e-commerce purchases up by 25 pct in 2.Q

Individuals in Estonia made an average of 1.1 million cashless payments per day in the second quarter of 2017. The number of payments was 7% and the turnover 8% higher than it was at the same time last year.

75% of the cashless payments initiated by individuals were card payments. 819,000 card payments were made daily in the second quarter, 7% of them outside Estonia. Estonian residents used card payments in 184 countries in the second quarter, the most popular being Finland, Latvia, Russia, Sweden, Spain and the UK. People in Estonia are some of the greatest lovers of card payments in Europe, only surpassed by Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and the UK. The average size of a card payment made by an individual in Estonia was 15.4 euros in the second quarter, which is one of the smallest in Europe, probably because Estonia has not set a floor for the size of a card payment. Card payments made abroad were larger and averaged at 26.8 euros.

The daily average number of payment orders made by individuals in the second quarter was 250,000. Half of them were payments through an internet bank, and the other half were e-invoice standing orders and payment orders through a bank link. The number of e-invoice standing orders has not changed since the changeover from direct debits. In 2013, before the changeover to e-invoice standing orders, the average number of direct debits was 54,000 per day. By the second quarter of 2017, it had remained almost the same at 53,000 payments per day. Most payment orders are domestic, only 0.6% are made to foreign banks.

Figures illustrating the use of online stores stand out among other payment methods. Compared to the same time last year, the number of payment orders made through a bank link* has grown by more than 10% (it is now 50,000 payments per day). A bank link can only be used for domestic purchases. Estonian residents are becoming progressively more active in purchasing from foreign online stores. In the second quarter, individuals made 28,000 e-commerce card transactions every day, which is a 46% increase year-on-year. 91% of online purchases made with a card come from foreign online stores. Data from Omniva and Statistics Estonia confirm that Estonian people are ordering online more and more. Statistics Estonia data also show that in April and May, the sales revenue of stores that sell online or by post grew the most, 30% in a year, compared to the 6% sales revenue increase of retail stores. The largest retail chains in Estonia attest to the fact that e-commerce is growing fast, and most chains have opened or are planning to open their online store soon.

* A bank link is a payment method where an online store directs the customer to pay for a purchase in their internet bank using a pre-filled order.

Cashless payments initiated by individuals through Estonian banks in 2017 Q2 (daily average)
number of payments (thous.) incl. cross-border payments turnover of payments (million euros) incl. cross-border payments
Total of the payments made (A+B+F+G) 1 100 7% 45,7 9%
         incl. card payments (A) 819 7% 13,2 11%
         incl. payment orders (B) 250 1% 30,3 7%
                 internet bank payment orders  (C) 123 1% 17,9 7%
                 e-invoice standing orders (D) 53 0% 1,6 0%
                 bank link payment orders (E) 50 0% 1,4 0%
         incl. e-commerce card transactions (F) 28 91% 1,0 93%
         incl. other (G) 3 0% 1,2 0%
E-commerce transactions (E+F) 78 33% 2,4 38%

 

Number of cashless payments made by individuals

Source: Bank of Estonia

Author: Tiina Soosalu, Eesti Pank Payment and Settlement Systems Department

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EU ministers discussed the free movement of data

On June 17. in Tallinn, European Union’s Competitiveness and Information Technology Ministers discussed how to better exploit the potential of the European single market through the free movement of data.

“The digital solutions that we use daily in our home countries, for example to communicate with public authorities, should also be available in other countries. I’ve invited my colleagues to think about how to improve the user experience of the single market for both citizens and enterprises,” Kadri Simson, the Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure said.

The free movement of data to authorities in other countries would mean, for example, that an architect would not need to apply for a business permit to design a house in another Member State. Data already submitted in one member state and verified by the authorities could be made available digitally to the competent authority in another country, which could then immediately identify which qualifications and rights the person had.

“Stimulating the cross-border provision of services has a positive effect on the economy as a whole. It supports the establishment and expansion of businesses and the creation of jobs, and gives consumers more choice at more affordable prices,” Simson explained.

The main objective of the Competitiveness Ministers is to identify obstacles that limit the free movement of data and find ways to move forward.

