Author: Marie Barrance, Head of Account Management and Implementation, wnDirect
More than 143.7 million people live in Russia, which makes it the 9th biggest country in the world. The number of online shoppers in Russia has continued to grow steadily. There were roughly 30 million online shoppers in Russia in 2015, up 13% from 2014. And the number of people in Russia turning to eCommerce has been growing steadily since 2012. The domestic eCommerce market increased from 560 billion rubles in 2014 to 650 billion rubles last year. It now accounts for just 2% of the total retail industry in Russia, which indicates huge potential for future growth.
According to Data Insight, cross-border shopping is the fastest-growing segment of the Russian eCommerce market. In the first quarter of 2016 Russians' purchases from foreign online stores totaled 70 billion rubles, which is 106% more in comparison with last year, according to AKIT, the Association of Internet Commerce Companies. AKIT estimates that this year the total volume of online sales in Russia will grow by 15% and that for purchases made abroad sales will grow by up to 35%.
But if retailers want to get a piece of the action and take advantage of the growth of cross-border shopping in Russia, what do they need to know? Here at wnDirect we know one thing for sure when it comes to international expansion and cross-border trade…and that is that the value of local knowledge simply cannot be underestimated.
We wanted to know what matters most to online shoppers so, in November 2015, we surveyed over 1,000 Russian consumers who had bought items online.
We found that more than a third of respondents had last purchased items from an international brand or website within the one to three months prior to the research being conducted, with almost one in five reporting that they had done so in the previous four weeks, thus demonstrating a strong desire for international brands and products. However, more men (23%) than women (8%) actively sought out foreign brands.
We also found that those aged 45-54 are most likely to seek out international brands when looking to purchase clothing, with the US proving the most popular location amongst all those who do actively seek out foreign brands.
Our research also highlighted several key factors which Russian consumers deem important when shopping on international websites. Shipping, customer reviews and simple ordering were the chief concerns and in terms of delivery, respondents were most concerned with shipping costs, speed and the ability to track the parcel. Also, whilst the majority of respondents preferred to have their parcel delivered to their home (44.6%), 40% preferred a locker / click and collect type option.