– what you should know?
Latvia is one of the Baltic countries. It is inhabited by approx. 2 million people. According to the most recent statistics (of January 2022) as much as 92% of the population is active online. The number of active internet users has been gradually increasing since 2015 and now matches the most developed European economies. For reference, Germany’s internet penetration rate is 93%, whereas in France it comes to 91%.
Latvians explore the web primarily using desktops and laptops. These constitute almost 64% of the total. Mobile devices (such as mobile phones and smartphones) represent the second largest group at almost 35%. Finally, the third group is tablets, used on a regular basis by slightly more than 1% of internet users.
The substantial percentage of regular internet users has translated into increased interest in social media. According to general estimates, approx. 78% of local internet users have a social media account. However, this estimate may be artificially inflated due to the difference between the raw number of social media accounts and the number of actual, unique users. This detail aside, it is important that this indicator seems to be going up. In 2021 alone, the number increased by 5.1%.
The Latvian descendants of the legendary Baltic tribes seem to favour Facebook. As per the data of March, 2022, almost 67% of the populace is interested in the American social media giant. This result is hardly surprising, as Facebook is the most popular social media site in Europe. However, the rest of the ranking is quite interesting. The breakdown is as follows:
Twitter’s relative position is quite strong, as it has three times as many users as Instagram. This illustrates the platform’s popularity in the Baltics. As an interesting side note, the social media network with trademarked blue bird enjoys considerable popularity in Estonia as well.
Introducing an online store to the Latvian e-commerce market may prove to be an excellent decision. It turns out this particular market is especially eager to purchase foreign products. Consider the main importer list:
Poland’s presence in the above ranking is excellent news for all entrepreneurs planning to expand into that particular market. It means Latvians generally trust Polish companies and that Polish products meet the local clients’ requirements – above all, they are reasonably priced, and quickly delivered. To succeed in the world of Latvian e-commerce, we should focus on the above matters (apart from the usual marketing activities, that is).
However, we should remember that Latvian clients generally differ from each other. While average Latvians put a premium on the product’s price, even at the expense of its quality and brand, wealthier Latvians are willing to pay more for their favoured goods. Depending on the kind of business we run (i.e., whether we sell cheap or expensive products), we should tailor our advertisements to the intended customers. If we do that, we should be able to achieve a high conversion ratio.
What are the future prospects for e-commerce in this Baltic country?
As per the most recent data provided by Eurostat, Latvian e-commerce is growing at an annual pace of 28.5% (the fastest of the Baltic states), so the future of online sales there is assured. The general estimate for 2022 for overall e-commerce income is USD 944 million, and the number of users is estimated to reach 1.1 million people by 2025.
of the population has access to the Internet
of users use Google
Obviously, the most popular search engine in Latvia is Google. Recent data confirms the popularity of this online tool. As many as 94.8% of the local users favour the famous four-colour logo. As per the below ranking, Google’s competition is highly dispersed:
The American giant’s unbeatable position makes it clear we should focus our positioning activities there. However, we can expect the competition to be correspondingly strong. At the same time, an effective Link building strategy should make success attainable.
Positioning activities may not be entirely successful if the store’s website is not properly optimised. The optimisation process should extend to the browsers Latvians use to access the web. Google is the leader in this category as well. Over 68% of all internet users use Chrome. The entire ranking is as follows:
Note that approx. one of ten Latvian internet users browse the web using Safari. Therefore, we should keep this statistic in mind if we want to reach as many Apple fans as possible.
To properly prepare for entry into the Latvian e-commerce market, we should know what Latvians find both appealing and off-putting. Most recent consumer surveys indicate that Latvians opt for internet shopping for the following reasons:
The negative factors are as follows:
The conclusions of the above data are clear: the store should be properly optimised and contain detailed descriptions of the products and services on offer, the prices should be accessible to the target customers, and delivery should be fast and smooth-flowing.
The store’s optimisation should also adapt the website to the devices Latvians use to shop online. It is important that 91% of the users make their purchases using desktops and laptops, 54% favour mobile devices, 12% use tablets, and 1% prefer… TVs!
When discussing the state of Latvian e-commerce, we must mention the astounding level of interest in online shopping. As much as 85% of the surveyed populace admits to having shopped online at least once in 2021. What exactly did they buy?
Latvians are most eager to purchase the following online:
Latvians purchase the above using both domestic and international platforms. The most important shopping giants active in Latvia include:
Latvians usually make payments using credit cards, mobile payment systems and virtual wallet services.
The homeland of the tallest women on Earth is inhabited mostly by native Latvians and Russians. The latter constitute as much as 1/3 of the local populace. Even though the international “.com” domain predominates here in terms of frequency of use, national domains (“.lv” and “.ru”) are also used while browsing the internet.
As per the data of March 2022, almost 79% of users used the google.com domain, almost 14% favoured google.lv, and 0.8% preferred google.ru.
What are the conclusions? When setting up a Latvian store, we should first establish our presence in all three domains, preserving national domains in extensions (i.e. specific language versions of the store).
If we do that, our store website address can look like: mypage.com/lv or mypage.com/ru.
The answer is very simple, and we’ve already provided it in the article. Latvia is currently the Baltic leader in terms of e-commerce market value growth level. From an annual perspective, it comes to as much as 28.5%. Based on this data, we can clearly say that the Latvian market has gained momentum and keeps growing. Based on general estimates, its total income for 2022 alone is expected to exceed USD 940 million.
While the active e-commerce user base (currently over 0.9 million clients) keeps growing at a steady pace. The abovementioned user base grows every year. In 2015, only 48% of the users had bought something online. These days, however, this number sits around 80%. More and more Latvians are embracing online shopping. We should capitalise on this trend to improve our brand’s reputation. The best tools for the job are effective SEO activities.
Modern SEO offers many valuable solutions. In the strictly Latvian context, we should focus on the standard set of Link building activities. These will significantly improve our store’s search engine results which, in turn, will translate into greater website traffic and more prospective clients.
Obviously, we also recommend a reliable website audit and proper SEO optimisation activities. The optimisation should include the following actions: search engine-friendly content, meta-descriptions, and product/category descriptions. It is absolutely vital to include key phrases and internal links taking visitors to specific store locations (such as the products on offer).
Link building through Content Marketing will be another critical element of our positioning activities. Creating and publishing substantial articles on industry-relevant topics is another must-have. The content must be characterised by excellent quality, correctness and the presence of key words. It should also be linked to the store’s website. Just as importantly, the websites publishing our articles should provide strong links. As such, they should be trusted and search engine bot-friendly.
When it comes to the link building finishing touches, it is good to include Buzz Marketing activities. Latvian consumers tend to search for product-related information online, so this step is practically mandatory.
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This is a valid solution, but you should be aware that such a restricted approach would make it difficult to grow the client base. Ironically enough, Latvian is not particularly popular in Latvia, but there are experienced copywriters who use the language. To run a profitable Latvian online store, we should create national-domain websites including content in this unique Baltic language. Just as importantly, we should keep in mind that 1/3 of the Latvian populace speaks Russian, so we should consider including content in Russian as well.
Industry and thematic blogs can indeed strengthen the power of an online store. Using key phrases in dedicated articles, separate headings, photos – all this can have a positive effect on your positioning efforts. Moreover, as mentioned above, Latvians tend to read product descriptions before making their purchase, so additional content like that can provide an extra incentive to visit our store. After all, we can use the articles to promote our products and provide internal links leading to specific offers. However, in the end the decision to start a blog is the store owner’s. There are still many prosperous stores that do just fine without a dedicated blog.