e-commerce opportunity in Cyprus

EU statistics highlight the size of the Cyprus e-commerce opportunity

The European Union (EU) has just published some new statistics highlighting the growth of e-commerce throughout Europe.

These figures show clearly the size of the e-commerce opportunity waiting to be filled in Cyprus. And filled it will be, fast.

Headline statistics

The EU statistics are based on businesses defined as 'Enterprises of ten or more employees'. Key extracts from the figures include:

  UK Cyprus EU
Businesses with internet access: 91% 88% 93%
Businesses with fixed broadband: 85% 82% 82%
E-commerce as a % of total turnover: 15% 1% 12%
- Of which – with own country: 83% 29% 73%
- Of which – other EU country: 11% 51% 19%
- Of which – outside EU: 6% 20% 8%

Interpreting the statistics

The key facts to take from the statistics are:

  • Access and connectivity to the internet in Cyprus is not an issue. Whilst Cyprus’ figures are marginally lower than the UK, the difference is insignificant.
  • E-commerce is a significant part of the economy in the UK at 15%. In Cyprus it’s nowhere at 1%. Sure there are structural issues in Cyprus that slow things down – logistics, credit card payments, cultural issues – but there remains a huge potential for growth.
  • Almost three quarters of the e-commerce that is happening in Cyprus is purchasing from outside Cyprus. This suggests Cypriots are perfectly happy to buy on the internet - they just need good reasons to do so more.
  • Cyprus’ protectionist attitudes and consequent high prices are forcing people to shop overseas to get value – even after the shipping charges to Cyprus.

What’s the opportunity?

The opportunity can be summarised into the following:

  • There is huge potential in Cyprus for internet shopping growth. There are issues – especially logistical issues – but these can be overcome by entrepreneurial organisations.
  • Local companies are not capitalising on the opportunity. The cultural issues standing in the way of growth are leaving local businesses wide open to international competition.
  • Traditional Cypriot protectionist attitudes are facing their biggest ever challenge. In certain sectors local pricing is so high in Cyprus that it’s significantly cheaper to buy elsewhere. An example? I’m typing this on a laptop purchased from Amazon in December. A mere €350 cheaper than buying it from a local retailer. And that’s after shipping…


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