Online consumer behavior in Russia: what you need to know

Demand drivers, digital habits by gender and age, and strategies for differentiation for premium-segment pricing

In this post, we link to articles previously published on Russian Search Marketing for an overview of online consumer behavior in Russia. Read on to learn about Internet usage among different ages, how online searches are distributed among different genders, and reasons why Russians shop online.

Making purchases online: what drives demand?

This post  summarizes the results of a study conducted in 2018 by Yandex and GfK, including the following:

  • What Russians buy online
  • Where they make their purchases
  • What motivates them to buy online

Here are the most important takeaways:

  • Russians continue to be price-sensitive: among reasons to shop online, “cheaper than buying in physical stores” and “possible to compare prices and search for the best deal” come before “possible to purchase at convenient time and place.”
  • Reasons to buy from foreign stores include lower prices, availability of specific items, as well as having access to a wider assortment of items.
  • Consumer behavior on foreign websites is different as well: most users read reviews and check out photos of items on foreign websites. When shopping on Russian websites, buyers compare prices and delivery conditions across different websites.
  • Reasons not to buy from foreign stores include long delivery times, difficulties returning items, and stores not offering a service warranty.
  • The top three online shop selection criteria are: price, the reliability and reputation of a particular store, and offering a wider assortment of products.
  • 70% of respondents indicated that they bought an item at a discount or during a promotion. At the same time, 60% of those indicated that they would have bought the items at full price.
  • Out of a variety of promotion strategies, discounts and free delivery are the most common.

You can view response summaries and charts, find out how online store selection criteria differ based on the buyer’s age, as well as discover how Russian buyers prefer to pay for their online purchases, here.

Managing discount-driven shopping behavior online

Given how much online shopping consumer behavior appears to be driven by price and discounts, the question remains: how do you market effectively in Russia without slashing your prices?

In this post, get advice from Nielsen Russia experts on how to keep your FMCG products out of this discount trap.

Some of the points mentioned in the post:

  • Focus on consumers whose behavior is not discount-driven
  • Create personalized offers and use targeted pricing
  • Identify ways to differentiate your offerings that are not related to price

Read additional tips on managing discount demand, studying pricing elasticity, and promoting your products on the Russian market here.

Marketing strategies for premium products

As a complement to the post above, we summarize research from Nielsen Russia specialists on the behavior of Russian shoppers in the premium segment.

Here are the popular premium market categories:

  • Clothing
  • Gadgets
  • Meat, fish, seafood
  • Coffee and tea
  • Dairy products

Motivations for buying pricier items are:

  • High quality or safety standards
  • Producers support social-responsibility or environmental-sustainability initiatives
  • Organic or natural products

To read more and view the graphs describing the behavior of this customer segment, read the full article here.

Age, gender, and online behavior in Russia

In addition to price sensitivity (or desire to buy premium-market items), age and gender also play a significant role in the way Russians shop online. Russian Search Marketing published a series of posts outlining Yandex research on the subject.

Commercial interests by gender and age for Russian internet users

As might be expected, there are differences in commercial interests by gender.

Men tend to be interested in business, electronics, and cars. Women, on the other hand, are looking for information on medicine, clothing, and real estate. Meanwhile, such categories as legal services, entertainment, and education appear to be of interest to users of both genders.

You can read more about the research results, including a detailed breakdown of categories, in this post.

Interestingly, age appears to play a significant role in digital advertising in Russia. Internet users over 45 years old remain the consumer group most receptive to ads. 55% of all ad conversions in a Yandex study that was covered in this Russian Search Marketing post was made by users from this category.

In this follow-up article, Russian Search Marketing presented a more in-depth view of how different stages of life correspond to online search patterns. For example, such topics as entertainment and media are more interesting for younger users, and household appliances or construction and renovation become more relevant for older Russians.

You can read more about the difference in online consumer behavior of Russians based on their age in this article.

For a more detailed review of how online consumer behavior differs by age, refer to our series of posts outlining online browsing habits, social media usage, demand for online shopping, and devices most commonly used by different ages.

Here are some of the most important takeaways:

Russian internet users between 18 and 24

  • The fourth largest group of internet users in Russia
  • High penetration of internet usage
  • Main uses of the Internet: communication, education, online media, online dating
  • Primarily mobile devices, least likely to access the Internet from a desktop computer at home or at work

You can read more about the online behavior of Russian young adults here.

Russian internet users between 25 and 34

  • The largest group of Russians online
  • Internet penetration approaches 100%
  • Use the Internet for: work, communication, and education; largest group of online dating users
  • The biggest group of mobile phone Internet users, highest tablet usage out of all age groups
  • The largest group of online shoppers

To find out more about the online behavior of this audience, refer to this Russian Search Marketing post.

Russian internet users between 45 and 54

  • Three-fourths of Russians of this age are online
  • Use the Internet for: work, social media, news, with some differences between retired Russians and working Russians in this category
  • Different social media usage trends compared to younger Russians
  • Primarily access the Internet from a desktop computer, both at home and at work

Click here to read more about the browsing habits of older Russians.

Russian internet users over 55

  • The second-smallest group of Internet users in Russia in 2014, with an Internet penetration rate of about 50%
  • Use the Internet for: communication, news
  • The least likely among all age groups to be shopping online
  • The least likely to access the Internet from a mobile phone or tablet, preferring desktop computers

To read more about the online habits of Russians over 55, check out this post.

Recent insights

With the online landscape changing frequently and online shopping becoming more widespread, the consumer behavior of different consumer segments in Russia is likely to continue to evolve. Russian Search Marketing will continue publishing updates and research from Yandex and other sources.

You can subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get new information about Russian consumer behavior online, and links to other resources of interest to companies selling in Russia.