In 2012, Russians spent $8.6 billion on luxury goods and in 2013 became the eighth largest market globally for high-end products. While the luxury brand market in Russia is expanding, the lack of understanding Western brands have of the Russian digital market acts as a significant handicap to online sales. Here are the top 3 ways Western luxury brands can improve digital marketing in Russia:
Create Russian Language Sites
The first major hindrance to online sales is the failure to offer a Russian language site. Of the luxury brands analyzed in the Digital IQ Index almost half do not present content in Russian and 20% limit translation to the homepage. Brands offering advanced translation make up a mere 14%. These figures point to a potential growth opportunity for a great number of businesses: understanding of the Russian language and substantial local knowledge are determining factors for brand popularity and sales. It’s no coincidence that the majority of the top 25 luxury brands own and operate their business within Russia
Develop Mobile Sites for Wider Consumer Access
Understanding the Russian mobile market is another way Western luxury brands can target a wider demographic. Although the country has the largest mobile audience per capita out of the BRIC nations, luxury brands may fail to successfully target this demographic. Approximately 50% of Russians actually have more than one mobile phone; however, feature phones outnumber smartphones two to one. Approximately 20% of luxury brands offer a Russian mobile site, all of which are for access via a smartphone, so there exists a risk of ignoring feature phone users, who account for 35% of mobile web access. Luxury brands may want to analyze their target consumers’ mobile habits to make sure their website is compatible with the relevant devices.
Increase Presence on VK and Odnoklassniki
Social media users are one of the biggest internet audiences and typically Russians spend 12.8 hours per month on social networks compared to the global average 5.7 hours. With 60.5 million social network users in 2013, the potential target market for luxury brands is huge. However, brands are criticized for their lack of presence on Russian social media sites. Western luxury brands that are entering the market, or looking to expand their presence within Russia, should be encouraged to use social media outlets like VK and Odnoklassniki to communicate with a greater number of Russian consumers.
With 180,000 millionaires and 84 billionaires living in Russia, the potential audience for Western luxury brands is vast. If they begin to take into account the three key areas mentioned above, there is potential for further growth in the market.