Similar to other parts of the world, mobile devices are becoming the dominant way to access the Internet in Russia.  For many of us, the accessibility to the Internet on our smartphones makes it easy to quickly access information we need in a timely manner or to use messaging apps and read the news during a commute or idle time.

For Russians, there are a number of reasons mobile Internet use is more prevalent including the demographic of Internet users and cost comparisons to broadband Internet.  Yandex analysts recently compiled data to better assess the developing mobile Internet scene in Russia.

Russian Youth and Mobile Device Use

Most Internet users in Russia are under the of 35.  On average, younger users prove to be a bit more tech savvy and this contributes to why Russia has seen a mobile Internet takeover.  Younger users tend to access the Internet more on their tablets and mobile devices. Half of the Russian Internet users access the Internet through mobile devices.  Users spend the majority of their time logging into social networks and connecting with friends on messaging apps.

Age representatino of Russian Internet Audience 2015

Russian Mobile Internet Users by Region

2014 was a significant year of growth for the amount of mobile Internet users in all regions of Russia.  Most regions across Russia saw over a 10% growth from the previous year.  The biggest increase in mobile Internet use was seen in the North Caucasian Federal District and the Far Eastern Federal District.

At the end of 2014, 68% of users in Russian cities went online by way of their mobile device at least once per month.  In comparison, the year before this was only 56% of users.

Russian share of mobile Internet users

Russian Smartphone and Tablet Use

Mobile users became more frequent website visitors from 2013 to 2014.  The share of  website visits from phones and tablets nearly doubled over the course of the year.  There was much more mobile phone activity by the end of 2014.  Mobile phone visits to websites proved to be twice as many as tablet visits.

Russian share of mobile and tablet use

Android remains the dominant platform for Russians accessing websites through their phones.  Windows phones had relatively little change in the year time period, while iOS use had a minor increase.  Most noticeably, Java Symbian bada decreased over the course of the year where Android picked up momentum.

Russian mobile phone distribution by platform

Although growing, Android is less popular on tablets than it is on mobile devices.  Users tend to utilize iOS more when accessing the Internet by tablet.

Russian tablet distribution by platform

Obviously in addition to accessing websites through their browsers, people also use their phones and tablets to use mobile applications.  The graph below shows the average number of application use per day in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other major cities tends to be 5 of more.  Excluding St. Petersburg, women tend to use more mobile apps than men in Russia.

Russian mobile application users in different regions

Cost of Internet Access

Most Russians have access to high speed Internet connection at home.  Russians pay a monthly bill for unlimited Internet access that depends on the Internet speed.  Analysts compared the prices of the cheapest high speed Internet rates across regions of Russia to show how price may ultimately impact how people are accessing the Internet.

The most expensive Internet rates are in the Far East at approximately 600 rubles per month at 4 Mb/sec.  With the current exchange rate, this equates to about $10.50 per month.  Faster Internet in Moscow costs about $5.30 per month.

Russian broadband Internet price

Accessing the Internet on a mobile device is either done by purchasing data or purchasing a monthly plan with a set data limit.  Analysts focused on tablet Internet connections to show the cost differences across the regions of Russia. By these measures, the Far East continues to be the most expensive place to access the Internet followed by Moscow.  For the most part, costs are generally around 300 rubles per month for a similar amount of GB/month.  The minimum price and the speed of the Internet is much cheaper and faster than broadband options, contributing to the rise of mobile connectivity.

Russian mobile Internet price

Conclusions

According to eMarketer, Russia currently has 54 million smartphone users, which is expected to reach 73 million in the next four years.  With an almost 20% increase in smartphone use, webmasters and PPC specialists in Russia should be sure to optimize their websites and their ads for a mobile audience in Russia.  Thanks to the new mobile ads in Yandex.Direct, digital advertisers can now not only adjust their bids for mobile users but create special mobile ads.