Austria is definitely one of the most developed European markets. Thanks to its location, it’s also an attractive market for many investors and e-commerce owners across Europe. Are you thinking of selling your products in Austria? Learn how SEO works there and how to optimize your website in this country. Ready? Let’s start!
In this article, you will find the answers to the following questions:
What’s the current condition of the Austrian economy?
How does the e-commerce market look like in Austria?
What do the Austrians buy the most via the Internet?
What domain to choose if we want to optimize the website for the Austrian market?
What are the rules of site optimization in Austria?
Austrian market in a nutshell
Austria is a federation that consists of 9 provinces (Bundesland), with Vienna being the capital. It’s a relatively small country - its total area amounts to about 84,000 square kilometers.
Austria joined the European Union back in 1995. From this point onwards, the Austrian market opened extensively for other countries. Lifting the border controls and joining the free movement of goods and services within the EU affected Austrian export and import. Comparing to the year 2017, foreign trade volumes in 2018 showed a visible increase in both import and export. Austrian import increased by 5,5% to 155,71 billion euro, whereas export increased by 5,7% to 150,00 billion euro (source: Austrian Statistical Office, statistik.at). The graph below shows the growth of export and import in recent years, along with the prognosis for the near future.
[caption id="attachment_14060" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Source: MFW World Economic Outlook April 2019.[/caption]
Despite the fact that Austria is often perceived as an agricultural and tourist country, the services market grows from year to year. Currently, the share of services in GDP equals around 70%. Austrian market is also seen as one of the most stable markets in the European Union - inflation is low, and there’s no increase in public debt and budget deficits. All these factors make Austria an attractive market for foreign investors.
E-commerce market in Austria
The e-commerce market in Austria is well-developed. 90% of all Austrians (7,75 mln) use the Internet, from which 84% do it outside their homes and workplaces. It’s mostly people who are less than 34 years that use the Internet on their mobile devices the most. In 2017, 62% of all the Austrians between 16 and 74 years old, were buying products and services online. During the same year, Austrians spent 7,9 billion USD for purchases from domestic and foreign online retailers (source: www.export.gov).
[caption id="attachment_13538" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Source: http://gs.statcounter.com/.[/caption]
Almost 55% of Austrians take advantage of the Internet on their desktops. Mobile devices also rank quite high (40%). According to the prognosis, these numbers will be steadily growing. Therefore, if you want to expand to the Austrian market, it’s worth to keep in mind that your website should be responsive.
[caption id="attachment_13540" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Source: www.statista.com, July 2018.[/caption]
As it can be seen on the graph above, online shoppers are usually between 25-54 years old. A smaller share in the number of all online shoppers belongs to those who are younger than 25 and older than 55 years old. As for the gender breakdown, it’s 50:50, with a slightly higher share of women.
What are the current trends in the Austrian e-commerce market? It develops rapidly. Within the last decade, the number of people shopping online increased by 72%, with this trend being visible among all age groups. Another growing trend is definitely the use of mobile devices for making online purchases. Another option that’s bound to grow in popularity, is the “click and pick up” possibility, which lets the users order a product online and pick it up in a brick and mortar store. Apart from saving on the delivery costs, this option also allows customers to collect their goods in the most convenient time for them.
For many years now, the clothing industry has been the most prominent sector in the Austrian e-commerce market. The revenue in 2018 amounted to 2.689 million USD. The graph below shows the recent income in specific sectors, together with the prognosis for the next few years.
[caption id="attachment_13542" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Source: www.statista.com, February 2019.[/caption]
The biggest online stores in Austria are definitely amazon.de and zalando.at. On the graph below, there’s a list of 10 most popular online stores in Austria back in 2018, along with the annual e-commerce net sales.
[caption id="attachment_13544" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Source: www.statista.com[/caption]
In 2018, the market leader amazon.de generated 809,2 million USD from selling the products in Austria. The online store zalando.at ranked second, with a revenue of 360,9 million USD.
Additionally, the payments methods chosen by the Austrians are also interesting. Bank transfers and credit cards are the most common payment methods, followed by instant transfers, including digital wallets. It can be noticed that increasingly fewer users choose to pay by cash on delivery. When paying online, Austrians expect secure, cheap, and easy payment processes. As a result, when offering your products online in Austria, it’s important to give several payment options - on average, most online stores in Austria offer three or four different ones. The graph below presents more detailed data regarding the payment options for online shopping, as well as a prognosis for the upcoming years.
[caption id="attachment_13546" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Source: www.statista.com, February 2019.[/caption]
The next component of the e-commerce market in Austria that’s worth taking a closer look at is definitely logistics. According to the World Bank’s ranking of the logistics industry, Austria took the 7th place in 2016 when it came to the easiness of parcel delivery in the country. Even though 66% of Austrian population live on the countryside, there’s a proper infrastructure that makes it possible to deliver the packages quickly and efficiently. (source: www.export.gov).
