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Why Russian retailers need a store, a website and an app

0 27 March 2014

Earlier this month PwC Russia published the results of a survey of more than 15,000 online shoppers in 15 countries and regions. 1,074 of respondents were from Russia, giving analysts the opportunity to compare Russian e-shoppers with those from other parts of the world. 

One important difference is that Russians still like to visit physical stores - 80% of respondents do so at least once a month, compared to 57% in the Netherlands and 56% in France. This is one reason why online represents just 3% of total retail sales in Russia, compared to 12% in the UK. 

However, e-commerce is becoming increasingly popular as more and more Russians move online and become accustomed to making payments via the web. Concerns about online payments have traditionally been seen as a major obstacle to Russian online retailers, but only 22% of Russian respondents stated security concerns as a reason not to shop online in 2013, compared to 43% worldwide. 

The way that Russians shop online is also changing. in 2013 41% of Russian respondents used their smartphone for shopping, while 44% shopped on their tablet. In 2012 the figures were just 28% for phones and 31% for tablets. 

Social media is playing an increasingly important role in shoppers’ decision making. 51% of Russian internet shoppers said that they follow their favourite brands on social media, up from 37% in 2012. 

There has also been a dramatic change regarding brand websites, which seem to have caught up with online-retail revolution. In 2012 70% of Russian respondents said that they never buy directly from a brand website, but in 2013 this figure dropped to 22%. 

The growth of online retail, coupled with Russians' continued attachment to physical shopping, means that companies now need to operate both on- and offline. This trend has already made a significant impact on the consumer electronics and home appliances sector, in which physical retailers have lost a huge amount of custom to online vendors. Russians' enthusiasm for buying electronics online explains is clearly reflected in the list of the Top-20 Russian online retailers, published recently by Forbes. 

Looking to the future, Natalia Kozlova, a PwC Russia TLS Partner predicts that 

“sales through online channels will grow to 12% of total retail sales within a few years, against currently 3%”. 

Mobile will play a big part in this growth - by 2017 it is predicted that 100 million Russians (70% of the total population) will have mobile internet. According to PwC this “will have an enormous effect on e-commerce”. 

You can request a copy of PwC's full report, titled "Achieving Total Retail: Consumer Expectations Driving the Next Retail Business Model", here

Source: PwC

Top image via Shutterstock

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