Retail growth in the CEE is bound to coincide with its rapid economic development. The fastest expansion is in the mass grocery sector, while others should grow dynamically alongside increasing incomes. Poland is a particularly attractive market due to its size and spending power, the country already experiencing high-density shopping malls, with more expansion expected, along with the Czech Republic.
Consumer behaviour is shifting from supermarket chains to luxury goods in CEE, while 68 per cent of shoppers claim hypermarkets, supermarkets and discounters are places where they spend the most. More compact retail formats are increasing in popularity, while discounters are developing most rapidly in Bulgaria. They are also most popular in Serbia, and Slovenia, where declining purchasing power is eroding consumer loyalty and presenting an opportunity for foreign market penetration.
In Lithuania and Estonia grocery retail is still one of the most important and growing, while non-grocery retailers were most successful in Latvia in 2013. International brands continue to enter and expand in the country, along with Estonia where growth in private expenditure grew by 4.2 per cent in 2013. Retail was one of the few vital industries in Croatia that same year, while e-commerce has seen the fastest rise in the country but remains well below the EU average, mainly due to low consumer confidence. Serbia has made extensive progress but is still well off reaching its full potential, mainly due to domestic retailers offering no debit or credit card options, while potential lies in the popularity of international online retailers that do.