New research on electronic commerce and e-consumers protection

 

In the past year there have been significant changes in relation to the level of information and views with respect to e-commerce among SMEs in Serbia. They believe that, compared with the previous year, e-commerce is becoming more powerful in the SMEs sector in Serbia.

The frequency of e-purchases also increased - one of three e-customer buys or reserve something at least once a month, according to a new study (MASMI, Belgrade) which was done on representative sample of 600 SMEs as well as the 1400 respondents (18-64 years old) from all over Serbia. Study was conducted in September 2016 as part of the project activities.

 

The main conclusions of the study:

•  Internet is an essential part of a working day in MSME sector in Serbia -  97% uses Internet every day, regardless of region, company size and industry sector. Using email (on computer and mobile phone), searching/browsing and e-banking are vital activities for businesses. One in three MSMEs uses Internet to shop for business purposes – mostly equipment/machines and office supplies, and show high level of satisfaction with this purchasing channel.

Three out of four MSMEs have a company website. Having a website is practically a rule in Belgrade (and somewhat less in Vojvodina) and generally among middle sized companies, while Central Serbia and smaller companies struggle more with their online presentation. Main reason for not having a website is lack of need to invest in additional promotion with business being currently well set.

•  Every third MSME in Serbia offers their products and services online – mostly on their company website, but some of them also on their Facebook company page or advertising websites. They generally target both citizens and business consumers. Yet, majority don’t offer their products and services online because they don’t see benefits of it, mostly even without intention to open their business towards online in the future.

•  Only 16% MSMEs in Serbia offer their consumers an option to order products/services online (this % is higher in retail sector). It is mainly introduced to increase sales. Yet, for most of them, online is not yet an impactful source of business – bringing only up to 10% of total turnover.

•  Online and offline payment are equally offered options as offline (cash on delivery) payment (almost all MSMEs have some e-payment option, directly to the company or via third side online payment system). Optimistic fact is that majority are satisfied with e-shopping aspect of their business.

•  About 18% MSMEs present their products and services on the Internet, but don’t offer their consumers possibility to order and pay online. Their reason is mostly belief that introducing the ordering system is too complicated. Half of them don’t even plan to develop it in the future.

•  Main benefits of online selling for MSMEs in Serbia are higher consumer reach and faster turnover. On the other hand, privacy and security risks is what preoccupies them, together with expected lack of trust among consumers. Although MSMEs have many doubts regarding e-commerce, they rarely have a solid knowledge about the relevant legislative – three out of four don’t know any laws related to this issue. Only about 9% can refer to a law associated with e-commerce, typically the Consumer Protection Law.

•  When looking from the consumers’ perspective, MSMEs believe they can be drown to e-shopping mainly for its convenience – faster and easier vs. regular shopping. On the other hand, they state that consumers are probably discouraged by payment safety issues, problems with delivery and inability to try the product as in real shop.

•  There has been a significant change in awareness and attitudes towards e-business among MSMEs in Serbia. They believe that, compared to the previous year, e-business is getting stronger among MSME sector in Serbia. Majority state that e-business development got more attention, that MSMEs are more open to introduce e-commerce in their business, that awareness about consumer rights rose and that consumers are more comfortable with online shopping.  

   MSME e-business promotion seems to have had an impact on this change. About half of MSME have heard in the previous year about some promotional activities, mainly via Internet. The most visible were website eposlovanje.biz and workshops with MSMEs. Word of mouth has been spread by every third MSME aware of these activities.


•  Internet penetration in Serbia rises – in 2016, 3 out of 4 citizens aged 18-64 use Internet, mainly on the daily basis. Internet users are generally younger, from urban areas, with higher level of education and income. They mostly use PC or laptop to go online, but also smartphones (which considerably increased since 2015). Main online activities are browsing the Internet, visiting social networks or chatting and reading news and magazines online.

•  About 40% of current non-users are prospective Internet users (11% of Serbian citizens). The key barriers for them, along with not currently having the need, is a lack of technical knowledge. Main Internet rejecters are older citizens, who are not likely to start using it in the future (pensioners, 55+), as they don’t feel the need at all.  

•  Online shopping increased since 2015 – now 31% of Serbian citizens at least sometimes buy or order something on the Internet (42% of Internet users). It’s even more the case in urban areas, Belgrade (vs. Sumadija and Western Serbia), among younger population (up to 35) with higher education and income. Frequency of e-shopping also increased – one of three e-shoppers buy or book something at least once a month. Almost one half of Internet users research products on the Internet before making a purchase.

