E-commerce in the Balkans: Rise of local players

In the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, people started getting wary of goods shipped from China. This included rumours spreading through social media of the virus being contracted from the surfaces of shipped goods. This led to a significant drop in interest in AliExpress. Although competitors like Amazon also felt it, the impact on the Chinese retailer was significantly harder.
The subsequent months of 2020 saw a period of recovery, with people searching for ways to shop as many items as possible online. This process was most visible in Bulgaria and to a lesser extent in other countries. By that time, Amazon had already caught up with its competitor and managed to overtake it in 2021 when shipping costs from China to Europe went through a major hike.