Written by: Anita Lišková
photo by: Tomáš Kubeš
E-COMMERCE: Web sites gaining ground as promo tool
Today, company web sites are a standard communication channel in the Czech Republic, and according to a study by TNS Factum, are seen as necessities. The greatest advantage of communicating with customers through company web sites is 24-hour “interaction”, while the disadvantages are the regular required maintenance and limited access for customers without internet. The interval between company
site design changes averages once every two years, with 25% of firms changing their sites once a year or more often. One-third of respondents use their sites for on-line sales of goods and services, and nearly half implement Internet advertising campaigns. Firms most often invest over CZK 100,000 a year in on-line promotions, with only 15% spending over CZK 500,000 on such advertising.
FINANCE: Indebtedness made easier
With growing Czech consumer interest in installment sale plans and increased accessibility of all sorts of loans, the percentage of buyers who are unable to pay their debts is also rising. This year’s first quarter tallied a record 41,000 repossessions, compared to 33,000 in Q1 last year and 14,000 in Q1 2002. “The main reason for the rapid rise in the number of nonpayers is generally debtors’ poor payment discipline, individuals and legal entities alike,” claims Jiří Komárek, secretary of the Czech Republic Repossession Chamber. Many institutions, mainly banks and consumer loan providers, began using repossession as an effective tool against debtors. “This includes transport companies, telephone service providers, insurers, municipal offices, and individuals,” Komárek adds.
INCOME TAX: No freedom from taxes
Tax Freedom Day comes a full nine days later since the start of the new millennium. This year every Czech citizen has to work a full 166 days towards common public expenditures, paying the state an average of CZK 98,000. Nevertheless, the Czech Republic’s public indebtedness is rising CZK 300,000 a minute. “For ordinary citizens the most visible taxes are on income and for social and health insurance,” says David Lipka of the Liberal Institute, which each year declares Tax Freedom Day. In the euro zone people work an average of 174 days for the state, while in the US they work only 128 days. “Calculation methods can differ, of course, and we used estimated GDP this year, declared by the finance ministry and OECD data,” Lipka explains.