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Electronics: Shopping behavior & the most popular brands in CEE

How do consumers search for and buy different electronic products – from smart phones and laptops to LCDs to digital cameras or gaming consoles? What are the best-selling brands in Central and Eastern Europe? When it comes to electronics, how many sellers are there in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia? What sub-segments are the most competitive and which brands win?

Characteristics of the demographic: In-person shopping, longer browsing period and less spontaneity

Home electronics is the second largest category of goods bought by Europeans online in Europe, according to PostNord. How do we shop for those?

  • Considerable amount of browsing before buying the product is rather common, as consumer electronics are traditionally perceived as complex and expensive items.
  • In particular, smartphones and digital cameras encourage “touch and feel” behavior from consumers and are typically checked out in-store during various parts of the buying process. According to a PwC report on global retail, 40% of respondents prefer to buy consumer electronics online using PCs, tablets or smartphones as the preferred methods of purchase (PwC 2016).
  • Most consumers research electronics online before buying an item, and the amount of time spent on this search is proportional to the price. However, around half of those who spend an average of 12 hours online in their hunt for information still end up buying an item offline in a traditional store (Kim and Forsythe 2010).
  • According to Criteo data, there are two types of decision making processes: the spontaneous purchase decision, made 1-2 hours before purchase, and the considered purchase decision, 1-3 days before purchase. However, in categories like Electronics, there is also a higher incidence of extended purchase decision, where consumers start thinking about their purchases weeks or even months beforehand.
  • Electronics buyers are least likely to be impulse shoppers – only 25% are, likely due to higher price points and the longer consideration cycle this category exhibits (Criteo).
  • Mobile phones yield the most peculiarities, as consumers tend to search for a specific model. When it comes to smartphones, both brand and model are highly significant, if not major, factors in browsing and buying decisions. Very similar characteristics apply to digital cameras and laptops.

 

Price matters, but warranty and the seller’s reputation do, too

Aside from those characteristics, there are several additional factors influencing shopping behaviour when it comes to electronics:

  • Seller warranty (from the seller or distributor) or manufacturer warranty.
  • The reputation of the website drives most CEE shoppers towards stores like Amazon and eBay, or price comparison websites like Heureka, Zboži, Árukereső.hu, and Ceneo.pl.
  • Reviews.
  • Payment method.
  • (Free) shipping.
  • Price last, but definitely not the least!

Let’s get empirical: Popular brands of electronics and shopping preferences in the Central Europe

For the purpose of better understanding the range at which electronics are sold in CEE, as well as which brands are popular in which countries and at what prices are they offered, we asked Dataweps to pick 6 categories for further examination. Their data about LCD monitors, laptops (and PCs), mobile phones, TVs, digital cameras and gaming consoles are gathered via TrendLucid from the biggest price comparison websites in Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia (Heureka, Árukereső.hu and Zboži).

 

Laptops: The most sought-after electronics in Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia

Out of the 6 chosen categories, laptops show the widest range of products with the highest number of sellers competing for consumers in a category.  

When it comes to shopping on price comparison websites such as Heureka, Czechs seem to be most interested in laptops (2741 top products) and LCD monitors (2115 top products), whereas in Hungary, laptops alone show the widest range of products (4368 top products), leaving LCDs in the third spot with 1140 top products. The gap between laptops as a leading category and all the others is huge in Hungary. Mobile phones, the second most saturated sub-category of electronics in Hungary, have “only” 1147 top products. A similar principle applies in Slovakia, with 4187 top products in the laptop segment and LCD monitors being the second largest segment with comparatively “only” 2184 top products.

Other categories consist of TV sets (1970 top products in Hungary, 1396 in the Czech Republic, and 1462 in Slovakia), above mentioned mobile phones (highest in Slovakia with 1607 top products in this category, followed by 1537 in the Czech Republic and 1147 in Hungary), digital cameras (making 10-15% of the leading category) and gaming consoles (not even 10%).

This would make laptops the highest competing segment in all three CEE countries. Let’s see which brands are the most popular on price comparison websites.

 

Laptop brands: Is it really Mac vs the rest? Far from it!

We are not as millennial as media say, after all! The most popular laptop brand in Hungary is Dell, followed by Lenovo. Lenovo seems to be taking up most of the top 6 spots in Hungary, according to data from Árukereső.hu. Despite this, the number one best-selling product is in fact the Huawei MateBook X Pro Notebook (offered at a “lowest price” of 1,734). From there, we see a huge price gap, and the Lenovo competition starts to appear. The second, fifth and sixth places in the top 6 are taken by Lenovo laptops, ranging all the way from €234 to €825. There is a MacBook Air in the third spot and an ASUS in the fourth.

