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Internet shopping stats, trends in Hungary – Google research (via TNS)web

Posted by Annplugged on August 6, 2009

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.

Google Hungary research on online shopping

Google Hungary research on online shopping

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…

THE TAKEAWAY

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)

Posted in advertising, E-commerce, Emerging markets, Google, Google Adwords, Hungary, search, Search Engines, SEM, SEO, Shopping, statistics, users | 3 Comments »

Some of Google’s steps and challenges in emerging markets: Hungary

Posted by Annplugged on September 15, 2006

Search activities as well as search engine marketing is gaining impetus day bRocketsy day in Hungary in line with the international trends. It is rocketing in the US, and we seem to be before a major boom again. If search, Google is an obvious association, but not autmatically in the Eastern and Central part of Europe. In Hungary it is spreading. But how exactly Google Inc. is finding its way in the Hungarian market within the broader context of Central/ Eastern European context? I turned the person in charge, Dennis Woodside. And there you go: he was ready to answer, and even send his official photo. 🙂

Dennis WoodsideThe interview with Dennis Woodside, Director of Emerging Markets, EMEA (responsible for the entry to the China, Brazil and Mexico Markets, as well as for the Israel, Turkey, Poland operations launches, entry to the Russian market and the EMEA strategy & operations) was made on 13 September 2006. I hope you will find some useful information on how regional developments are going on. Feel free to comment and share your insights.

 

Anna: Google Inc. registered its Hungarian subsidiary in October last year. Does it mean that the Hungarian market, just like the Czech , Slovakian , Polish , Portuguese markets, is considered more and more mature for search engine marketing?

Dennis: The market is growing, and it is becoming interesting to us. The search traffic from Hungary has been increasing significantly, even though we did not have a domain (note: google.hu was squatted by a Hungarian firm, so Google search was only available through google.co.hu). More and more people are online: our statistics shows about 3-4 million users out of which half a million has a broadband connection. Obviously our mission is to make information available universally, and we take that mission seriously from the early days. Google’s aspirations were from the beginning to launch products and services in multiple languages, which can be done on the internet, even if you don’t have a lot of people (laughs). This means that years ago, maybe in 2001, when Google was rather small, our search service was accessible in the Hungarian language. People in Hungary use it because it is relevant, fast and brings good results in Hungarian as well as in other languages. So, yes, the Hungarian market is very interesting to us. The first step was to get back the Google domain in Hungary. People go to the URL bar and type in google.hu, and they expect to see Google, so the first thing we needed to fix was the domain and we are launching google.hu these days (note: already running)

Is there a growth in AdWords advertising parallelly with the increase in search traffic, too?

In every market where we have the advertising platform we’ve seen significant growth regarding advertising revenue alongside the search revenue. The markets are growing and Hungary is no exception.

If the volume of demand gets bigger, can we also count on the foundation of a major Center for AdWords in Europe like you are setting up in Ann Arbor in the US?

We don’t have any plans at the time, there’s nothing new that I would have to say on that.

What would you say are the biggest HR challenges in recruiting Hungarian, and in general, ex-soviet block country employees? Are the expectations regarding skills too high?

(note: e.g. the requirements for the position of Hungarian Country Consultant sound tough: “5 to 10 years experience in a line management role, like general management, sales, marketing, business development, for a high growth technology firm /entrepreneurial endeavor” considering that ‘entrepreneurial endeavor’ in itself is relatively young in Hungary, slowly developing since 1989, the year of transition)

Interesting question. Let me just tell you a kind of a story. A year ago we had no offices east of Berlin. We had nobody in the market but we had Russian, Czech, Hungarian search, and all the rest. The company realized that we need to solve that problem because when you have an office locally, you are closer to the market, so you understand what is going on. So having products that are suited for that market, and translations at a very good quality, we started recruiting. The first challenge was that people who were very good did not think Google was serious about the market, because we did not have anybody in the market in many places. I think we have brought up the track record in Poland, in Israel, in Turkey, so will we do in Hungary. Now people can look at other countries and see that we are serious, and we have done quite a bit in a short time in those countries. So that was the first challenge, and then, the second challenge is that often people have seen other non-local, American, and Western companies come in, invest and then pull out of the market. That particularly happened in the internet, but it happened in technology quite a bit, so that can be a concern. Needless to say, overcoming those concerns are really the biggest challenges.

