Top 10 E-commerce trends in Russia (2019)

This post is the last in a four-part series based on insights from the Global Digital Yearbook, which is compiled every year by the Hootsuite social media management platform and the We Are Social agency. Check out the previous installments on internet usage in Russia, trends in social media, and mobile usage if you need to catch up! In this article, we’ll look at 10 key e-commerce trends in Russia for 2019:

1) 76% of Russians have an account with a financial institution. For comparison’s sake, this figure is currently 93% for Americans.

2) 20% of Russians have a credit card (and this figure applies equally to men and women). Given this relatively low percentage of inclusion, Russian e-commerce sites typically allow for multiple payment options, including using a public terminal, or paying the courier on delivery.

3) Within a calendar month, 81% of internet users searched online for a product or service to buy and 58% actually made an online purchase during that time period (according to the results of a survey posted on Globalwebindex).

4) Mobile purchases are catching up with desktop-based ones (at 32% vs. 44% respectively). In contrast, these figures stand at 56% and 44% respectively for internet users in the US.

5) Travel & accommodations enjoy the largest share of spend (at $15.9B), followed by fashion & beauty at $5.3B and electronics & media at $4.1B.e-commerce spend by category in Russia

6) Several e-commerce categories have enjoyed double-digit annual growth, including all of those mentioned in point #5 as well as food & personal care, and furniture & appliances.

7) 80.1M Russians purchased goods online in 2018. This equates to 56% of the population (as opposed to 79% in the USA).

8) The B2C e-commerce market in Russia is currently valued at $17.2B.

9) 1.8% of Russians own some form of cryptocurrency (as opposed to 5.3% of Americans).

10) The top Google shopping queries in Russia are largely devoted to handheld electronics (particularly smartphones), appliances, and major e-commerce platforms. It’s interesting to note that the top two queries are identical apart from the alphabet used to enter them (Latin vs. Cyrillic).

Here is a breakdown of the top 20:

  • #1-4, and 13-14 are all smartphone brands or models (Samsung in both Latin and Cyrillic, Xiaomi, iPhone in both alphabets, and Huawei Honor)
  • #5, 7, 16, 18, and 20 are all e-commerce platforms (Russian sites Avito, Yandex.Market, Detskiy Mir and Eldorado, as well as the Chinese site AliExpress)
  • #8-10, 12, and 15 are all popular consumer brands (Lego, Ikea, Nike, and Adidas in both Latin and Cyrillic)
  • #11, 17, and 19 are all types of consumer goods (refrigerator, television, and tablet)

Key takeaways

Russians are rapidly embracing the online purchasing experience and following the global trend of using their mobile phones to order on the go.

Those interested in targeting their ads toward Russian consumers should note the mixed use of Latin and Cyrillic characters to search for the same or similar items (Samsung and Самсунг, Adidas and Адидас, etc.). The relative weight that one alphabet carries in search significance varies greatly depending on the brand name, so it’s best to research search volume using Yandex’s wordstat tool.

It’s also worth noting that you won’t find American heavyweights like Amazon or eBay among the most popular Russian e-commerce platforms. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the local equivalents if you plan on selling your products abroad.