How does eCommerce in Russia look like?

In this text I’ve gathered information from a few reports on the state of eCommerce in Russia in 2016/2017.

Here you will find the answers to the questions:

  1. Where do Russian customers buy products?
  2. What do they buy online?
  3. How do they buy, what do they pay attention to?
  4. How much money do they spend?
  5. How do Russians pay online?

Facts about the Russian e-Commerce:

  • In 2016 the Russian eCommerce has grown by 920 billion rubles, 33% of which is cross-border eCommerce
  • In 2017 the Russian Post handles about 1 million international shipments per day
  • 46% of customers before buying compare prices in Russian and foreign online stores
  • 81% of customers who make purchases in foreign stores, do it because of a lower price
  • Top-100 Russian online stores share 68% of the Russian eCommerce market

Cross-border trade in Russia

According to the NAMO, market volume of cross-border in 2016 was $4.3 billion. The number of international packages reached 245 million units, so within a year it has doubled.

According to the forecasts of AITC, the volume of cross-border trade in 2017 will grow to 39% and will be about 420 billion rubles, and the number of incoming packages will increase by 71.6%, to 400 million units.

Russia is a very attractive market for e-commerce companies at the moment. Consumer confidence seemed to have returned, and the strengthening of the rouble was a major factor. Russian customers want the same fast fashion as the Western customer, so ASOS and Wiggle were both working at improving delivery speed, and ASOS had improved its proposition significantly. In the period between September 2016 and February 2017, sales were up by over 200% year-on-year, as mentioned in recent company reports.Brian McBride, Chairman at ASOS and Wiggle

Where do Russian customers buy products?

The popularity of Aliexpress is still growing. Today it is the most visited eCommerce website in Russia, with 22 million unique users per month. In Chinese online shops Russian users have made 90% of all foreign orders. In European stores they’ve made 4% of transactions, in the U.S. – 2%. In monetary terms, China gets 52% of Russian customers cash, the EU has 23%, the U.S. – 12%. It shows that Chinese online shops have low average bill. (Source)

Russian foreign ecommerce site preferences in 2016

What do they buy online?

The most recent report on what products in local or foreign stores Russians often buy refers to the fall of 2016. As your can see on the chart, in international stores (except China), Russian users are more likely to buy (in descending order): clothing and footwear, cosmetics and perfumes, baby products and electronics.

The study that Romir Research Holding conducted in April 2017 shows that compared with last year there is a steady increase in spending (overall, not just on the Internet) in most categories, especially in home appliances and electronics, smartphones, tablets and cars . Only buying clothes and shoes decreased significantly — from 38% to 27%.

It is interesting that in the segment of clothing, the Russians are actively saving. 33% of the respondents assumed to make a purchase, but only 27% have made it.

In general, the interest in buying clothes is increasing. If you compare 2016 with 2015, the interest in mobile increased by 167%, and on the desktop by 20%.

As for sports clothing, tastes of the Russians are largely identical with the Europeans. In 2016 the most increased interest had brands like New Balance and Puma, and a little less Reebok and Asics:

Russian consumers began to save on children’s products, though during the crisis this segment was named the “island of stability”. They save mostly on toys – 28%, and children’s footwear – 24%. In addition, parents prefer to spend money on sporting goods – 15%, diapers – 12%, baby food – 11%, clothing for children – 10%.

The majority of Russians are not happy with the prices for kids products in online shops. According to the study “the eCommerce market of children’s products – 2016”, Russian consumers believe that the prices of children’s products are too high.

How do Russian consumers buy? What buying preferences do they have?

Most of the purchases in foreign online stores Russians make because of low prices compared to local shops (81%), a wider range of products (41%) and the presence of exclusive products that are not available in Russia (29%). 6% buy in foreign shops because of higher quality of products.

The number of spontaneous purchases has decreased. Almost half of Russians are not ready to buy something right away: 24% prefer to compare prices online before purchasing, 14% are waiting for discount season, and 11% check the same thing in outlets or discount stores. Only 45% of respondents are ready to buy the product immediately, without waiting for discounts.

46% of customers compare prices in the Russian and foreign stores before buying. Among them 22% believe that because of the appreciation of the dollar it’s became unprofitable now to buy abroad, and 30% compares prices only in the case of travelling abroad.

However, in 2016, the main reason for spontaneous purchases were discounts and free shipping.

About 44% of Russians make purchases online 1-2 times per month, 13% of them 1-2 times a quarter, 9% – more than 3 times per quarter, and 30% are buying depending on needs of the family.

Half of respondents make purchases online using a smartphone or a tablet. Among them, 62% do it via mobile app, and 52% through web browsers.

Mobile devices are most often used by consumers which buy in the foreign online stores — 21% compared with 14% in case of the Russian stores (source).

How much money do they spend?

In 2016 more than 64% of orders that Russian users have made in foreign stores cost less than €22, and more than 60% – less than €150. Low average check is derived from a large number of small orders from Chinese online stores.

The situation in Moscow is very different from the rest of Russia. The average bill of the inhabitants of Moscow in foreign stores is 6400 rubles, in Russian stores it’s a little higher — about 6600 rubles. In the segment of household appliances the average check reaches 10,000 rubles, in computer/electronics stores the sum of the average purchase is approximately 8400 rubles, and on goods for animals, for example, consumers spend an average of only 3600 rubles per one purchase (source).

How do Russian consumers pay online?

According to Yandex and Gfk Rus in 2016 payment by debit card became more popular than cash for the first time. 71% of respondents said that in the past year, at least once paid for the purchases online by debit card. 68% of customers paid by cash — this indicator has been declining for the last four years. However, in case of pay on delivery, the debit card is still less popular than cash (source).

In Moscow 63% of customers prefer to pay cash on delivery. Almost a third (32%) of customers pay for order by debit card.


 You need more data about Russian eCommerce? Send me an email. 



  • Mahdi
    29.03.2018 at 13:34

    Hi Konstantin
    Who are the top five biggest food e-commerce in Russia.

  • Icare
    20.03.2019 at 02:44

    Good article, I was wondering why I saw so many Russian reviews on those Chinese site.

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