provide a sufficient amount of information about the items they offer when compared to a physical retail store experience. Brands aspiring to launch in the hellenic peninsula should therefore have special care of this aspect when building their landing and product pages.

What will Q4 2022 in Greece look like?

With all this talk about inflation, cuts on essential services and cybercrimes, the last quarter of 2022 might be misinterpreted as a trimester of poor earnings. But if looking into it a little more carefully we can see that Q4 will be a crucial moment for sellers and customers, a moment when great movement will take place.

A little Backstory: the failure of 2022 summer sales

The failure of the previous sales season is the first clue that suggests what will happen during Q4 in Greece.
In fact the population has largely preferred to dedicate their summer budgets to vacations and entertainment rather than product shopping both online and offline, but there is more…

Waiting for Black Friday

…According to surveys, Greek consumers are specifically waiting for sales events such as Black Friday – where discounts will take place – to make their purchases up to the point that 8 out of 10 have postponed specific purchases to this period

The population is waiting for Black Friday in order to accomplish their holiday shopping as well.
The American sales festivity has totally penetrated the hellenic market and is following the American and western European pattern of becoming a period of the year rather than a single day of discounts. This means that offers will start to appear during the month of November.

greek consumer 2022

It is therefore reasonable to expect a successful sales season, but it is also necessary to remember that the effects on the Greek economy due to inflation, severe fiscal adjustments since 2010, the uncertainty brought by the war in Ukraine, the energetic prices and the very difficult economic crisis will have an effect.

A research conducted by EY Greece in collaboration with MBR outlines the consequences of the current situation on the economy with 70% of the interviewed consumers stating that they will spend less in non-essentials and 51% declaring that they will limit their purchases to essential items.
Moreover, 15% say they plan to spend more money in this period compared to last year, 53% predict that they will spend a similar amount and 32% will spend less.

Logistics and operations

Selling within the Greek market requires a profound understanding of the context and action towards what’s important for the Greek consumer.

  1. Cash On Delivery – By far the most important element for a successful eCommerce. Greece is a country where Cash On Delivery has always been the first option for online payments, way before the pandemic and its extraordinary development. However, as Cybercrime continues to represent one of the biggest threats to the Greek Ecommerce industry, arising strong trust issues within all users, being able to offer Cash On Delivery is the number one condition for a purchase to be completed. According to GRECA 49% of consumers are concerned about how their personal data is managed and this leads 36% of all eCommerce purchases to take place through Cash On Delivery while the remaining 64% having to be split among all the other payment options. Moreover, this type of transaction has been so largely used during the last two years that several companies decided, in accordance with the legal changes that occurred in Greece, to extend the maximum spending per transaction. Even if the nearest future predicts a lower spending, these recent measures testify how much a logistic provider must be able to offer a Cash On Delivery system.
  2. Free shipping – Logistic operators cannot offer free shipping, but can be flexible in warehousing conditions and delivery rates enough to enable brands to absorb the costs and put in place such marketing tactic.
  3. Shipping times and immediate availability of the product – customers want their products and they want them ASAP. This first of all means that products must be available. Many surveys show that across all customer categories, “product availability” constantly makes it to the top 5 requisites a product must carry in order for a viewer to decide to purchase it from a specific website (for male customers this requisite stands at number 2). In addition to this, delivery must be fast especially for customers aged 50+ who have ranked as the most impatient.

The Greek Ecommerce market calls for versatile logistics and delivery solutions

cash on delivery in greece

DTC brands can find breeding grounds for success within the Greek economy if and only if:

  • They sell products that are problem-solvers rather than wow-factor strikers
  • The price is considered worth the problem it will solve
  • Stores present various payment options, from prepaid to cash on delivery. This will add points to its trustworthiness and satisfy consumer’s behaviour
  • Delivery is fast and on point

With Borderl3ss you can offer the exact range of services that you buyer persona needs.
We deliver your products in 72 hours average to every Greek destination both for prepaid or Cash on Delivery transactions. Enjoy the benefits of managing your shipments from one single operational point and scale your business with the time and money that we’ll save you… maybe to another European country (for which we will have the perfect solution of course). Book an appointment with our team HERE.

Robin Calandri

Robin Calandri

DTC Fulfillment Blog

Find all the information you need to optimize your European fulfillment operations. 

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