The Russian online economy reached 1.94 trillion rubles (roughly $31 billion at the average exchange rate) in 2015, according to “The Runet Economy,” a study released last month by the Russian Association for Electronic Communications (RAEC).

This amount is equal to 2.4% of Russia’s gross domestic product, slightly more (0.2 percentage points) than in 2014.

Due to the economic crisis, the Russian online economy grew more slowly in 2015.

In 2014, the online content and service market had increased by no less than 46%, while online payments showed a 36% growth. In 2015, these two markets grew equally by nearly 24%, with the online content and service market reaching 1.36 trillion rubles ($22 billion) and the online payment market amounting to 588 billion rubles ($9.5 billion).

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Counted as part of the online content and service, the online retail market is estimated by RAEC at 589 billion rubles, or $9.5 billion, in 2015. (Another study by the research agency Data Insight put the figure at 650 billion rubles or $10.5 billion without cross-border sales).

The online advertising and marketing market grew moderately, with context ads exceeding 80 billion rubles (nearly 1.3 billion) and online video advertising still underdeveloped at 4.6 billion rubles ($76 million). These trends show the dependence of these industries on the economic situation in the country and consumers’ purchasing power, notes the study.

No less than 86 million Russians (70% of the population) used the Internet last year on a monthly basis, including 70.8 millions on a daily basis, notes RAEC, citing data from TNS Web Index.

The penetration of smartphones and of mobile apps and services also grew last year. “The Internet audience is growing almost exclusively thanks to mobile users,” note RAEC’s analysts. In 2015, nearly 62 million of Russians accessed the web via a smartphone at least once a month.

Some 2.3 million Russians worked in the IT sectors – including free lancers and self-employed, – the study also reveals.

This blog originally appeared on EWDN by Jane Kuhak on October 13, 2016.