Russian Online Activity During the Holiday

For most westerners who celebrate Christmas, last week was a week of rest between the Christmas holiday and New Year’s. Children went back to school today and the rest of us returned to work. In Russia where NYE is the big holiday and Orthodox Christmas is celebrated on the 7th and 8th of January, this week between those two holidays is their vacation week.

Vacation weeks impact our online activity as most of our Internet behavior changes a bit with the shift in our activities for the week. Yandex, a technology company that builds people-centric products and services powered by artificial intelligence, recently compiled data from its search, analytics tool, navigation service, and taxi services that run in Moscow to analyze online activity for the holiday period.

The research looks at statistics from Yandex services for the winter time and the holiday period. During the vacation week, Yandex users most frequently search for movies and TV shows, including the latest shows but also last year’s blockbusters and older TV series. This blog looks at the way Russian online activity changes during the holiday period.

Muscovites Activity Online and on the Roads During the Holidays

During the holidays people either stay at home with family or spend their holidays away.  Last Christmas and NYE season, fewer Muscovites left the city compared to the previous year. During the 2014 and 2015 Christmas period, there was an average of 14% less users online compared to December weekend stats. During the 2015/2016 holiday, there were only 8% fewer users online, indicating more users were in Moscow during the holiday. Below you can see the amount of users online drops more significantly during the holiday period.


Users of other Yandex services also shifted during the holiday period.  Yandex.Navigator, a navigation app helping users reach their destinations, showed a 35% decrease in travelers on the road, compared to activities on average December weekends.  Last last winter there was a  40% decrease, indicating more Russians were on the road during the 2015/2016 holiday compared to the previous year.  Yandex.Taxi, an online taxi service connecting drivers to users, decreased by 16%, compared to a 30% decrease the previous year. This week therefore should have fewer users on their computers and on the roads.

Russian Search Interests During the Holidays

On vacations people relax and their search queries during that time period reflect that.  Almost 45% of Russians’ search queries during the Christmas holiday were aimed at different ways of spending leisure time. Approximately one third of the queries were related to personal affairs, mainly for health, cooking and shopping. There was almost no interest in work but still some interest in education as students prep for exams. Overall there were fewer queries related to education (especially on December 31st) compared to ordinary days but students still went online to research educational topics.


Yandex users search for a range of topics when it comes to relaxation and entertainment. 70% of all queries relating to leisure activities are for entertainment content, primarily movies and TV series, TV shows, cartoons, sports broadcasts.  Below shows the breakdown of topics that fit into common vacation queries when users are relaxing.


Russians will be hanging out this week, spending a bit less time on the Internet but more time focused on topics that will keep them busy like catching up on shows, playing games, or connecting with friends. Yandex.Direct advertisers should adjust their online advertising in Russia accordingly and expect a drop in traffic.