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Russia has a population of 144 million and internet usage rate is at 86%, taking up a large part of e-commerce and m-commerce markets in Europe. In 2017, Russians spent 231$ US per capita online and 8,612$ US per capita at brick-and-mortar locations. In the last years, the Russian growth rate has slowed down. However, rebound in oil prices, a more stable inflation and the adjustments to a weak Rouble in 2015, have helped maintain an ongoing development. The e-commerce market is especially expected to reach its very promising potential, with a compounded annual growth rate of 9% until 2022. The average Russian resident has 1.67 mobile contracts, therefore, optimizing online shops for mobile devices is extremely important when selling to the Russian market.
In 2016, a new government owned retail bank, Post Bank, was created. Through their large country-wide network of post offices, it is expected to become a significant player for cards payments. This socially-oriented task should also help make banking service more widely available. The newly created bank should reach around 20 million customers by 2023.
Debit cards are the most popular payment method in Russia, at 36% of the transaction volume. They also dominate the payment market in terms of number of cards in circulation. However, the number of debit cards is slowly decreasing, at the benefit of prepaid cards. Earlier, the preferred payment method was pay on deliver. Credit cards are generally not as popular at only 15% of the transaction volume. E-wallets are slowing emerging in the market, with Qiwi and Yandex being the most popular. Mobile wallets were used to pay for 24% of e-commerce and 2% of POS transactions in 2017.
Other payment service provider in Russia include Assist, Chronopay, DengiOnline, PayOnline, PayU, Robokassa and Platron, RBK Money und Yandex Money.
At brick-and-mortar shops, Russians paid for 60% of their transaction cash in 2017. Debit cards accounted for 35% of POS transactions. The Russian point of sale market is expected to grow by a 4% compounded annual growth rate until 2022.
Most Russian foreign online purchases are made on Chinese websites. Other strong import partners are Germany, the USA, Belarus and Italy. The largest export destinations for Russian goods are the Netherlands, China, Germany, Italy and Russia.
Buying electronics for foreign online shops is particularly attractive for individuals customers, as the Russian Tax Code does not impose VAT if the company selling is not registered in Russia. However, the Parliament is considering a draft law that would require foreign businesses to impose VAT on digital services or content provided to individuals. Furthermore, they would be required to register with the Russian tax authorities.
Brand, quality of the product and life span are very important to Russian consumers. While the price is a secondary factor, customers will still be attracted to a bargain. Russian are generally impulsive buyers. Due to the bank system’s lack or reliability, saving is not a common practice. On average, less Russian consider shopping enjoyable (16% compared to a 26% global average), therefore, they are also more likely to shop for family members (53% compared to the international average of 45%). This is reinforced by the central place the family holds in the Russian life and values. Only a third of Russia shops solely for themselves.
Debit card 36%
Credit card 15%
Pay on delivery 9%
Bank transfer 7%
38 Bil. USD
Population: 144 Mil.
Internet Usage: 80%
Ecommerce wiki – Ecommerce facts & figures of Russia
Euromonitor – Financial cards and payments in Russia
Worldpay - Global payments report, Nov 2018
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