Yandex Market, Russia’s leading online shopping aggregator, and GfK Ru, a market and consumer information company, researched the latest developments of the Russian online shopping market for 2016.  Their research is based on the results of a survey given to Russian online shoppers during September 2016. The study covers Russian online shoppers’ local and foreign eCommerce site preferences and the most popular categories from which shoppers purchased throughout the year.

Russians’ Online Shopping Site Preferences

The main reason many Russians shop online is because it saves time and money. There also is the opportunity to buy a product that may not be available in local stores. Russian online shoppers prefer foreign online shopping to domestic online shopping, because there is a greater possibility of saving money. The downside that may turn Russian shoppers off is the longer delivery periods.

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The popularity of online foreign stores in Russia has grown significantly. Specifically Chinese online stores have rapidly increased in popularity among Russian online shoppers. In early 2016, Chinese online stores had the same share of customers with stores in the shopper’s own Russian city. Chinese online stores are particularly popular in cities ranging in population from one hundred thousand to five hundred thousand people. This is most likely due to the fact that there are fewer retail store options in smaller cities and towns.

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In Moscow the most popular sites to shop are hometown stores. This is also sen in cities with over 800,000 inhabitants. While cities with less than 800,000 inhabitants are equally or even more interested in shopping on sites for out of town stores. Chinese sites are also easy competitors to out of town store sites in smaller cities, probably because they have a larger selection of products at a cheaper price.

Top Items Russians Purchase Online

Russians commonly shop abroad for specific items, mostly clothing and shoes. Other products Russian online shoppers tend to buy from foreign online stores include baby products, cosmetics, and home and garden goods. The most common things purchased on domestic online shops also include clothes and cosmetic, as well as small appliances and health products. While phones and tablets are not being bought from abroad online any more than in recent years, they are being bought less in Russian stores.

In 2016, 64% of Russian online shoppers made at least one unplanned purchase. Women out order men when it comes to spontaneous purchases. Respondents of the survey said that promotions and discounts are what usually made them impulsively buy online.

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Yandex published the research as a follow up to other surveys Gfk Rus conducted earlier in the spring of 2016 that revealed that the number of online shoppers in Russia has grown. The survey showed that every fourth resident of Russia from 16 to 55 years old bought at least one item online each year. In spring 2015, it was only one in five residents in Russia.

Russian Online Shopping Unplanned Purchases

The biggest reason behind shoppers making unplanned purchases online in both 2015 and 2016 was because of discounts and deals. The second most common reason was free delivery, which is common for most e-retailers in Russia.  This past year in 2016 discounts and referrals were the two areas that increased as reasons for purchases, while most other categories slightly dropped aside from social ads and push notifications which remained the same.

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In part two of this research, Russian Search Marketing will publish a blog looking at the Russian eCommerce logistics for delivery methods and payment options.