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E-commerce

Internet access
According to UNCTAD, there are 6.72 million internet users in Belarus, making the penetration rate 71.1%. According to the National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus, there is a significant urban-rural divide when it comes to connectivity, though the gap is narrowing. While 72% of the urban population has access to the internet, only 52% of the rural population does so. Belarus has one of the least expensive broadband costs in the world, at an average of US$ 12.77 per month. Over the last few years, internet infrastructure has improved in the country, with faster speeds and more relaxed rules facilitating regarding public wi-fi access, meaning public venues are no longer required to obtain a license before offering wi-fi. However, the authorities have continued censoring some information online, with newly amended media laws granting them greater power to control content. The state-owned Beltelecom and the National Centre for Traffic Exchange are the only entities permitted to handle connections with ISPs outside of Belarus. Google and other digital companies which generate significant online traffic have preferential agreements with Beltelecom, which allow it to engage in predatory pricing. Over the last few years independent online media and social networks increased in importance as sources of news for Belarusians. Smartphones are becoming cheaper and more popular in Belarus. Google’s 2016 Connected Consumer Survey found that 59% of Belarusians use smartphones, a figure that reaches 89% when accounting for only those under 35. As of September 2018, the most popular search engines in the country by market share were Google (69.5%), YANDEX RU (26.62%), Mail.ru (2.97%), Bing (0.37%), Yahoo! (0.28%), and DuckDuckGo (0.13%). As for browsers, the most popular ones were Chrome (67.06%), Opera (11.57%), Firefox (6.35%), Safari (5.63%), Yandex Browser (4.58%), and Samsung Internet (1.1%).
E-commerce market
According to National Statistical Committee of Belarus (Belstat) just 1.14 million internet users shop online, which represents 14% of population and 24% of Internet users. Given that the government is still working on implementing e-commerce statistics tools in the country, a figure of the market's revenue can only be estimated. Still, some websites expect Belarus' e-commerce sales to reach US$1 billion by the end of 2019, a figure that is debated. With the economy dominated by the state and its illiberal trade laws, many Belarusians are increasingly turning to shopping online abroad, especially through Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Some of the top e-commerce sites in Belarus include kufar.by, second.by and shop.by. The popularity of online shopping, and lower prices offered by overseas vendors, is causing losses in sales within the country. To counter this, a new decree limiting tax-free online shopping abroad was signed in 2016. The most popular products purchased online among Belarusians are home appliances (52%), phones and gadgets (52%), computers (43%), clothes and shoes (38%) and tickets for concerts, planes and trains (36%). The least popular category of goods among the Belarusian e-shoppers is medicine and optics (6%), according to a research from Gemius. The most frequently used method of payment is cash on delivery (60%), followed by credit card (13%) and internet banking (8%).

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Actualitzacions: April 2022

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