Although Polish GDP has grown steadily for the past 25 years, the purchasing power is only equal to 69% of the EU average. It should also be noted that there are considerable differences in the distribution of wealth within Poland (4 of the 19 poorest regions in the EU are in Poland). Therefore, when seeking customers who are able to pay for high-design products, the search should be aimed towards the wealthiest regions and especially towards their capitals: Warsaw, Katowice, Wroclaw and Poznań. This is also confirmed by a 2016 study by KPMG. According to this study, there are about 1 million rich people in Poland, but only 41,000 are HNWI (High Net Worth Individuals); in Italy there are 1.1 million.

The target. Our potential customers are people aged 35 to 45, nicknamed “Generation X”. There are about 6.5 million Gen Xers, equal to 17% of the entire population of Poland. They lived their childhood during the years of socialism, experienced the advent of democracy, have had the opportunity to gain professional success and today have reached stability in their private and professional lives. But money is not enough. Our experience with Italian design companies has taught us that some Polish customers are not able to appreciate the design quality and therefore pay a higher price. As mentioned above, these are people who lived their childhood during socialism. It was a period of constant shortages of the most basic products and with a deep technological gap; the design was irrelevant. This period influenced the education of the aesthetic sense of some of them. This same problem has also been experienced by Polish producers. “We are still living in an aesthetically devastated world, of a lack of attention to the aesthetics of a public space,” says Piotr Voelkel, creator of the VOX brand. At the same time, industry experts point out that in recent years there has been a big change in consumers. In their opinion, they are paying more attention to how a certain object was designed and where it was produced.

Design and Poland. In fact there are many foreign high-design brands already present in the Polish market as well as many showrooms. According to the Central Statistical Office, the value of furniture imported to Poland in 2016 amounted to 622 million euros, of which 312 million euros from the European Union and 34.5 million euros from Italy; imports representing almost half of the total value of the furniture market (in 2016 EUR 1.32 billion according to B + R Studio).

Returning to the question in the title, it is appropriate to consider the Polish market in your company’s expansion plans, especially since about 20% of Poles plans to buy new furniture in 2017 (PMR Report “Home furnishings and equipment retail market in Poland 2016”).

Przemek Suchanek is a Polish professional who helps companies find a market space in Poland: https://www.enterino.com/en/. For some years now he works with me and is the author of this post.