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Explore the market: Poland

Warsaw and palace of culture and science

Today we bring to you an overview of a local market, which may not be the biggest, but for sure is one with the fastest growth and huge potential. On ecommercenews.eu portal we can read that: “The number of online purchases reached an all-time record in Poland last year. This has, of course, to do with the lockdowns due to Covid-19. But still, Poland was one of the fastest-growing eCommerce markets in Europe.” More insights are below, we hope you will find them useful!

Some statistic data:

Population: 37,97 mln

GDP per capita in 2019:  $16,048

Official languages: Polish

Purchasing power: 7,14 EUR (2020)

E-commerce market

Size of the e-commerce market

In 2020, the online channel had a 14% share in retail sales value. 73% percent of Internet users declare that they have made purchases on the Internet, 72% of Internet users buy in Polish e-stores, and 30% in foreign ones. The value of the Polish e-commerce market increases by over ten percent every year.

Average basket value

The average value of the online shopping basket of Poles surveyed in 2020 at the turn of October / November is over PLN 200. They spend the most, on average, on footwear – PLN 228. Average six-month expenses on mobile devices amounted to PLN 793.

Most popular marketplaces

The most popular websites are Allegro, OLX, and AliExpress. When it comes to foreign websites, eBay and Amazon also rank high.

Returns / complaints – legal regulations

The return handling area in the e-commerce industry is a statutory necessity. There is the right to return the goods within 14 days – without giving any reason. The consumer loses the right when he fails to meet the deadline. It is possible to return the goods even when the packaging has been opened and the product itself shows signs of use. However, it brings responsibility for the diminished value of the thing as a result of using it in a way that goes beyond what is necessary. Products cannot be returned, e.g. with a short value date, manufactured according to the consumer’s specification, items delivered in a sealed package, which cannot be returned after opening the package due to health protection or hygiene reasons, e.g. underwear, sound, or visual recordings or computer software delivered in a sealed package. The consumer bears the costs of shipping the goods to the seller only when the seller has informed the buyer that these costs must be borne by the buyer. However, already in 2019, every fifth online store decided to get free returns and extended the period in which the consumer has the right to return to 30 or more days.

Most popular industries and product categories

In the entire group of online shoppers, the most popular categories to buy online are clothing, including accessories and accessories, footwear, cosmetics/perfumes, books, CDs, films, electronics, and cinema/theatre tickets.

Permits, licenses, certificates by industry

When establishing a business, it is obliged to define the type of business in accordance with the applicable system of PKD codes (Polish Classification of Activities). In some cases, appropriate administrative permits are required. One of them may be a permit required, inter alia, by the sale of medicinal products. Pursuant to the applicable regulations, the seller, as the personal data controller, is obliged to inform buyers about issues related to the processing of their data.

Preferred payment methods, trusted payment providers

The most frequently chosen payment option is a quick transfer via the payment service (option indicated by 70% of buyers). It is worth noting that the youngest people (15–24 years old) more often useless popular payment methods, both traditional ones: cash on delivery, cash on delivery, and modern ones: mobile payments (Blik and QR codes). The payment service used by online buyers most often is PayU, indicated by as many as 53% of e-consumers using a quick transfer via the payment service.

Logistics

Expected delivery time

Delivery of a standard parcel by Poczta Polska within the country takes up to three business days. InPost parcel lockers are a faster and more and more often chosen form of delivery. In this case, as much as 98% of shipments reach the customer one day after shipment. Courier items usually reach the recipient within one / two business days; however, courier companies reserve the right to three days.

Most popular courier companies

The most used online shipping provider by Polish online shoppers in 2020 are InPost, DPD, DHL, and Poczta Polska.

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/959018/poland-most-used-online-shipping-service-provider/

Most popular delivery method

The three most popular delivery methods in Poland are parcel machine, home delivery in daytime or home delivery in the evening.

Source: https://www.postnord.se/siteassets/pdf/rapporter/e-commerce-in-europe-2020.pdf

Same day delivery

Polish consumers have high expectations regarding delivery: a quarter expects to receive goods purchased online within one to two days. It is a result of several e-retailers, including Amazon and Zalando, have chosen to locate large logistics centers in Poland due to the combination of its favorable geographical location in Europe, its proximity to the German market, and its wage level, which is lower than in countries such as Germany.

Shipping package regulations

Prohibited Items:

  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Animal skins (non-domesticated)
  • Articles of exceptional value (e.g. works of art, antiques, precious stones, gold, and silver)
  • Dangerous goods/hazardous materials.
  • Firearms.
  • Furs.
  • Ivory and ivory products.
  • Live animals.