Apple products, as other countries show below, are among top products, but in total make only 1 % to 6%.

The top 6 chart is based on a combination of factors: overall rating of a product, number of reviews, the product’s traffic, clicks and sales, number of stores selling a particular product, etc.

 

Most popular laptop brands in the Czech Republic

Meanwhile, Lenovo, Dell and HP seem to dominate the Czech market.

In the top 6, there seems to be a battle between HP and Apple, though, with two MacBooks and three HP laptops occupying the top six positions. Needless to say, these vary in price quite a lot. The absolute best seller is the Apple MacBook Air MQD32CZ/A (offered at a “lowest price” of 869) followed by HP 250 G6 4WU75ES and HP 15-rb014 3LE99EA sold as low as 445 and 289. The fourth place is occupied by another MacBook Air, whereas the sixth spot belongs to another HP.

 

Most popular laptop brands in Slovakia

Slovaks seem to favour Lenovo, followed by HP and Dell. The Slovak top 6 chart is populated with all the aforementioned brands, as well. From Apple to ASUS to HP and Lenovo, Slovaks seem to be the most diverse consumers. Similarly to the Czech Republic, the leading position is held by the Apple MacBook Air MQD32SL/A, sold at a “lowest price” of 829. The second position is held by this model of ASUS for as low as 196, followed by two HPs with the “lowest prices” of 499 and 797, making Lenovo fifth and another ASUS closing the top 6.

 

Mobile phones: How are trending iPhone, Huawei and Xiaomi doing in CEE?

Taking into account the top 10 mobile phone models sold in the Czech Republic, one would say it is quite a wide range. Four out of ten are iPhones (third, fifth, eighth and ninth positions), two are Huawei’s (fourth and tenth), another two are Samsung’s (sixth and seventh), with the most expensive model being this iPhone (third position) offered at the “lowest price” of 778. Surprisingly, number one is the Honor 8X 4GB/64GB Dual SIM for €241, followed closely by Xiaomi for €112.

Very similar brands and models dominate the Slovakian top 10, with Xiaomi dropping to the sixth position and Honor not even making it among the top ten best-selling products. Apparently, Czechs and Slovaks value different metrics. The Huawei P20 Lite 4GB/64GB Dual SIM makes the top of the list in Slovakia (offered at a “lowest price” of 219). Similar price, similar functions as the Czech number one smartphone – just different brands. We then have two Samsung Galaxy’s and iPhone 8 and X completing the top 5.

Hungarians seem to have a preference. The first three spots are occupied by Huawei, ranging from number one Huawei P20 Lite 64GB Dual Mobiltelefon (€231), number two Huawei Mate 20 Pro 128GB Dual Mobiltelefon (€860) and Huawei Mate 20 Lite 64GB Dual Mobiltelefon as the third most popular (€290). The Chinese obsession only seems to end here, with iPhone XR and Samsung Galaxy S8 following, but from the sixth spot onwards, we do have two other Huawei phones and one Xiaomi. Hungarians seem to prefer more sophisticated (and therefore more expensive) models of Huawei phones, with the chart’s leader being the exception.

 

Nikon vs. Canon vs. Sony – how do Czechs, Slovaks and Hungarians capture memorable moments?

Any amateur photographers or video makers here? Or perhaps just those of you selling digital cameras are curious to know how certain brands are performing in CEE markets. Let’s see.

Almost a perfect tie between the top two is visible in Slovakia. Canon makes it four times into the top 10, leaving three places to Nikon and another three for Sony. The amount of money Slovaks are able to invest in cameras are more or less similar throughout the top 10 (averaging between 400-450) with Sony Alpha A7 III ILCE-7M3 (€2139) and CANON EOS 6D Mark II (1,450) making exceptions.

The Hungarian market seems to be dominated by Sony (this model making it to number one). In the top 10, there is Nikon, Sony, Panasonic and Canon. The price level remains stable between 380 and 430.

The Czech market resembles the Slovak one, with a slight tendency towards Canon and Sony. The top 10 consists of three Canon cameras (this one being the best-selling model), three Nikons and four Sony’s.  

 

Summary: Neighbors with slightly different preferences

Although there is no one particular way that Central Europeans make shopping decisions about electronics that would differ from the rest of the (western) world, we were able to learn that similar brands perform differently in each market. The most saturated segments are laptops, smartphones and LCDs, but the predictability of the markets seem to stop there: though geographically next to each other and tied by a number of other similarities, Czechs, Slovaks, and Hungarians consume electronic goods from different brands with different features.


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