By 2021, 76% of Russians Will Own a Smartphone

By 2021, 76% of Russians will own a smartphone. Is that a lot? Is that a little? Well, like most statistics, context defines the significance. According to the Pew Research Center, 77% of Americans currently own a smartphone. So looking three years into the future, a lesser percentage of Russians will own a smartphone than current day Americans.

It’s this lagging maturation that leads many to refer to Russia as a ‘desktop first’ market. Remember how much easier advertising was in the ol’ ‘desktop first’ days here in the US? Much less to worry about – easier tracking – more efficient monetization; and it’s this allure that has led many large international advertisers to turn to Russia for accelerated user acquisition.

Nevertheless, considering that the Russian Internet population is the world’s 7th largest audience, the current number of ~55% of Russians with a smartphone is still a big number and needs to be considered. So how are Russians using their Mobile phones? Well, like other markets, the most popular activities on mobile are Social Media, Video Consumption, Game Playing, Location-based Search and Mobile Banking. The chart below illustrates the splits.

In the mobile world, Yandex recently passed Google as the leader in Search on Android devices in Russia.

App promotion in Russia has increased in both efficiency and practice. An increasing number of international apps are promoting in Russia due to the market potential and seamless entry. There are far less logistics to consider when selling an app abroad, and advertisers have taken note. More smartphones in the market > means more users > means more customers.