Everything you need to know about Russian Black Friday

Two weeks ago while in Moscow, I was surprised to be hit with so many black Friday ads.  Russians obviously don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but they have started celebrating Black Friday the past few years.  Following the US shopping trend, both international and domestic retailers offer special promotions and sales to encourage the kick off of holiday shopping.  Russians, among other international shoppers, started making a lot of cross border eCommerce purchases on Black Friday to capitalize on all the sale prices. In time, local Russian retailers, primarily eRetailers, started catering to the audience but the concept of a major sale day is still quite young in Russia.

In 2013, Russian and Austrian entrepreneurs created a special Russian Black Friday online portal for retailers and shoppers on this day. At the time, the portal encouraged many domestic players to participate in Black Friday for the first time.  The portal has continued to promote the event the past few years in addition to other eCommerce sites offering special prices and discounts for shoppers.

According to Russian research company Promokodabra, more Russians will participate in Black Friday than last year.  Not only is the online shopping event gaining momentum as a concept but Russians are likely even more intrigued by a sale in the current economy.  An overwhelming 90% of respondents plan to participate in Black Friday.

russian black friday participation

Based on the 2014 data from a similar study, the most active Black Friday online shoppers were men and women over the age of 41.  More of the younger demographic of 25 to 40 year older shoppers participated in Black Friday offline sales.

In 2014, the average purchase was between 2000 and 7000 rubles, which with normal exchange rates equates to $60 to $200 but currently is lower due to the current exchange rate making it closer to $30 to $100 USD. Generally speaking, the average Russian online purchase from a foreign retailer is $70, while the average domestic eCommerce purchase is $115.  This year shoppers plan to spend more, with 22% of respondents planning to spend more then 15000 rubles on Black Friday.

Russian black friday sales

When it comes to the types of purchases Russians plan to make on Black Friday, clothes and shoes is the top selling category. Female respondents selected clothes and shoes (76.1%) as their top category followed by perfumes and cosmetics (37.4%) and children’s goods (39.4%).  The Russian male shoppers have different plans for their 2015 Black Friday purchases.  The top categories for men include clothing and accessories (40.1%) home appliances (39.1%), and mobile devices (39.4%).

black friday categories

This categories coincide with the top selling categories on Yandex.Market, Russia’s leading online shopping aggregator.  In honor of its 15th anniversary, Yandex.Market is offering an extended sale from the 26th to the 30th that coincides with Black Friday.  Banner ads will lead to sale items in the various Yandex.Market categories.  Some of the top categories include smartphones, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, dresses, cosmetics, skates, and sofas. The Russian market covers a range of top categories that includes tech devices, fashion retail, and home appliances and furniture. Over 3000 retailers will offer their products through their participation in the Yandex.Market sale this weekend.

According to the Promokodabra study, the top online retailers on Black Friday are Ozon.ru, Lamoda, Wildberries.ru, Ulmart.ru, and M.Video.  Russian eCommerce players appear to make more effort for Black Friday than brick and mortar stores but I was still intrigued to see billboards welcoming me into Moscow promoting Black Friday sales at their stores.  Not only did I see billboards for Black Friday but I also saw several small posters and coupons about special deals posted in other public places such as the entrance to apartments.  This shopping holidays will continue to grow in Russia.