“For many European countries, the problem is how to create a clear and common legal framework for an EU-wide data economy,” Simson said.

Estonia aims to agree on a general approach for the introduction of e-services during its presidency.

Source: Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure

Sales increased 22 pct in online stores

According to Statistics Estonia, in April 2017, compared to April 2016, the turnover of retail trade enterprises increased 1% at constant prices. While in March the turnover increased 5% compared to the same month of the previous year, in April the growth decelerated.

In April 2017, the turnover of retail trade enterprises was 537.4 million euros.

The turnover growth of stores selling manufactured goods decelerated in April. While in March the turnover of these stores increased 10% compared to the same month of the previous year, in April the growth was 2%. The turnover increased in most economic activities, except for stores selling pharmaceutical goods and cosmetics, where the turnover was smaller than in April of the previous year. In non-specialized stores selling predominantly manufactured goods (e.g. department stores), turnover remained at the same level as in April 2016. Turnover increased the most in stores selling via mail order or the Internet, with sales increasing 22% year over year. A higher-than-average increase in turnover occurred also in stores selling second-hand goods and in non-store retail sale (stalls, markets, direct sale) (5% growth).

The turnover of grocery stores increased 2% compared to April 2016.

The turnover of enterprises engaged in the retail sale of automotive fuel, which grew in February and March, started declining again in April and decreased 4% compared to April of the previous year.

Compared to the previous month, in April, the turnover of retail trade enterprises decreased 1%. According to the seasonally and working-day adjusted data, turnover stayed at the same level compared to the previous month. In the four months of 2017 (January–April), the turnover of retail trade enterprises increased 2% compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.Turnover volume index of retail trade enterprises and its trend

The statistics are based on the VAT declaration data of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board. Statistics Estonia published the monthly summary in five working days. For the statistical activity “Economic indicators of trade enterprises”, the main representative of public interest is the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, commissioned by whom Statistics Estonia performs this statistical activity.

Source: Statistics Estonia

TeliaSonera and Ericsson to go 5G in Tallinn in 2018

TeliaSonera and Ericsson have entered into a strategic partnership to let customers in Stockholm and Tallinn experience 5G services already in 2018.

Based on TeliaSonera and Ericsson’s common understanding of market and customer needs, the two companies will develop 5G use-cases and service scenarios, including both communication and Internet of Things (IoT) services with the purpose to address new business opportunities, the companies announced today. The partnership will bring 5G services to customers in 2018 by combining the TeliaSonera network with Ericsson technology.

Read more from ERR News

Taxify launches service in Kiev

Estonian transportation network company Taxify launched their taxi and ridesharing service in Kiev on Friday, which means that the mobile app is serving customers in a total of 21 cities in 14 countries.

While over three million people live in Kiev, a city five times bigger than the Estonian capital of Tallinn, more than 90 percent of customers still order their taxis from dispatch centers, reported Taxify in a press release. Of the over 20,000 taxis in the country, whose quality varies wildly, approximately 200, including drivers offering rideshares, had joined forces with the Estonian-based company by the time of its launch in the Ukrainian capital.

All drivers working for Taxify have undergone a thorough background check and training on Taxify’s part.

“Ukraine is a very large market and we had been weighing expansion to there for some time already,” explained Taxify co-founder Martin Villig. “This is an interesting challenge for Taxify as locl taxis [in Kiev] mostly drive according to a fixed negotiated price and not with taxi meters, as is common elsewhere in Europe.

Taxify is an Estonian startup launched in 2013 which is working on developing a worldwide app for taxis and ridesharing worldwide. Employing over 50 people worldwide, Taxify offers services in 21 cities across 14 different countries.

Taxify mediates millions of trips per year in Europe and Africa, and has invested two million euros in order to finance rapid growth, making it the most effectively operating mobile application in the world.

Source: ERR News

Head of Estonian tax authority to begin working in Nortal

Marek Helm, current director general of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (MTA), will be joining the software and business consultancy company Nortal as director of the company’s public finance and change management team in mid-January 2017.

