Recent shifts in the global online market have seen Russia emerge as Europe’s largest internet market, surpassing 64 million monthly online users. Businesses worldwide are now looking to take advantage of the investment opportunities available there, and with the market predicted to flourish in the near future, the number of corporations taking a keen interest is set to snowball.
Up to now Russia has proven to be a complicated market to enter for those who know little about its e-commerce culture and who have not carried out comprehensive research before launching into business. Many aspects of the e-commerce trade differ significantly from country to country. Companies wanting to expand their online business should take into account local specificities before commencing business there.
There are many aspects to be considered when entering a new market and perhaps the most important one where money is concerned, is payment methods. For instance, PayPal, an international giant in e-commerce, is hardly, if at all, used in Russia. According to the Europe B2C E-Commerce and Online Payment Report 2013, cash continues to be the predominant method of payment in Russia. Although bank cards are the most popular form of online payments worldwide, they have yet to gain popularity in Russia and are mainly used to withdraw money from cash machines.
However, online payments are gaining in popularity. According to research conducted in 2012 by ’TNC MITS‘; one of the giants in market research, global market information and business analysis, Yandex.Money is the most well-known E-wallet system in Russia, closely followed by WebMoney, Money@Mail.ru, QIWI Wallet and finally PayPal. Some local banks also have online credit card processing services, such as ImpexBank. The sample of people interviewed by TNC; aged between 18 and 45 and living in Russian cities of no less than 800,000 people, showed that Yandex.Money is also the most used E-wallet system in Russia, with Qiwi Wallet and WebMoney in second place (source: Morgan Stanley research).
The two Russian e-currencies, Yandex.Money and WebMoney were both primarily intended for use in the Russian Federation, but are now gaining popularity in other countries. Currently, Yandex.Money is accepted by over 20,000 internet stores in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The e-service has partners in the banking industry, internet and telecom service providers, online stores, municipal services and more.
So, if you are thinking about setting up a business in the Russian online market, or simply wanting to expand your existing company, make sure you research the local business systems and include them in your business plan to guarantee success.