•  Preferred method of payment online is still cash on delivery (75%), as it is seen as safe and simple. However, online usage of payment cards increased in 2016 - every fourth online shopper uses cards for online purchasing, believing it to be the simplest way of payment. Website safety and better prices vs. offline are most important for consumers when buying online. Recommendation and website reputation (“well known website”) make a website trustworthy.

•  E-consumers consider getting the wrong or damaged product as main risks of e-shopping. Main advantages of online shopping are its convenience, time efficiency and better prices, and nine out of ten online shoppers would recommend it to their friends and family.

•  Majority of e-shoppers prefer to buy on local websites (shopping websites such as Limundo, Kupindo, kupujemprodajem), believing they are more secure or offer better prices vs. offline. Clothes, shoes and accessories are usually the goods purchased on local websites.

•  Foreign websites are the choice of those who are looking for products that can’t be bought in Serbia – mainly electronics, phones and computers. They shop mostly on Ali-express, Amazon and E-bay, generally websites from China, but also USA and Europe. Compared to those who prefer local websites, they more often book transportation or accommodation online.

•  E-shopping rejecters are older than 45, pensioners, usually with high school education and lower income. They are less likely to be from Belgrade and urban areas. Main barrier for them is that online shopping doesn’t allow shoppers to see the physical properties or try the product, so they are afraid of getting a wrong product or product characteristics (size, color etc.), or receive a defective product. Yet, they can see some advantages, mainly related to convenience of e-shopping (easier and faster).

•  Majority of e-shoppers don’t report any problem with online purchase. Still, compared to 2015, there are more of those who encountered a problem (17% of e-shoppers): they were delivered a wrong product or product characteristics, or defective product, mainly from a local website. Majority contacted the seller to complain, using email or telephone. More than a half of complaints were successfully resolved. The approaches to complain and level of successfulness remained similar as in 2015.

•  Consumers who didn’t have a problem with online shopping, are also considerably better informed about complaint procedures for local websites - in 2016 they commonly know that the complaint should be addressed to the seller in question. Also, more of them believe they can turn to inspection if the problem occurred. They would mainly use email or telephone. Situation with foreign websites is also better vs. 2015, consumers still however feel more insecure about who to refer to.

•  There has also been an increase in consumer rights awareness: more of e-consumers know they can file a complaint and get the product repaired, returned or replaced. Also, the right to get a receipt is being recognized by more of them, as well as that import duty is not charged for imported goods under 50 EUR of worth.

•  Half of Serbian citizens have heard about shopping online on TV and Internet in the last 12 months – primarily younger people, citizens of Belgrade region (and generally urban areas), with higher education and income.

•  About one in five citizens has noticed some of the e-shopping awareness rising activities, mainly of website eposlovanje.biz and e-Trustmark. Close to 60% of them spread the word about those activities to their friends and family. People who don’t shop online were less likely to spot the activities or to further talk about them.

Study on MSME E-Commerce in Serbia, October 2016

Study on E-consumer incentives and barriers in Serbia, October 2016

 

 

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Calendar of events

  • 01. 12. 2016.

    The project website is archived on 1 December 2016

  • 16. 11. 2016.

    Project closing conference

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 16 November 2016

  • 03. 11. 2016.


    Workshop for traders

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 3 November 2016

     

  • 26. 10. 2016.

    Workshop for traders

    Place: Kragujevac

    Date: 26 October 2016

  • 25. 10. 2016.


    Workshop for traders

    Place: Uzice

    Date: 25 October 2016

     

  • 21. 10. 2016.

    Training: e-business and digital aplications for SMEs

    Place: Novi Sad

    Date: 21 October 2016

     

  • 20. 10. 2016.


    Workshop for traders

    Place: Subotica

    Date: 20 October 2016

     

  • 18. 10. 2016.

    Training: e-business and digital aplications for SMEs

    Place: Kragujevac

    Date: 18 October 2016

     

  • 17. 10. 2016.

    Training: e-business and digital aplications for SMEs

    Place: Nis

    Date: 17 October 2016

  • 13. 10. 2016.


    Workshop for traders

    Place: Nis

    Date: 13 October 2016

     

  • 07. 10. 2016.

    Train the trainer

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 6 - 7 October 2016

     

  • 06. 10. 2016.

    Train the trainer

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 6 - 7 October 2016

     

  • 29. 09. 2016.

