Romanians are the least able to buy cross border

Romania and Bulgaria are the EU countries where consumers are least able to purchase goods online in another Member State, according to a new European Commission report conducted after an independent mystery shopping exercise.

Shoppers in Romania and Bulgaria experienced the highest failure rates -75%. In Latvia and Belgium, the failure rate was 70%.
But in all but two countries the odds of succeeding in a cross border purchase are lower than 50% in all Member States, except for Estonia and Austria.

Shoppers across the EU carried over 11,000 test orders, trying to purchase a list of 100 popular products –for example cameras, CDs, books, clothes - from a cross border provider.

The research found that 60% of cross border transactions could not be completed by consumers because the trader did not ship the product to their country or did not offer adequate means for cross border payment.

In 13 countries out of 27, including Romania, and for at least half of all product searches, consumers were able to find an offer in another EU country which was at least 10% cheaper than the best domestic offer (all costs, such as delivery to the consumer's country, included).

One in two products searched could not be found in national sites, including in Romania, and were only offered by another Member State trader.

"The results of this research are very striking; we now have concrete facts and figures showing the extent to which the European single market for consumers is just not happening in online retail,” said EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva

“Better deals and greater product choice for consumers on our vast European market could be just a click of a mouse away. But in reality online shoppers are still largely confined within national borders. We must simplify the legal maze that is preventing online traders from offering their goods in other countries".

The Communication issued by the European Commission presents a series of measures to be taken to reduce the complex regulatory environment which is acting as a disincentive for businesses to serve consumers in other Member States.

In addition and to boost confidence in online trading, the problems regarding the collection of commercial data and its use to profile and target consumers will be analyzed in a stakeholders forum, the EU’s Executive arm said.

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