According to recent research by GfK, the Russian Internet grew by 4 million users over the course of the past year reaching 84 million.  By their measures, the Russian Internet penetration reached these numbers based on Internet use from Russians age 16 and older. Research company eMarketer noted that Russia had a 61% Internet penetration in 2015 with a 4 million user growth from the previous year but with a total of 87.3 million users. The two sources published different total numbers based on their own criteria for frequency of use and age of user. However, both noted the same growth over the year.

GfK attributes much of the growth to mobile connectivity.  According to the GfK survey, mobile Internet access in Russia more than doubled during the year. By the end of 2015, 37.5% of users 16 and older went online by way of their phone and 19.5% from tablets. In 2014, the same research found that 17.6% of users were connecting on mobile phones and 8.4% by tablets, displaying a major climb from 2014 to the end of 2015.  Access to wifi and mobile application packages from the major telecom operators contributed to the mobile rise in Russia.

Today in Russia there are approximately 50 million users accessing the Internet from mobile devices, which is 42% of the adult population in Russia.  The older population drove a strong portion of the Internet growth because 97% of younger users were already online.  The younger users (16-29) drove more of the mobile activity.  70% of this age group goes online through their phones and and 35% on tablets.

Russian Internet use 2015

Russians in bigger cities and primarily Moscow are more practiced Internet users. The Internet penetration in Moscow exceeds the country average and has a significantly higher mobile and tablet uses than other areas.  Russians from places with smaller populations are less practiced Internet users but the regions are slowly catching up with larger cities thanks in large part to mobile accessibility.  Often the lower costs of mobile connectivity encourage Internet use.

Over the next few weeks, Russian Search Marketing will be publishing a demographic blog series that covers the Russian Internet audience in greater detail. The series is intended to help advertisers gain a better understanding of the Russian audience to improve their targeting and marketing.  In connection with this series, we will also publish about the most popular websites and mobile apps in Russia to give our readers an update on the top trends for Russian Internet in general.