UPDATE 1-Amazon set to launch in Poland, shares in local Allegro fall

* Amazon already operates Polish distribution centres

* Will launch Poland-based website

* Currently local customers order from German website

* Dominant e-commerce player in Poland is Allegro

* Amazon’s move was anticipated, likely to grow e-commerce (Adds detail, Allegro comment, analysts comments, share moves)

WARSAW, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Amazon said it was going to launch a Polish-based website to better serve customers currently diverted to its German site, sending shares in top local e-commerce rival Allegro down by over 7% on Wednesday.

Poland’s growing e-commerce market was given a further boost from online shopping during the pandemic and in October, home-grown eBay rival, Allegro, enjoyed a buoyant stock market debut, followed on Wednesday by parcel storage firm InPost.

Amazon’s long anticipated entry is likely to shake up and further grow e-commerce in Poland, where parcel lockers are commonly used instead of home delivery. InPost’s parcel lockers are widely used by both buyers and sellers on Allegro’s site.

“If someone wants to increase market share, they have to take it away from someone else. Each piece of the cake taken by Amazon, will be at the cost of Allegro, but the e-commerce market will grow as well,” said Konrad Ksiezopolski, analyst at Haitong Bank.

Allegro, whose shares fell by 6.3% by 1220 GMT, commented to Reuters that it had been growing customer numbers while competing with Amazon for several years.

Amazon did not say when it will launch the Polish shopping website and whose lockers for parcel storage it would use.

“At the start Amazon may cooperate with InPost, there was information about Polish Post too. I assume though that ultimately it will rather grow its own locker network,” said Tomasz Sokolowski, analyst at Santander DM.

InPost declined to comment on Amazon’s announcement on Wednesday but said in its listing prospectus that the potential entry of Amazon would be positive for the overall Polish e-commerce market, which it expected to be worth 95 billion zlotys ($25.25 billion) in 2024.

“It is expected to grow at 14% per annum from 2020 to 2024, outgrowing the UK, Europe and China,” it said in the prospectus.

Shares in InPost drifted off highs to be up 16% by 1312 GMT after a surge of more than 20% earlier.

Amazon has been present in Poland since 2014 with nine logistics centres but customers have been diverted to order via a Polish language Germany-based website, adding to costs.

“The next stage is the introduction of a full retail offer for consumers in Poland and it is now time to take this step,” Alex Ootes, vice president for EU Expansion at Amazon, said. ($1 = 3.7618 zlotys)

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko, Additional reporting by Adrianna Ebert in Gdanks;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle