Russian Online Shopping Behavior: Domestic & Foreign Selections

Russian search engine Yandex teamed up with GfK, a leading market research company, to analyze Russian online shopping behavior.  The study surveyed shoppers between the ages of 20 and 55 years old and was conducted in September 2013 and again in September 2014.  The study only looked at Russians in cities larger than 100,000 and shoppers who made 2 or more online purchases per year from any of a select 14 major categories.

The study found that over the course of two years, Russians’ interest in international online shops significantly increased.  The study also showed Russian online shoppers have developed preferences and patterns for which goods they purchase from domestic vs foreign online stores.

The GfK Yandex study categorized online stores into four types:

  • Russian local sites –  online shops associated with local stores in the shopper’s home city,
  • Russian non-local sites – from other Russian areas outside of the shopper’s home city,
  • Chinese sites – Chinese online shops,
  • English-language sites – English language sites from the US, UK, and EU.

Half of Russian online shoppers purchased goods from international online shops.  The popularity of Chinese Internet stores had an especially strong growth in 2014, with 39% of Russian shoppers using Chinese eCommerce sites, which is up 14% from the year before.   In comparison, 26% of respondents shop from English-language websites (21% in 2013).

As of September 2014, half of the Russian respondents who bought products from international online shops cited low prices, wide selection of goods, and high quality products as reasons for using international vs domestic online shops.  Shoppers who only shop from Russian sites said they didn’t use international shops because of a lack of necessity, longer shipment time, and fear of fraud.

Respondents in smaller cities are more likely to order from international retailers (mainly Chinese).  This may be driven by the fact that, compared to their counterparts in major cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, they have less access to foreign goods and stores in their home towns and cities.  According to last fall’s data, the average purchase on a Russian online shop was 6600 rubles ($115) and 4000 rubles ($70) on a foreign based online shop.  On average, online shoppers from Moscow spent 8000 rubles ($140) per order from Russian sites and 6000 rubles ($100) per order on international sites.

The top categories purchased from domestic Russian online shops are small household appliances, clothes and shoes, and mobile phones and tablets. When it comes to international online shops, the major categories that do well are clothing and shoes, children’s goods, mobile phones and tablets, and cosmetics and perfumes.  Aside from clothing and shoes, the top purchases for Chinese online shops is children’s goods and for English-language websites the major purchase is cosmetics.

Overall, in Russia there is a greater reliance on international based online stores in 2014 compared to 2013.  Half of Russians online shoppers order from non-Russian websites but certain categories attract more Russian buyers than others.  International eCommerce players should not only consider the Russians’ product selections on international sites but also ensuring they reach consumers in smaller cities by geo-targeting outside of major Russian cities. Despite the average spend on purchases being a bit higher in Moscow, Russian shoppers in other areas tend to purchase more from international and non-local sites.


Yandex Russian Online Shopping Trends 2014