For more: https://www.ups.com/pl/en/help-center/shipping-support/country-regulations/customs/export-prohibited-articles.page

Running a business in PL

The legal form of business

Poland is a country that welcomes foreign investors and generally grants them the same investment right as it does for national investors. There are several types of companies that can be incorporated in Poland and investors can choose the most suitable form for their desired business activity. The companies recognized by the Polish Company Act:

  • The Polish Limited Liability Company
  • The Polish Joint-Stock Company
  • The Polish Limited Partnership
  • The Polish Civil Partnership
  • The Polish Registered Partnership
  • The Polish Limited Joint-Stock Partnership
  • The Polish Sole Proprietorship
Foreign companies operating in Poland:

Apart from the types of Polish companies mentioned above, foreign companies can also set up branch offices and representative offices in Poland. These two types of business vehicles, however, offer limited possibilities. In the case of a branch office, its activity will be the same as the parent companies. The representative or the liaison office will only be allowed to carry out research and marketing activities in Poland. The main advantage of these types of companies is that the liability will remain on the parent company. The branch must also register for VAT in Poland.

Additionally, companies registered in an EU country may also register European companies or European Economic Interest Groups.

For more information about forms of business: https://www.companyincorporationpoland.com/polish-company-types

Bank account, banking regulations

Polish residents and non-residents can open bank accounts in all the convertible currencies, as well as zloty. Many important banks have opened branches in Poland and most large Polish banks offer services both in English and in Polish.

The necessary documents for opening a bank account in Poland are a passport or residency card for ex-pats who obtained residency permits in Poland. Interested individuals should note that the required documents differ from one bank to another and while some financial institutions will only require an identification document, others may ask for a residence permit.

Tax rules: Corporation tax

Corporate income tax is levied at a rate of 19% (standard rate) or 9% (reduced rate for small taxpayers and new companies in the first year of business activity).

Corporate income tax:

  • A company is treated as a resident if it has its legal seat or place of effective management in Poland.
  • Resident companies are taxable on their worldwide income, including capital gains. The taxable income is computed on the basis of the accounting profits and is adjusted for several items as described in the tax law. Revenues are divided into two sources – business activity and capital gains.
  • The tax settlement period for a corporate income tax is tax year. The standard tax year is 12 months, it can be similar to the calendar year but also may be changed. Tax advances are paid throughout the year on a monthly or quarterly basis and reconciled annually.
  • The taxpayer has to calculate and report revenues, tax-deductible costs, and tax due in the annual tax return (self-assessment). The deadline for filing the return is by the end of the third month following the end of the tax year. The filing deadline cannot be extended.
  • The new tax system stipulates that entrepreneurs who will allocate funds for the development of their business will not pay CIT. The tax will be paid only when the shareholders decide to use the profit for their own, and not for business purposes. The longer the funds remain in the company, increasing its liquidity, crisis resilience, and investment capacity, the higher the tax benefit for the company.

For more information: https://accace.com/company-formation-poland/

Import/export regulations

local import refers to import within the European Union member states.

CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) import licenses are required for several products imported from non-EU countries into any country within the EU. Such import licenses are often referred to as the AGRIM Certificates and are issued in Poland by the Agricultural Market Agency (Agencja Rynku Rolnego).

Other required certificates are approvals that must be issued prior to the introduction of goods to the Polish market. This applies to the importers of products that are new to the Polish market, and who must request product approval from the National Institute of Public Health – the National Institute of Hygiene (Narodowy Instytut Zdrowia Publicznego – Panstwowy Zakład Higieny) Once approval is granted, the goods may be imported to Poland. If a license has already been issued in another EU country, it remains valid in every state that is a member of the EU.

 Customs tariffs

The Customs Service (Służba Celna) has an official Tariff Browser (a module of the Integrated Tariff System – ISZTAR), that provides information on tariffs of goods in international trade. The Tariff Browser contains data from the TARIC system (goods nomenclature, duty rates, restrictions, tariff quotas, tariff ceilings, and suspensions) as well as national provisions (VAT, excise tax, restrictions, and non-tariff measures). The Browser is maintained by the Customs Department of the Ministry of Finances within the framework of the Integrated Customs Tariff Information System – ISZTAR3. The Browser also provides detailed information concerning commodity turnover to Customs Administration and to all involved.

For more: https://www.trade.gov.pl/en/invest-in-poland/doing-business/important-regulations/241615,important-regulations-polish-trade-regulations.html

VAT registration thresholds

VAT registration in Poland is not obligatory so. Companies may be eligible for an exemption to registration. There are two possible scenarios in which a business is not required to do so: one according to the sales volumes in a given period and another according to the specific services or products that are being offered by the company. Investors are first required to determine which of the two categories they fit in.

Companies are not required to register for VAT purposes in Poland if the sales during the tax year do not exceed 200,000 PLN. In this case, the company managers are required to follow through with the registration procedure with the local Tax Office in order to obtain the registration number.

For more information: https://www.companyincorporationpoland.com/vat-registration-in-poland

Customer preferences

Willing to buy from foreign sellers

Along with development, many companies began to experience limitations on further growth resulting from market saturation with their product or service. So increasingly, domestic companies are looking for growth opportunities in foreign markets. One of the solutions is to acquire a foreign entity.

Most popular countries for import of goods

The country’s main import partners are European Union members (Germany, Italy, France), Russia, and China.

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