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European Ecommerce Overview: Russia

Russia is the biggest country in the world. It is placed across two continents – Europe and Asia. Its GDP in 2019 hit US$1699.90 billion. It borders by land 14 countries Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, North Korea, Lithuania, and Poland.

In this piece, we will cover the Russian ecommerce market. You will find out how to meet Russian consumers’ needs, what is the logistics situation in this country, and many more. 

Russian ecommerce overview 

Revenue of Russian ecommerce is expected to reach US$23,609m in 2020. There are almost 69 million users of ecommerce. User penetration in 2020 will be 43.1% and in five years is expected to hit 50.4%.5

The biggest sector in Russian ecommerce is Electronics & Media with 29% of the ecommerce revenue. Then Fashion with 26%. This is following by Toys, Hobby & DIY with 20% of revenues and then, Furniture & Appliances with 14%. And last but not least, Food & Personal Care with 11% of ecommerce revenue.

The most popular ecommerce sites are all based on the Russian domain.

source: https://ecommercedb.com/en/markets/ru/all

The leader here is Wildberries, a Russian ecommerce with over US$3 million of net sales. Then come MVideo with US$1,440 million, and Ozon with US$823 million.

Consumers behavior in Russia

The decisive factors in purchasing are the brand, quality, and durability of the products. The price is not very significant, although it is sometimes taken into account. More than half of Russians like promotions and visit more than one store during them. The Russian e-commerce market is not very developed yet, therefore it is still in the growth phase. Almost half of the consumers (49%) prefer products from abroad. They are generally loyal to brands and often have and follow their preferences – they buy specific products in specific stores. Brand trust is very important. 

The market for organic and ecological products is growing, but it is not very large. However, Russians are willing to pay more for products that will improve their quality of life and health.

source: https://learning.eshopworld.com/ecommerce-blog/russia-ecommerce-insights/

The most popular cross-border destination is China. The value of the purchase from this country stands at the level of US$ 50 million. It is following by Germany with purchases’ value of US$37.3 billion. The third-place belongs to the US with US$16.5 billion. The last two – Belarus with US$14.9 billion and US$12.4 from Italy. 

Payments methods in Russia

The most frequently chosen payment method is cash on delivery. It is estimated that up to 95% of e-commerce purchases are paid in this way. This is largely due to the distrust of technology by both consumers and retailers. In addition, the supply chain in this country is not at the highest level of development and there are still situations when parcels do not reach the recipients. It is therefore not surprising that the Russians still prefer the cash on delivery option.

The issue of electronic payments is that it is still in its infancy. Despite considerable doubts on the part of consumers, the market is still booming. A study was conducted in which it turned out that payment cards are the most popular non-cash payment.

source: https://www.runetology.com/russian-payment-service-provider/

When it comes to online payment, there are some discrepancies between various devices. But online banking and card are clearly preferred methods both on desktop and smartphone.

Russian social media

There are nearly 146 million people in Russia, of which 118 million use the Internet. 70 million have social media accounts. The average time Russians spend online cross 7 hours from which nearly 2 and a half-hour they spend scrolling down social media.  

source: https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2020-russian-federation?rq=russia

Around 90% of social media users use them actively via social media. So mobile-friendly content is a must. Thanks to Facebook Ads you can reach around 8 million people. 

source: https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2020-russian-federation?rq=russia

Russian logistics 

Taking into account the size and location of the country, Russia is an important player in international and intercontinental transport. What’s more, it has access to many sea areas – the Pacific, Black Sea, Baltic Sea, and more. Consequently, sea transport is an important pillar of Russian logistics (Polar Silk Road).

source: https://hkmb.hktdc.com/en/1X0AGR8J/hktdc-research/Russian-Far-East-Opportunities-Multimodal-Logistics-Network


What is also worth mentioning is that the Trans-Siberian Railway runs throughout almost the whole country. It is a crucial transport corridor in Asia. 

To sum up

Russia is an enormous country in which ecommerce is still something new. That is why there is still room for maneuver. It can’t be said that this is the easiest market to enter but definitely worth the effort. There is no fierce competition and there are dozens of consumers who are waiting for your products. 

If you are more interested in Scandinavian ecommerce there are pieces about Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Or if you aim at the Middle European market, what about Spain or France?