Winter holiday purchases in Russia. Part 1: gift-giving trends

Part 1: what were Russians planning to buy for their friends and family in 2020 and where

We’ve covered winter holiday trends in multiple posts (from Russian gift-giving traditions and strategies to attract online shoppers to consumer behavior during the 2019 winter holidays). In this 2-part post series we’ll look at consumer behavior in Russia in 2020, covering purchasing habits and top product categories.

In November 2020 Yandex conducted a survey to determine which holiday presents Russians plan to buy for their friends and family, what those presents are going to be, and when they will be buying them. The survey results are based on 2,000 responses from Russians between 18 and 55 years old, living in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. You can view the full results in a presentation in Russian published here.

How many winter holiday presents do Russians buy on average?

86% of respondents plan to get gifts for their friends and family, with 70% of respondents planning to buy presents for 2 to 5 people (20% plan to buy 6-10 presents, 4% are planning to purchase gifts for 10+ people, and 6% are have only 1 person on their gift list).

Do men and women approach the winter holidays differently?

The survey results show that men plan to spend more than women on buying holiday gifts. This is reflected in the categories of presents.

Based on the responses, the top 5 present categories that men prefer to buy (or give) are:

  • toys (37%)
  • perfume (31%)
  • household products (28%)
  • electronics (26%)
  • food and alcohol (25%)

The top categories for women are:

  • household products (49%)
  • toys (48%)
  • personal care products (47%)
  • clothing, footwear, and accessories (41%)
  • perfume (34%)
  • food and alcohol (31%)

Yandex researchers highlight the following “male” gift categories: electronics, consumer electronics, gadgets, jewelry, and cash. “Female” gift categories include toys, household products, personal care products, food and alcohol, gift cards, makeup, print media, pet products, as well as clothes, footwear and accessories.

Interestingly, based on the responses, men are planning their purchases significantly later than women (2nd half of December and at the time of survey respectively).

How did top gift categories change compared to previous years?

The presentation compares top categories between 2018 and 2020. While there are some changes, the top categories are largely the same:

Winter holiday gift categories in Russia, based on customer intent surveys in 2018 and 2020

Winter holiday gift categories in Russia, based on customer intent surveys in 2018 and 2020. Source: Yandex research

What kind of winter holiday presents do Russian men and women prefer?

Surprisingly, most male and female respondents would rather get cash (32% and 33% respectively). However, gift preferences beyond that are quite different by gender.

For men, the top gifts besides cash are:

  • electronics (28%)
  • gadgets (16%)
  • household tools (14%)

The non-cash gifts women prefer are:

  • jewelry (30%)
  • personal care products (25%)
  • perfume (24%)


Where do Russians buy presents?

79% of Russians in 2020 were still planning to go gift-shopping at a mall, but 59% were also going to search for products online. That’s 10% more online shoppers than in 2018.

Oddly enough, men are more likely to shop online in Chinese online stores (51%), and in other foreign stores (18%), with women less likely to buy in foreign e-commerce stores (31% and 11% respectively).

Russian e-commerce stores are relatively more popular with women: 95% of female respondents plan to shop in Russian online stores, with 93% of male respondents planning to do the same.

In our next post, we’ll be looking into pre-holiday searches and highlighting product categories that are in demand leading up to the winter holidays, based on 2018 and 2019 searches on Yandex. Want to receive it when it’s published? Sign up for our monthly newsletter.