According to Nortal founder and CEO Priit Alamäe, Helm has carried out extensive reforms and necessary transformations in one of the most important public authorities in Estonia for which there is strong demand globally. “Effective tax collection and transparent public finance management is becoming more relevant globally,” said Alamäe in a press release. “By uniting Helm’s experience with our knowledge and references, we are creating an international center of competence and export capability while preserving a recognized leader for Estonia.”

Helm said that he has worked in the public sector for over 20 years and feels that the time has come to put himself to the test in the private sector. “Nortal is a company with growing ambition and international scope that exports Estonian e-government success stories,” said Helm. 2I’m glad that with my expertise and experience I can contribute to the company’s continuous expansion to export markets that are of great importance to Estonia.”

The MTA’s current director general noted that he would be handing over the management of the state authority to his successor with peace of mind. “This is a fantastic organization and a professional close-knit team that serves the Estonian society and is a great partner for taxpayers,” Helm said.

“During the past few years, Nortal has made significant investments to develop internationally recognized competence in the field of complex e-government reforms,” explained Nortal’s CEO. “Our aim is to address a client’s needs as a whole by offering holistic service concepts that include everything from legislative drafting, organization and process re-design to the implementation of new technologies and change management. Marek Helm’s long-term experience in public sector reforms and creating more effective processes, where knowledge-based and well thought through change management plays an important role, fits perfectly with Nortal’s plans and strategy.”

Helm has led the MTA as director general from December 2011. Prior to that position, he was deputy secretary general for public governance policy at the Ministry of Finance from 2009-2011, led the founding of the joint internal security office under the Ministry of the Interior from 2007-2009, deputy secretary general for internal security of the Ministry of the Interior from 2006-2007 and director of the Ministry of the Interior’s Internal Security Department in 2006. From 2004-2006, Helm held the position of deputy director general of the MTA and in 2003-2004, deputy director general of the Customs Board in the customs enforcement and pre-trial investigation fields.

Nortal is an international strategy consultancy and software solutions company focusing on e-governance, health care, telecommunications, production and logistics. It operates in nearly 20 countries and employs 530 specialists. Nortal posted sales revenue of 45 million euros in 2015.

Source: ERR News

Software developer Nortal merges with Swedish company

Swedish company Element, a B2B marketing and sales strategy and technology firm located in Northern Europe, is slated to merge with Estonian software developer Nortal via share swap. The merger will also mark a brand new service offering in the Estonian company’s portfolio — revenue science.

While the merger will mark Nortal’s expansion to Sweden, it will simultaneously mean the expansion of Element’s service offering to the Baltics, Finland, Germany and the Middle East, where Nortal already maintains a growing presence. Nortal CEO Priit Alamäe said in a press release.

Through the merger, Nortal will acquire all shares of Element AB, while the latter’s shareholders, including the company’s management and employees, will join the ranks of Nortal’s shareholders alongside the existing 34 shareholders who are all Nortal employees. Element CEO Jonas Ander, meanwhile, will join Nortal as its new Chief Marketing Officer.

“Strategy, technology and marketing are converging disciplines, the common denominator being big data,” explained Ander. “Big data is a fundamental consequence of the digital marketing landscape. Nortal, being a thought leader in the field, is the partner we have been looking for to be able to deliver predictive marketing analytics, sustainable change and impact to our clients.”‘

Pursuant to the parties’ agreement, the merger transaction value will be kept confidential, however Element financials will be consolidated into Nortal’s financial results as of October 2016, bringing the group’s total estimated revenue to 50 million euros in 2017.

Tallinn-based Nortal is a multinational full-service strategic change and technology company that provides services to governments and leading businesses around the world. It operates in nearly 20 countries, employing over 500 specialists who carry out high-quality, mission-critical and high-impact projects across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Element offers services within B2B sales and marketing processes, ranging from strategy consulting, process transformation marketing automation, CRM, content marketing as well as other marketing and sales software solutions. The Swedish company delivers a professionalization of their client’s revenue processes, increased conversion of qualified leads to customers and shorter sales cycles. Element currently has operations in all Nordic countries, Germany and the Middle East, with offices in Stockholm and Helsinki.

As a result of the merger, the Swedish company will be bringing 17 marketing science consultants to Nortal.

Source: ERR News