Serbian Minister of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy Zoran Djordjevic has stated that electronic trade in Serbia is growing considerably. He said that, in 2018, there had been 1.8 million people purchasing goods online, 50% more than in 2015.
Explaining the draft law on trade at the parliament, Djordjevic specified that the share of users of electronic trade in the total number of people online had grown from 18% in 2011 to 31% in 2018.
– Last year, e-trade in Serbia amounted to USD 317 million, a growth of around 9% compared to 2017, and online sales are expected to amount to around USD 350 million – Djordjevic said.
The minister explained that the law featured stipulations defining electronic trade in more detail and that the concept of an “electronic store”, where goods are sold directly to the consumer, and an online platform which connects the seller and the buyer, were being introduced for the first time.
For the first time, the law recognized the “dropshipping” sales model, which is already being implemented in practice and which entails the sending of goods directly from the producer, and not through a trader, Djordjevic added.
– This should remove uncertainties regarding inspection supervision, which used to affect e-traders' legal security, as they were not recognized within the local legal system. An important new feature of the law pertains to the introduction of the concept of a mystery shopper, which authorizes inspectors to make a hidden purchase in case they suspect that the seller is unregistered, thereby obtaining evidence – he says.
Djordjevic said that the draft law also defined the basic forms of discounts – promotional sales, seasonal discounts and sales events – as well as the special rules for each of them, more closely.
– This prevents deceptive operations and the misleading of customers, which used to be a frequent occurrence, as various phrases were used in practice, not properly informing the customer about the nature of the sale – the minister said.
The law also introduces a new division of retail, which differentiates between trade at the sales point, trade through personal offers and remote trade.
As he said, the trade sector employs 19.3% of the total number of employees in Serbia, and its share in the GDP is around 10%. Around 32% of the total number of registered companies operate within the retail and wholesale sector, Djordjevic said.