     

    Workshop: Е-business in state institutions - e-government

    Place: Kragujevac

    Date: 29 September 2016

     

  • 28. 09. 2016.


    Workshop: Е-business in state institutions - e-Government

    Place: Nis

    Date: 28 September 2016

  • 21. 09. 2016.

    Workshop: Е-business in state institutions - e-Government

    Place: Novi Sad

    Date: 21 September 2016

  • 20. 09. 2016.

    Workshop: Е-business in state institutions - e-Government

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 20 September 2016

     

  • 14. 09. 2016.

    Workshop: Consumer protection in e-commerce

    Place: Kragujevac

    Date: 14 September 2016

     

  • 13. 09. 2016.

    Workshop: Consumer protection in e-commerce

    Place: Nis

    Date: 13 September 2016

     

     

  • 09. 09. 2016.

    Workshop: Consumer protection in e-commerce

    Place: Novi Sad  

    Date: 9 September 2016

     

  • 08. 09. 2016.

    Workshop: Consumer protection in e-commerce

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 8 September 2016

     

  • 06. 07. 2016.

    Workshops: "E-commerce processes and payments" and "E-commerce processes and payments - Action Planning"

    Place: Novi Sad

    Date: 6 July 2016

    Training: process and work in cases of cyber crime

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 5 - 6 July 2016

  • 05. 07. 2016.

    Training: process and work in cases of cyber crime

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 5 - 6 July 2016

  • 29. 06. 2016.

    Training: process and work in cases of cyber crime

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 28 - 29 June 2016

  • 28. 06. 2016.

    Training: process and work in cases of cyber crime

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 28 - 29 June 2016

  • 23. 06. 2016.

    Workshops: "E-commerce processes and payments" and "E-commerce processes and payments - Action Planning"

    Place: Kragujevac

    Date: 23 June 2016

  • 22. 06. 2016.

    Workshops: "E-commerce processes and payments" and "E-commerce processes and payments - Action Planning"

    Place: Nis

    Date: 22 June 2016

  • 16. 06. 2016.


    Training: process and work in cases of cyber crime

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 15 - 16 June 2016

  • 15. 06. 2016.


    Training: process and work in cases of cyber crime

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 15 - 16 June 2016

  • 14. 06. 2016.

    E-Trustmark award ceremony and promotion of E-consumer web platform

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 14 June 2016

     

  • 09. 06. 2016.

    Promotion of E-consumer web platform

    Place: Krusevac

    Date: 9 June 2016

  • 08. 06. 2016.

    Workshops: "E-commerce processes and payments" and "E-commerce processes and payments - Action Planning"

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 8 June 2016

     

  • 07. 06. 2016.

    Promotion of E-consumer web platform

    Place: Novi Pazar

    Date: 7 June 2016

     

  • 02. 06. 2016.

    Promotion of E-consumer web platform

    Place: Zajecar

    Date: 2 June 2016

     

  • 31. 05. 2016.

    Promotion of E-consumer web platform

    Place: Valjevo

    Date: 31 May 2016

     

  • 25. 05. 2016.

    Promotion of E-consumer web platform

    Place: Kraljevo

    Date: 25 May 2016

     

  • 24. 05. 2016.

    Promotion of E-consumer web platform

    Place: Uzice

    Date: 24 May 2016

  • 20. 05. 2016.

    Promotion of E-consumer web platform

    Place: Pozarevac

    Date: 20 May 2016

  • 19. 05. 2016.

    Promotion of E-consumer web platform

    Place: Sremska Mitrovica

    Date: 19 May 2016

  • 17. 05. 2016.

    Promotion of E-consumer web platform

    Place: Zrenjanin

    Date: 17 May 2016

     

  • 13. 05. 2016.

    Promotion of E-consumer web platform

    Place: Jagodina

    Date: 13 May 2016

    Training: process and work in cases of cyber crime

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 11 - 13 May 2016

  • 12. 05. 2016.

    Promotion of E-consumer web platform

    Place: Kragujevac

    Date: 12 May 2016

     

    Training: process and work in cases of cyber crime

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 11 - 13 May 2016

  • 11. 05. 2016.

    Training: process and work in cases of cyber crime

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 11 - 13 May 2016

  • 10. 05. 2016.

    Promotion of E-consumer web platform

    Place: Nis

    Date: 10 May 2016

  • 27. 04. 2016.

    Promotion of E-consumer web platform

    Place: Subotica

    Date: 27 April 2016

  • 26. 04. 2016.

