This post starts a new blog series on RSM for Russian Internet user demographics.  For the next few weeks, we will delve into the online habits of different age groups of Internet users in Russia.  Beginning with young adults on the Internet in Russia and continuing up to the 55 and older crowd, these posts will provide insight into how Russians of varying ages use the Internet.  There are marked differences in what devices Russians use to access the Internet, what they do when they are on the Internet, and what websites they visit.  This demographic series will help advertisers gain knowledge on the online habits of each age group in Russia, as well as how best to go about targeting these cohorts.

Russian age structure

Internet Use

According to TNS Russia, the Russian Internet users demographic of 18-24 represents the fourth largest group of Internet users in Russia. Since Internet penetration has reached almost 100% in this group, it is unlikely that their share of total Internet users will change much in the near future. You may think that because of their youth and high connectivity this group would represent a larger proportion of Internet users. It is important to keep in mind that this age group is currently relatively small in Russia. The birthrate plunged following the collapse of the Soviet Union, so this generation is smaller than the older groups that preceded it. The next four-year cohort will be even smaller.

Russian Internet use

The high penetration of this cohort is reflected in a survey conducted by Fom.ru, which found that 18-24 year-old users were the most likely to feel their lives would significantly change were they to lose access to the Internet. In the same survey, a large majority of this group said they used the Internet most often for communication. The second most common use of the Internet was for education, unsurprising considering the age of the group. Third was simply using the Internet to relax and unwind. This cohort are big users of online media; over sixty percent of the group surveyed said they had used the Internet to view photos, watch videos, and listen to music in the past month.  They are also a popular group in the growing industry of online dating in Russia; they represent 30% of all online dating users, making them the second largest cohort.

Compared to other age groups, 18-24 year-old users were less likely to use the Internet for work, reading the news, and doing online shopping.

Social Media

There are large variations in what social networks are used by which age groups in Russia. It is key for advertisers to know what networks are popular with certain cohorts so they can effectively employ targeted advertising. Since social networking is the most popular use of the Internet for 18-24 year olds, it is especially important to know what networks they are using.

In a survey conducted by Fom.ru, 93% of 18-24 year-old users stated they had used VK (formerly VKontakte) in the last two to three months. It is by far the most popular social network among Russian youths. In second place, over 40% of respondents stated they had visited Odnoklassniki in the past month, making the social network the least popular among this age group. As previously reported on RSM, Odnoklassniki is most popular among older Russians, though as this survey shows it is still relatively popular among younger Russians.

Instagram took a distant third place with 26% of 18-24 year-old users answering they had visited it in the last few months, while Facebook was just behind at 22%. Though these numbers may seem low, they still resulted in these networks being the most popular among this age group. The same can be said for Twitter. The popular service is still relatively niche in Russia, and though it is most popular with 18-24 year-old users, just 12% said they had used it in the past few months.

In addition to being the largest users of social media, 18-24 year-olds are also the most likely to use it for activities other than communication. Over half stated they used social networking for reading the news and watching video and listening to music. This meant that this cohort was the only age group where over half used social media for something other than communication.

Accessing the Internet

Mobile Internet use is very common in Russia, with over half of all Russians using mobile devices to connect to the Internet. Mobile Internet use is most popular among 18-24 year-old users, but the high mobile use across all age groups means they constitute just under 22% of all mobile Internet users, according to TNS Russia. Using a laptop or desktop to access the Internet at home were distant second and third places in a Fom.ru survey, at 40% and 34%. This cohort was least likely among all age groups to access the Internet from a desktop computer at work.

Russian Mobile use by age

E-Commerce

E-money is an increasingly common way to pay for items in Russia, and RSM has collated information on what age groups are most likely to use e-payments. Generally speaking, Russians under 35 years of age are most likely to make use of e-money, but breaking the data down further reveals that those between 25-35 are much more likely to use e-payments than those under 25. That being said, the younger cohort is unique in that they are considerably more likely to use e-money for buying online tickets for events. They are also the largest age group using e-payments for online media such as movies and music, as well as education.

Overall, 18-24 year-old users represent the third highest proportion of online shopping users in Russia, as reflected in data collected by Gemius Audience Data Research.

This age group will continue to represent an important part of the Russian Internet population as it matures. The age group will continue to depend on the Internet and likely remain loyal online shoppers, social media users, and an audience that utilizes phones and other platforms. Next week Russian Internet User Demographics series will cover 25-34 year-old Russian Internet users!