Google has published its findings regarding online shopping preferences, trends in Hungary – the research panel has interviewed 1000 Hungarian internet users about their web purchase attitudes, preferences between Dec 2 2008 and Feb 3 2009. The results of the e-commerce and internet search are showing no or not much surprises I think. There is perhaps one single country specific purchase, but the bulk of the data is just what you would expect of a maturing market in the EMEA region.
In numbers and conclusions – internet shopping in Hungary 2008-2009
ROPO (research online – purchase offline) is more prevalent in Hungary than in more mature western markets
Research online before purchase is especially high regarding electronics goods (like the new favorite LED TV) and travel related items and services (most typically searching for cheap flights and airline tickets as well as accommodation). 72% of users check out options on the web before making their purchase decisions.
As for travel, tourism, less than half of the respondents, 48% completes the act of purchase online, while 24% of the users make up their minds based on the data they found online to make their shopping offline.
However, regarding electronic goods, the purchase in webstores is only 22%! In other words, even though internet research plays a crucial role (72%) in buying all kinds of electronic goods, TV, mp3 player, DVD player, home theater, what have you, only a fraction of that impact can be measured through web conversions, the rest of the shopping conversions will take effect in the B&M (brick and mortar) stores.
Geo-specific online shopping in Hungary: the success of the obligatory car insurance
Similarly to electronic goods and travel services, compulsory car insurance research on the web is popular amongst more than 75% of the users, out of which two thirds of them actually complete the purchase process online.
What do Hungarians use before buying goods?
Search (no surprise here either) – 88% of users use a search engine to find the desired goods before shopping. And as Google.hu is THE most popular search engine in Hungary with approx. 98% of share in the Hungarian search market, you can treat this number is 87-88% of potential buyers searching for goods on google.
Brand pages – official brand pages like nokia.hu or philips.hu have scored second with 54% in the popularity game. I was somewhat surprised by this result, as my gut instinct told me the second most popular search channel before purchase would be price comparison. But it is brand pages, there you go.
Retail stores – 49% – this is understandable, especially talking about trusted stores. Oftentimes users would like to see how much an item is going to cost for them. This vital information is not on a manufacturer’s site.
Shopping comparison / Price comparison – 48%. I wonder how western users use price comparison sites compared to manufacturer sites when it comes to researching and purchasing goods online, as my instinct tells me that shopping comparison is far more popular, but in Hungary brand sites outscored price comparison sites by 6%. Not a big difference, based on a 1000 respondents, but it is telling. As I have been working for the number 1 most visited Hungarian comparison shopping site (Árukereső), I think one of the reasons for this result is that users sometimes get confused about comparison shopping sites, they simply assume they are in another retail stores and wish to complete their purchase right on the site. Besides, another percentage of internet users in Hungary do not expect to get the updated fresh and detailed product information on price comparison or web retail shops, so they go the the manufacturer page (prices missing there, so it is in the early research phase I guess). Brands are brands after all, with a weightier brand value than most retails stores or comparison shopping sites or online auction sites have so far achieved.
Auction sites – 44%: Vatera and Teszvesz are the online auction sites in Hungary. We do not even need to say the two top, they are, period. In 2008 both were bought up (majority investment not total) by Allegro group (of Naspers), and in July 2009 Árukereső, the previously mentioned comparison shopping site has also become an Allegro group asset. That’s why one of the Hungarian twitter users was referring to the news that the local ebay in Hungary is in formation…
As for advertising, it is pretty obvious that e-commerce companies, travel service providers, car insurance sites cannot live without working with Google (SEO for Google, AdWords PPC, SEO PR aimed at Google), but they are also dependent on shopping comparison sites (arukereso, argep, olcsobbat, depo, kirakat, shopmania – such a small country with 2-3 million users and so many comparison shopping sites, amazing right?). Other CPC tactics may include etarget (prevalent in a good range of content sites) and direct negotiations with major content sites (portals, catalogs, etc.)
PS: the illustration shows 4 columns representing the results for 4 products (digital camera, computer hardware, household equipment, and the 4th column is clothes and accessories). The vertical line (y axis) enlists the typical sources of information (TV, outdoor media, fliers, radio, direct mail, friends and family, papers, internet, earlier experience, browsing in the store, store assistant in shops, store assistant via remote communication)