Stated as unacceptable, Romania has access to “much faster Internet than most of the US”; actually, it is currently in the top 5 countries that enjoy the fastest Internet speeds globally – a fact probably justifiable by the high number of users: now 11 million out of 19.8 million inhabitants. While traditionally led by urban adoption, the growth in the number of Romanian Internet users (1% in 2015) has shown a slowdown from previous years due to the fact that most rural areas are still potential markets.
Now at more than 100% mobile penetration rate, Romania counts over 10 million smartphones, with Bucharest and large cities being main adopters of new technology. However, their rural counterparts are slowly adopting heavy usage habits due to the efforts of telecom companies, which made smartphones available enough to become the Internet gateway into rural Romania. As a consequence, rural users currently access Internet mainly from mobile devices; no differently from urban ones, however, who pushed the average percentage of users accessing Internet daily from mobile devices to a whooping 75% in 2015.
If technology changes How and When Romanians access content, Social Media plays a major part in What content they choose to access. Thus, the pressure of social networks has made an unthinkable shift in preference possible; one which causes TV consumption to decrease in favour of online, paid or free content, inside and out of the social networking area.
Facebook has been the No.1 Social Media player in Romania in the past years and will probably continue to be as such, but for an increasingly ageing audience; meanwhile, young Romanians turn their eyes on YouTube, which now counts more than 7 million users each month. Following their tracks, brands have also started paying increasingly more attention to the video-focused social network. Weapon of choice: video, today’s ultimate storytelling tool.
And so, last year’s rising stars – mobile & video – have made way for mobile video to enter the online marketing focus, meant to seize the perfect moment in a completely redefined purchase process run increasingly more online, on desktop or mobile devices.
It is a lesson brands need to learn quickly in order to fine-tune their marketing strategies to reach the now almost 7 million Romanian Internet users who make online purchases – when it is most convenient for them. – Cristi MIHAI, Managing Partner, STRATEGAD.
Still young, the Romanian market closely follows international trends, always on the look for the best ways to find the latest, most effective branding and sales strategies. Leading this pursuit are the 5,000 big boys of the local e-commerce market, now at more than EUR 1.4 billion – and counting.