A lot of products ordered by Austrians online have to be imported. In fact, Austrian customers spent 7,9 billion USD in 2017, from which 4,3 billion USD went to foreign online retailers. All this means that Austrian e-commerce market holds great potential, also for Polish entrepreneurs. That’s precisely why it might be worth to consider offering your products there.
SEO in Austria
Now that you know how e-commerce market looks like in Austria and what are the trends for the next years, it’s time to consider the factors that might influence the success of your brand on an Austrian market. For starters, get familiar with the most significant elements of SEO in Austria.
The language matters
German is the official language in Austria. It’s significant to take into account that the language used in Vienna is slightly different than the one used in i.e. Berlin. There’s a “standard” version of the German language (Hochdeutsch), which young people in German-speaking countries learn at school (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein). Nonetheless, the majority uses different dialects, depending on the region they come from. Actually, the Austrian “variety” of the language is said to be similar to the Bavarian dialect. The differences are visible even in the basic phrases and words. Here are a few examples:
I hob… – Austria, Ich habe… – German (“I have…”)
leiwand – Austria, gut, erstklassig – German (“good, first-class”)
hackeln – Austria, arbeiten – German (“to work”)
Such examples can be provided endlessly. In order to translate your website to German properly, no matter which version of the language you aim for, you should, therefore, consider hiring a professional translator, so that you don’t make any mistakes on your website.
Which domain to choose?
The main domain in Austria is .at. It’s a national domain that has been in use from 1988 onwards. It can be easily used for so-called domain hacks with words and phrases that work well with the preposition or ending -at, such as arrive.at. Besides, you can also use the domain .co.at. In both cases, the prices are not very high, you can buy domain for one year for about 25 euros.
There are no specific requirements for anyone who wants to register the above domains. You don’t have to own a company in Austria, and there’s no local representative needed.
Additionally, it’s worth to take into account that choosing the domain .at will bring better results in terms of optimization than, for example, redirecting there the German domain. As a result, our website will be more visible in Google.
Search engines in Austria
If you’re thinking of conquering the Austrian market, you should check what search engines are used there the most. It’s essential since every search engine has its own rules. Below you’ll find the most common search engines in Austria.
[caption id="attachment_13552" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Source: http://gs.statcounter.com/[/caption]
As can be seen, there’s no major surprise. Google ranks first (with almost 96%). That’s precisely why it’s worth optimizing your website according to Google’s rules and guidelines. The next places belong to bing, DuckCuckGo, Yahoo!, and others.
You might also check comparison of main search engines done by UK Web Host Review. It might help you make the choice.
Link building in Austria - where is it worth to build links?
Link building forms a crucial part of effective SEO in every country. In Austria, it’s no different. Not only the number of backlinks referring to the website counts but more importantly - their quality. It matters, especially in Austria. Therefore, whenever you attempt to build links, choose the websites that are seen as high-quality by Google.
The SEO market in Austria is not very big yet. One of the advantages is that there’s a possibility to optimize your website for this market also with the use of .de domains. The links coming from such websites count in Austria as well. When it comes to link building from Germany, though, local SEO is essential. It’s worth building links from social media and Q&A sites, which in German-speaking countries are very specific and more “substantive”. You can also use local catalogs with websites.
As already mentioned, local SEO also matters when it comes to the optimization of your website. If your company has a physical address in a given country, it’s worth to make it public and include it on the website. It increases the credibility of the website, both for the users and Google. If your online store owns some certificates, they can also increase trust if you display them.
Social media is another major factor that affects optimization in Austria. It’s a great way to be constantly in touch with your customers. Below you can see what social networks are used the most by the Austrians.
[caption id="attachment_13554" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Source: http://gs.statcounter.com/[/caption]
Among all social networks in Austria, Facebook ranked as the most popular (with approximately 75%). Pinterest is also used quite frequently (nearly 15%). That’s why it might be worth creating a profile and posting images of your products there actively. It’s important to ensure they are all high-quality, and there’s a link to the product page from your store. Other popular social networks in Austria are also YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.
Top 5 industries on Facebook in Austria are sales, services, FMCG, e-commerce, and fashion. This data stems from the total number of local fans for the 200 biggest and most popular websites in Austria (according to www.socialbakers.com).
A few words to summarize
As you can see, Austria is an attractive market for selling your products for a few reasons. It’s one of the strongest and most stable markets in Europe. In the optimization process, it’s worth to take into account the language, especially when it comes to local SEO. It’s also essential to invest some time and effort in quality link building and social media marketing. If you keep all this in mind, you can easily start conquesting the Austrian e-commerce market.
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