Putting the tablet to bed: How Russians use the internet

In recent years a new generation of Russians have taken their place in the global online marketplace. Internet use is rapidly becoming the norm, with 59% of Russians now using the net. But with this figure set to rise, what makes Russian online users different? How does their online activity differ to that of people in other countries? As more and more Russians are embracing the digital age, we take a look at their online behavior.

Where are you?

How Russians use the internet depends largely on where in the country they live; while social networking sites are equally popular in both rural areas and big cities, more people in metropolises like Moscow access news via the internet, no longer relying on the radio or printed newspapers. This new tech-savvy audience demands up-to-date, objective news coverage and they know exactly where to get it.

The busy life in big cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg explains why online maps and traffic flow monitors are so popular in those areas. Yandex.Maps provides all the information they need; whether it’s finding an easier route to work on a rainy day, or knowing the best shops available on the other side of the city, and if it gets too tough, they can always rely on e-commerce (as 70% of Moscovites already do).

Gaming by day, browsing by night

Internet activity shows different online behavior throughout the day. As expected, computer usage peaks between 2-6 in the afternoon, a time when people are more likely to be using a computer at work. Tablet usage, however, peaks between 10pm and midnight, suggesting that users are on their tablets while relaxing at home in the evening – possibly taking them to bed with them.

But mobile devices are not only for news and work. As smartphone and tablet sales grow stronger, there has also been an increase in free-to-play games available for these devices. The Russian video game market is estimated to be worth $1.4 billion by 2015 with approximately 16.6 million Russian players. That’s an online gaming community known not only for being big, but for developing and creating successful and top-downloaded games such as Cut the Rope by Zeptolab.

Although they’re a part of the globalized world of the internet, Russians prefer to stick to their own online traditions. They still favor local VK to Facebook when it comes to social media, Yandex to Google when searching and while Amazon is a top online shopping destination in any big internet market, it still has to find its way to this European giant. Avid for information and reviews, they use their tablets and smartphones to browse, not to buy.

While Russians may have their own patterns of internet use, they still have the same concerns as most web users. With its online penetration rate increasing so rapidly, it leaves lots of scope for companies wanting to make the most of online advertising and content marketing opportunities, as long as the market’s unique requirements are taken into account.