OREANDA-NEWS. Czech e-shops are going from strength to strength, the financial daily Hospod??sk? noviny reports. According to the daily, Czech consumers are beginning to order far more than just electronic items or toys online but even foodstuffs they used to buy in stone-and-mortar shops. For the first time, annual online revenues in the Czech Republic are expected to top 100 billion crowns.

Czechs are buying more online than ever before for a number of reasons, Hospod??sk? noviny reports. Factors include an improved economy, wage growth and low unemployment, meaning Czechs are less afraid to spend than in past years when the economy was slumping. With each passing month, consumers have grown more accustomed to buying online, with many returning to verified or trustworthy sites. As interest in online sales has grown, so has the range of products on offer.

Whereas in the past, online buyers may have focussed more on online items such as music, films, books or electronic products, now many are buying items for daily consumption or use: foods, medicines, and clothes. Indeed, part of the success of e-shops is due to the better availability of items, broader overall choice, and lower prices than shopping centre or small shop equivalents. It is not unusual for buyers to try items in person and then order them cheaper online.

Price search engines have also made online shopping more attractive, finding better deals and comparisons. According to data compiled by one of them, Heureka, Czechs this year already spent 46.4 billion crowns (an improvement of 13 percent year-on-year) and with half a year ago and the Christmas period included, it seems like the first time revenues will top 100 million. The Association for Electronic Commerce estimates that the number could be roughly 115 billion crowns for 2017.

As online sales have grown, some e-shops have quietly cut previous advantages: some originally offered free shipping on purchases topping 2,000 crowns but have now boosted the offer to only 3,000 crowns or more. Another interesting trend is buyers taking advantage of buying online but picking up items at designated spots, often the stone-and-mortar equivalent of particular shops, to avoid shipping costs. At present, consumers can pick up their wares at some 9,000 sites.