Russia is one of the world’s most populous countries with close to 144 million inhabitants – making it a potentially large e-commerce market. Russia has lagged behind most European countries in terms of Internet penetration but has been catching up in recent years; it currently has an estimated 70% usage. Around 84 million Russians over 16 years old are using the Internet. However, there are regional differences with the larger cities being far ahead of rural areas. The online e-commerce market represents approximately 4% of the total Russian retail market.
Currency fluctuation no strain for e-sales
There is an assumption that the negative trend of the country’s currency, the Russian ruble, has somewhat hampered cross-border growth. However, foreign retailers’ online sales to Russia have grown considerably over the past few years. The cross-border market was believed to reach USD 4.3 billion in 2016 – a growth of 25% compared to 2015.
Cosmetics, Clothes & Footwear, Books and Home Electronics are popular online product categories. The most popular cross-border market is China though this could be due to the currently weak position of the ruble together with China’s low prices.
Popular Payment Options
The average Russian online consumer tends to be a bit wary towards new or unknown brands. For new entrants establishing themselves in the Russian market, it is highly recommended to translate their web sites into Russian. As in most other markets, it is also advisable to offer a variety of payment methods. Though the use of credit and debit cards is increasing, many Russian online customers still prefer cash on delivery (COD) which in most other markets is very unusual today.
In terms of preferred delivery options, home delivery is most chosen. However, many online consumers also like to collect their wares from service points and retail stores. The local post office is also a popular alternative. One thing that should be noted is that over 60% of Russian online buyers state that they regard high delivery costs as an obstacle for their online purchases. A low price or better yet free delivery would be an effective argument for cross-border retailers to use in order for the purchase to go through.
Population: 143 million
Currencies: Ruble (RUB)
GDP: USD 1.35 trillion
Internet Penetration: 70%
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