But there are talents in the region, there are a number of entrepreneurs in all these places: if you go to Poland, there is a very robust e-commerce market, there’s a local website, auction platform that attracts more visitors than eBay in Polish. So there are very entrepreneurial, innovative companies in all these places and the internet fosters that kind of creativity. Entrepreneurial spirit has typically not been a problem.

Are there any plans to have a stronger presence in Hungary in the years to come: i.e. in addition to setting up servers in a storage room, can we expect to have more serious offices like a separate sales department, an RD center or an engineering center in Hungary in the near future?

Well, I don’t want to talk about that for competitive reasons, but the first step is to have the domain so that we can serve our users. After that, we will see what happens with the traffic. Another step is to hire the Country Consultant, whose responsibility is to help educate us on the market and also on what the opportunities are, and how we should approach that market, what strategies we should use. We will look to other examples. For instance, when we started in Poland, we thought that there was a pretty large opportunity from the beginning: our hypothesis was confirmed. It turned out that there is a large opportunity there, and the office is doing quite well. Similarly, Egypt is a country where we have seen opportunities, so we hired a Country Consultant because we did not know how to approach the market, and that person spent three months with us helping us to develop a strategy, and is now the Country Manager for Egypt, and we are opening up an office, and hiring people over there. So what is driving the business strategy in the market, I think it depends on what happens over the next little while.

Do you think that through the Country Consultant in charge of giving an overview of the Hungarian market, Google will initiate a dialog with the market players concerned? Are they welcoming to share experiences, insights about the Hungarian search engine market, search technology, and if so, in what form?

I don’t want to go into specifics on what the person is going to do. We will get the person on board, and he/she is to help us on what we are going to do in the market from a business aspect.

So I mean, are you going to use market researches or actually talk to stakeholders in the market?

I do not know. First we hire the person, and then we will figure out what we are going to do.

And when you moved into other countries, did you engage in a public dialog? For example in Poland

Yeah, in Poland we have a country manager with a team. In the last six months or so they started talking to advertisers and partners as well as developing business partnerships locally.

Talking of Poland, and about the rumors that the next center in Europe will be in Poland, if Google Inc. is to choose the next centre, what would matter more: the favorable geographical location, or rather it is dependent upon the market size?

This question is better suited for the technology teams, rather than the business teams where I work, but I can answer you generally: our approach is to go and find good engineers around the world, and some of them may choose to join an existing centre, so we have an engineering centre in Zurich, and also in London. And in some cases we may wish to open a centre, so we are looking for talents wherever they might be. For instance, we also have a centre in Moscow.

So it is rather up to the location of talents than the geographical location

Well, it is a little bit of both. But it is not necessarily the market size that is decisive for us. Israel, for example, is not a large market, but there are very talented engineers there, so we have a site director in Israel, who is building a team at the moment.

And that was the end of the interview… be back when developments are coming. At least Dennis promised to be available… 🙂

Final note: as you can see there is a lot up to the Hungarian Country Consultant, and his/her perspectives on the market. We hope the best, and wish her/him good luck in a growing interactive landscape with growing entrepreneurial spirit.

PS: By the way, I hope there have been more and more Hungarian programmers applying for the annual competition, so that we can prove our talent here and attract more attention from Google strategists.

Posted in Adwords, Country Consultant, Dennis Woodside, domain, Emerging markets, Google, HR, Hungary, industrial dialog, Poland, search, search strategies, SEM, users | 30 Comments »