This week we turn to the Russian Internet user demographics of the 35-44 year-old age group.  As this blog series approaches the Internet habits of middle-aged Russians, we can observe larger differences in how the Internet is used when compared to younger users.  Some of these differences will likely not surprise you; older Russians use social media less, and they use the Internet more for work.  Did you know, however, that older Russians tend to gravitate toward a social network that has largely fallen out of favor with younger Russians?  Or that 35-44 year-olds are more likely to engage in e-commerce than the average for all Russians?  This week’s cohort has particular importance for the Russian Internet market, as their high Internet penetration indicates that the next generation of middle-aged Russians will be quite Internet savvy.

Internet Use

The 35-44 year-old cohort represents the third largest group of Internet users in Russia, according to TNS Russia. Penetration in this group is high at around 90%, but there is still room for future growth. This is especially true when considering that the younger and better-connected 25-34 group is considerably larger than this cohort. Considering the higher penetration of the younger cohort and their higher proportion of the Russian population, we can reasonably expect 35-44 year-olds to make up the largest group of Internet users in Russia in the future.

As may be expected, the older Russian Internet users are, the less their lives revolve around the Internet. Fom.ru found that older Russians are less likely to say that their lives would change dramatically if they lost access to the Internet. Of the Russians between 30-39 surveyed, 54% said their lives would be greatly affected, and 47% of 40-49 year-olds said the same. This compares to 61% for 18-24 year-olds and 56% for 25-29 year-olds. While that is certainly not an insignificant drop between the generations, it is important to note that around half of 35-44 year-olds would still find their lives greatly impacted without the Internet. We can expect this to only rise in the coming decades as the better-connected cohorts age into this group.

Over half of Russians between 35-44 use the Internet for communication, and around two-thirds said they had used social media in the past month. Unsurprisingly, as Russians increase in age their use of the Internet for education decreases; just 42% of 30-39 year-olds and 38% of 40-49 year-olds. However, their use of the Internet for work increases, with around half of 35-44 year-olds reporting using the Internet for work, the highest proportion of all age groups. This age group is least likely to use the Internet simply for relaxation in their free time, less than half said they used the Internet for online media in the past month. Almost 40% of 35-44 year-old Internet users reported buying goods online in the past month, slightly higher than the average for all Internet users. While this group was the third largest cohort of online dating users in 2015, at 19% of all users they have some ways to go before catching up to younger users.

Social Media

RSM has previously reported that Odnoklassniki is particularly popular among older Russians, and the results of a Fom.ru survey reflect this. The social network was most popular among Russians between 40-49, followed closely by 30-39 year-old Russians. VK, which nearly all 18-24 year-old Internet users have, is used by 61% of 30-39 year-olds, on par with the average for all Internet users, and just 42% of 40-49 year-olds. Instagram and Twitter, two social networks that have just recently begun gaining traction among younger Russians, are barely used by this age group, though Twitter use is about on par with 25-34 year-olds at around 7%. Respondents in this age group were increasingly likely to report not using any social network at all, though this was still a fairly low response at 11% of 30-39 year-olds and 15% of 40-49 year-olds.

Social media use in general is dramatically lower among this group than its younger cohorts. Just 21% of 40-49 year-olds reported accessing social media multiple times a day, compared with 66% of 18-24 year-olds and a Russian average of 37%. Most Internet users in the 35-44 cohort visited social media just once a day, and this group had the highest number of people saying they used social media only a few times a week. This age group was much less likely to use social media for watching videos and listening to music than their younger peers, though their use of social media for reading the news and work-related use was about the same.

Accessing the Internet

This cohort is tied with the 18-24 year-old group for the second highest mobile web usage, at 21.7% according to TNS Russia. However, a Fom.ru survey found that accessing the Internet from mobile phones began a steep decline with this age group when compared to younger Russians. Despite this, over half of 35-44 year-olds reported accessing the Internet from their mobile phones. This age group were among the most likely to report having accessed the Internet from a home desktop, with 42% of 40-49 year-olds using their desktop to access the web, the highest rate in the survey. This age group was also the most likely to use a desktop at work to access the Internet.

E-Commerce

While this cohort is considerably less likely to use e-money than 25-34 year-olds, they are still a significant segment of e-payment users, as reported by RSM. Generally speaking, they are roughly as likely to use e-money as 18-24 year-olds, with slightly lower mobile usage. Desktop use of e-payments is considerably higher, which corresponds to the higher number of people in this group accessing the Internet from desktops. Interestingly, despite not being the most frequent users of e-money, 35-44 year-olds are most likely among all age groups to use e-money in a number of categories. These include shopping online; adding money to their mobile service; paying bills; online gaming; transferring money; and paying for bank loans.

When observing general e-commerce trends, this group was the second largest cohort of online shoppers in Russia in 2014. Russians between 35-44 represented 22% of all online shoppers, a few points ahead of the 18-24 cohort but significantly behind the influential 25-34 year-old group.

Next week Russian Search Marketing closes out the Russian Internet user demographics blogs on age groups with a look at senior citizens’ online use.