Doing Business in Eastern Europe: What are the Latest Market Trends?

Eastern Europe covers a large area, taking in many countries of the continent.

Although there is no official definition of the borders between eastern, western and central Europe, the general consensus is that the majority of countries from Poland eastwards combine to form Eastern Europe; including Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and more across to Russia.

With a population of over 300 million inhabitants, a GDP into the trillions and numerous cultures combining, Eastern Europe is home to many large markets. This presents numerous business opportunities for importing and exporting in the region, and before the global financial crash it was home to some of the fastest growing markets in the world.

 

Our TNT shipping tools offer all the solutions if you want to begin doing business in the Eastern European markets. If you’re considering importing to or exporting from the region, be sure to familiarise yourself with the current market trends in Eastern Europe.

 

Major Eastern European Industries

Aerospace Products

After the USA, Russia is synonymous with space travel. From the cold war days to the present, the country has been producing all sorts of aerospace products and sending its astronauts into space. Aerospace production is increasing throughout the entire of Eastern Europe though. New production facilities recently opened in Poland, with Russia and Turkey holding the largest markets for such products.

Automobiles

Eastern European cars may not be as desirable as their German or Japanese counterparts, but the industry is one of the biggest in the region. Skoda and Dacia are arguably the two most famous manufacturers, with many models exported to Western markets, while Russia has many of its own brands that are less spotted outside of the country. Small and low-cost car production is on the rise in Russia and other Eastern European countries as demand increases.

 

Ecommerce

Productivity has increased greatly in Eastern Europe over the past few years, and with lower salaries than in many Western neighbours such as France and Germany, it has attracted the attention of a few ecommerce companies. Amazon, the world’s largest ecommerce business, hired 6,000 extra employees a couple of years ago to staff three new logistics centres. Improvements in transport networks are also helping ecommerce companies operate and expand further into the region.

Electronics

Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and China may be viewed as some of the world’s major electronics producers, but Eastern Europe is one of its biggest markets. A lot of this is down to the rise of high-tech companies in countries such as Hungary and Romania which require importing parts. Hungary especially is also an emerging electronics production hub itself, with electronics manufacturing accounting for more than 20% of its total production output.

 

Nuts and Seeds

Large percentages of the world’s nuts, seeds and seed oils are produced and exported from Eastern Europe. Bulgaria exports nearly 15% of the world’s sunflower seeds for use as oils and snacks, Poland is the largest exporter of frozen fruits and nuts and Ukraine makes up over a third of all seed oil exports. Poland is also near the top of the charts for exporting apples and rye around the world.

 

Timber

Russia is the world’s leading exporter of timber, shipping out around $1.5 billion worth each year. That makes up over 10% of the world’s entire supply, whether used for construction, engineering or other purposes. China is the largest importer, which is unsurprising given its close ties to Russia, while the rest of Eastern Europe contains many forests full of the natural resources.

Tobacco

The second-largest market for cigarettes and tobacco, after China, can be found in Russia. The entire Eastern European region has one of the largest percentages of smokers across the world, so it is already a very competitive market. Many tobacco companies bought up old factories after the cold war and flooded the market with cheap Western cigarettes, with the habit remaining popular despite persistent health warnings.

 

The Future of Eastern European Business

Eastern Europe is not the most stable region. In the past few years there have been political uprisings and clashes involving Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and a few other neighbouring nations. Political uncertainty is bad for business, and if such problems persist then a lot of the markets could be affected.

 

The impending Brexit could also have an impact on trade between Britain and some of Eastern Europe’s EU member nations. There are also a few waiting on the side-lines to join the EU, for whom membership could see a boost to business and trade in the region.

 

For the time being, Eastern Europe offers a few opportunities as its markets grow for businesses to begin exporting to or importing from the region.