According to a Balkan Business Survey report for 2018, direct advertising and communication with customers through modern channels – Facebook, YouTube or InstaGram is becoming increasingly important, while more traditional means of communication and marketing via email or website is gradually becoming outdated.
26 percent of companies in the Balkans sell their products or services through the Internet, but this is an important source of income for only 20 percent of them (about 5 percent of the total number of surveyed businesses). It seems that Albanian businesses are the ones that are more related to traditional sales channels, while Serbs and Montenegrins are more open and seek to modernize their marketing means.
As in previous reports, companies in South Eastern Europe use the internet to communicate via email, Skype and similar communications channels. In addition, 46 percent of companies used the Internet for advertising in 2018, an increase of 3 percent from last year.
The third most common reason for using the internet is the introduction of companies through websites, from 51 percent in 2017 to 42 percent in 2018. About two-fifths of respondents use the internet for online banking, which is lower than the 45 percent reported in 2017. There has also been a significant decrease in the proportion of firms using the internet for online sales at 20 percent, from 32 percent in 2017.
Internet usage varies depending on the company subgroup. For example, it is still important for large and big companies to be introduced through a well-maintained website. On the other hand, only 30 percent of small companies have their own website, while up to 10 percent do not use the Internet at all. Exporters are usually more engaged in the Internet in all categories, compared to companies focused exclusively on the local market. Most of the companies still use traditional store sales, while online sales are still low, although its importance is steadily growing globally.