Consumer behavior trends during the 2020 fall-winter season in Russia

Nielsen Russia experts on anticipated shifts in online and offline purchases and priorities

In a recent webinar, Nielsen Russia experts shared information on past consumer behavior changes (we also covered Nielsen Russian articles on this topic here and here), and their forecasts for where customers are likely to shop during the 2020 fall and winter seasons and what they are likely to prioritize.

Consumer behavior benchmarks leading up to the 2020 fall season in Russia

Russians’ leisure time and shopping preferences

The trend towards digitalization of Russians’ hobbies was already present in 2019: 65% of Russians surveyed named “Internet browsing” as their hobby, followed by 49% of the respondents naming watching TV as one of their hobbies. In addition, 34% of the respondents were into cooking and baking, and 28% added “shopping” to their list of hobbies.

Online and offline shopping for FMCG products in Russia

For all the respondents who were shopping aficionados, the transition to online purchases was not complete. In May 2020, the top 3 reasons survey respondents were giving for shopping offline were preferential:

  • “like buying products in a regular store” – 60%
  • “want to shop at my usual or favorite store” – 39%
  • “want to get out of the house” – 34%

Reasons for shopping online were either related to health concerns or convenience, such as not having to carry heavy bags.

The difference between items purchased online and offline also started to disappear over time. In surveys run in early 2020, Nielsen Russia experts saw significant differences in goals for purchasing products online and offline. Offline food shopping was focused on everyday needs, small-scale purchases between regular shopping trips, and purchases for same-day consumption. Online, however, most consumers were making large purchases and discount-shopping.

Later in 2020, 58% of respondents switched to combining online and offline purchases, shifting some of their regularly scheduled purchases to the online channel. Consumers didn’t make as many spontaneous purchases and planned their shopping lists more thoroughly than before.

Online and offline purchases in May 2020 in Russia

Online and offline purchases in May 2020 in Russia. Source: Nielsen Russia survey

At the same time, the average order value for online purchases was almost three times as high as that of offline purchases: 3,924 rubles and 1,617 rubles, respectively.

Prepared food and takeout purchases in 2019 and 2020

Purchases of prepared food, going to restaurants, or ordering takeout were not uncommon in 2019:

  • going to restaurants (at least once in the last 2-3 months) – 71%
  • ordering takeout (at least once in the last 4 weeks) – 17%
  • buying prepared foods in grocery stores or from online FMCG retailers – 10%

Later in 2020, takeout and ready-made food became less popular: 51% of new survey respondents started cooking more frequently, and 25% of respondents don’t buy prepared foods from groceries or supermarkets.

“Healthy living” in 2020

According to Nielsen Russia experts, the trend toward healthy lifestyles was also evident as early as 2019 (we wrote about it previously). Based on a March 2020 survey conducted by Nielsen Russia, Russians perceive healthy living as:

  • Giving up unhealthy habits
  • Balanced nutrition
  • Sufficient hydration with clean water
  • Exercise and sports
  • Following a daily schedule
  • Reducing screen time
  • Building up your immune system (for example, cold showers)

In Russian cities with over 1 million people, 81% of respondents believe that healthy living is important, 48% have dietary restrictions (not all of them health-related, respondents were also imposing restrictions on themselves to avoid unhealthy products), and 1 in every 5 respondents has a fitness tracker.

While only 11% of respondents in the December survey went to a gym or fitness club, 43% of March respondents were exercising as part of their healthy living regimen – they were just doing it at home.

What Russians do to stay healthy

What Russians do to stay healthy. Source: Nielsen Russia survey

Fall predictions for 2020: consumer behavior in Russia

Here are the key trends that Nielsen Russia experts anticipate in the future:

  • women continue to be primary FMCG product buyers
  • ongoing demand for prepared foods and food delivery orders
  • prevalence of small-scale purchases
  • growing demand for private-label products and discount shopping
  • transition toward primarily online hobbies
  • continued interest in healthy living and healthy food products
  • growth of online FMCG purchases
  • self-care at home instead of spas or hair salons

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