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Hungary - Selling and buying

Contents extracted from the comprehensive atlas of international trade by Export Entreprises

Reaching the consumers

Marketing opportunities

Consumer behavior: Traditionally price is really important in the purchase process of Hungarian consumer. Only a small percent of consumer trade price to quality. Consequently the importance of after sales service is also still quite marginal.
Consumer profile: Most of the consumers are purchasing only based on their needs. Most of the purchasing power is concentrated in a small portion of the population. This segment is quite impulsive. Hungarian consumers in general like national products.
Main advertising agencies:

Distribution network

Evolution of the sector: In the first ten months of 2012, the overall volume of retail trade in Hungary decreased by 1.9 %, compared to the same period of 2011. Retail growth is expected to increase this year and reach 1.2 percent annual growth rate in 2013 as a result of the decreasing inflation rate, releasing the burden of the central government’s austerity measures for the consumers and decreasing the personal income tax.
Until recently, small, family-owned shops dominated Hungary’s retail sector especially in the less populated parts of the country. Thousands of these shops still continue to serve rural populations, posing logistical challenges for distributors and suppliers. However, medium-sized, financially well-established heavy-discount chains are making inroads in Hungary’s retail sector.
In urban areas, shopping malls have expanded rapidly, so much so that as of January 2012, a law came into effect. This law requires all retail developments of above 300 square meters to be personally approved prior to planning permission by the Minister for National Economy.
Types of outlet: Distribution networks for consumer goods are fast developing. Small and medium sized local businesses and especially small independent retailers are losing their market-share to foreign competition. Indeed, international stores are attracted to the country due to the increasing demand by Hungarian consumers for western products. The presence of several foreign groups can thus be noted:
- the Auchan group,
- Tesco,
- the German groups Tengelmann, Baumax and Metro.
The food distribution market also consists of a few big national groups: the leader being CBA.
The main players in the discount business are: Plus (with 156 retail outlets), Penny Market with 143 retail outlets and Lidl (en hongrois) with 22 retail outlets.

In the non-food distribution sector, foreign groups dominate especially in the ready to wear sector (C&A, Mango, etc)

Market access procedures

Average Customs Duty (excluding agricultural products): 3.6%
Customs classification: Yes
Import procedures: For goods that are less than 1,000 kg or a worth less than 1,000 EUR a verbal declaration at customs upon presentation of the invoice is sufficient. For values that are superior you need to present at customs the following: a summarizing declaration (air or sea transport) in order to register the goods; a common law declaration (UAD - unique administration document) with all the necessary documents for clearing customs. The UAD documents can be obtained at the chamber of commerce.

As part of the "SAFE" standards advocated by the World Customs Organization (WCO), the European Union has set up a new system of import controls, the "Import Control System" (ICS), which aims to secure the flow of goods at the time of their entry into the customs territory of the EU. This control system, part of the Community Program eCustomer, has been in effect since January 1, 2011. Since then, operators are required to pass an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) to the customs of the country of entry, prior to the introduction of goods into the customs territory of the European Union.

Organizing goods transport

Organizing goods transport to and from: Since 1996 and in co-operation with the Trans-European Telecommunication Networks, the Hungarian Ministry of Transport has been following a new transport policy in order to modernize the infrastructure of the country: new highways, new subways, streetcars and buses in big cities and conglomerations. Furthermore, the goods transport sector is mostly privatized.
The current road network covers the North-South and South-North parts of the country. This still needs several modifications to be in accordance with the European standards.
The first toll motorway, connecting Budapest and Vienna, was inaugurated in January 1996. Train is the most used means used for goods transport. Just like road transportation, this sector was privatized. The privatization and concession of the public sector's activities in 1998 accelerated the modernization of the structures to match the European standards.
Sea transport organizations:
Air transport organizations:
Rail transport organizations:

Domestic business directories

Manufacturers associations of the main industries:
Trade Agencies and their representations abroad:
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