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Consumer Landscape in Hungary: A Comprehensive Guide

Consumer Landscape in Hungary: A Comprehensive Guide

Growing share of e-commerce

Online shopping has become more and more popular among consumers. Traditionally, the most bought products include electronics (household appliances, computers and accessories), presents and toys. Food delivery also has a heavy presence online. Upcoming segments are supermarkets and drugstores offering home delivery of food, healthcare items and cosmetics.

You might want to consider whether you want to operate your own webshop in Hungary, or simply list your products in international online shops already popular here, like Alibaba, Amazon, or eBay. Either way, localizing your content, meaning product descriptions and promotional material will help steer customers in your way.

Ethical consumerism

While price continues to be one of the most important factors in deciding in favor of a purchase, ethical considerations are also becoming more and more prominent, especially among young consumers – who might even drive acceptance of these ideas, and the popularity of corresponding products. These considerations may include purchasing local products, products not tested on animals, products with certificates of Fair Trade or Sustainable Palm Oil (or just products without palm oil), or products that decrease energy consumption.

The desire for sustainability and environmental awareness are more and more prevalent features of consumers. In line with this, cycling gains popularity as a means of transportation, since it produces zero emission while contributing to the fitness of cyclists. At the same time, e-mobility is also on the rise, with significant tax allowances for electric vehicles and the introduction of an electric scooter sharing system in Budapest.

Domestic holidays gaining popularity

Traveling shorter distances, excluding air travel, and supporting local business are all features of domestic holidays, so going on a vacation within Hungary is again in line with ethical consumerism. Spending holidays in Hungary is further encouraged by the current fringe benefit regulations, where employees may receive compensation above their salaries in so called “SZÉP vouchers”, which have limited utilization – including the coverage of travel and holiday accommodation within Hungary.

Private healthcare

While healthcare in Hungary is supposed to be free and accessible for everyone, long waiting lists, especially in specialized care, steer more and more consumers towards private insurance schemes and private medical services, together with all connected businesses, including therapeutic appliances and visiting health resorts.

Accommodation market

Rental prices are on the rise, which makes property investment an excellent business in Hungary, especially in Budapest. Both in long-term and short-term rentals, real estate investments generate a stable income which, combined with the rising real estate prices, make this kind of investment risk-free as well as lucrative.

Business operations in Hungary

Should you want to start doing any kind of local trade as a foreigner, the easiest way is to set up a limited liability company (LLC) in Hungary. This is the most popular company form because registration takes only 4-5 business days, and since it can be done with a POA, you must come to Hungary only once, for the company bank account opening – which is a major benefit if you are actively engaged in the management of other businesses. The LLC form is also available for subsidiaries, if you prefer that. Company formation is available to all nationalities, even without a local partner, while the EU VAT number generated immediately after incorporation lets you start international trading without a waiting period.

If you plan on spending much time in Hungary, company operations also make you eligible for residency in Hungary. In turn, your residence permit card can be used as a Schengen visa, which might come in handy particularly if your country of origin is outside of the European Union.

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