    Promotion of E-consumer web platform

    Place: Novi Sad

    Date: 26 April 2016

     

  • 20. 04. 2016.

    Conference: E-commerce 2016

    Place: Palic

    Date: 20 April 2016

  • 23. 03. 2016.

    Workshop: Business environment for Development of E-commerce in Serbia

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 23 March 2016

  • 24. 02. 2016.

    Event: Training for trainers and advisors on e-commerce
    Place: Nis
    Date: 24 February 2016

     

  • 18. 02. 2016.

    Event: Training for trainers and advisors on e-commerce
    Place: Novi Sad
    Date: 18 February 2016

     

  • 26. 01. 2016.

    Event: Training for trainers and advisors on e-commerce
    Place: Kragujevac
    Date: 26 January 2016
     

  • 08. 12. 2015.

    Event: Training for trainers and advisors on e-commerce
    Place: Belgrade
    Date: 8 December 2015
     

  • 03. 12. 2015.

    Event: E-business awareness raising campaign
    Place: Belgrade (Belgrade Chamber of Commerce)
    Date: 3 December 2015
     

  • 30. 11. 2015.


    Event: E-business awareness raising campaign
    Place: Zrenjanin
    Date: 30 November 2015

  • 25. 11. 2015.

    Event: E-business awareness raising campaign
    Place: Krusevac
    Date: 25 November 2015

  • 24. 11. 2015.

    Event: E-business awareness raising campaign
    Place: Kraljevo
    Date: 24 November 2015

  • 20. 11. 2015.

    Event: E-business awareness raising campaign
    Place: Kragujevac
    Date: 20 November 2015

  • 16. 11. 2015.

    Event: E-business awareness raising campaign
    Place: Zajecar
    Date: 16 November 2015
     

  • 10. 11. 2015.


    Event: E-business awareness raising campaign
    Place: Loznica
    Date: 6 November 2015

  • 06. 11. 2015.

    Event: E-business awareness raising campaign
    Place: Pozarevac
    Date: 6 November 2015

  • 30. 10. 2015.

    Event: E-business awareness raising campaign
    Place: Uzice
    Date: 30 Оctober 2015

  • 27. 10. 2015.


    Event: E-business awareness raising campaign
    Place: Sremska Mitrovica
    Date: 27 Оctober 2015

  • 14. 10. 2015.
    E-business awareness raising campaign

    Event: E-business awareness raising campaign
    Place: Subotica
    Date: 14 Оctober 2015

  • 06. 10. 2015.
    E-business awareness raising campaign

    Event: E-business awareness raising campaign
    Place: Novi Pazar
    Date: 6 Оctober 2015

  • 02. 10. 2015.
    E-business awareness raising campaign


    Event: E-business awareness raising campaign
    Place: Nis
    Date: 2 Оctober 2015

  • 01. 10. 2015.
    E-business awareness raising campaign



    Event: E-business awareness raising campaign
    Place: Vranje
    Date: 1 october 2015
     

  • 30. 09. 2015.
    E-business awareness raising campaign




    Event: E-business awareness raising campaign
    Place: Leskovac
    Date: 30 September 2015
     

  • 22. 09. 2015.
    E-business awareness raising campaign



    Event: E-business awareness raising campaign
    Place: Valjevo
    Date: 22 September 2015

     

  • 06. 07. 2015.
    E-business awareness raising campaign

    Event: E-business awareness raising campaign
    Place: Novi Sad
    Date: 6 July 2015
     

  • 19. 06. 2015.
    Communication training for representatives of the Regional Development Agencies

    Event: Communication training for representatives of the Regional Development Agencies

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 18 – 19, June 2015

  • 18. 06. 2015.
    Communication training for representatives of the Regional Development Agencies

    Event: Communication training for representatives of the Regional Development Agencies

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 18 – 19, June 2015

  • 16. 06. 2015.
    Communication training for representatives of the Regional Development Agencies

    Event: Communication training for representatives of the Regional Development Agencies

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 15 – 16, June 2015

  • 15. 06. 2015.
    Communication training for representatives of the Regional Development Agencies

    Event: Communication training for representatives of the Regional Development Agencies

    Place: Belgrade

    Date: 15 – 16, June 2015

  • 12. 06. 2015.
    Launch of e-business awareness raising campaign


    Event: Launch of e-business awareness raising campaign
    Place: Belgrade
    Date: 22 June 2015