Maciej Przybysz, Director, Nielsen North East Europe
With an abundance of young, tech-savvy consumers and the largest online population in Europe, e-commerce is already altering the Russian retail landscape and is poised for significant growth in the years ahead. Indeed, Russia’s sheer size (over 100 million in urban population) coupled with its relatively lower Internet penetration rate (51 million current active Internet users) means that any future growth in online shopping has the potential to fundamentally disrupt the country’s retail environment and offer online retailers and consumers more opportunity and choice than ever before.
Moreover, online behavior is affecting offline, in-store purchases as well, with many Russians integrating the online experience into their path-to-purchase. A recent Nielsen study found that 22 percent of online Russian consumers use the Internet to research consumer product purchases in some way, whether by comparing prices, connecting with a retailer’s promotional flyer, browsing a manufacturer’s website, or sharing a product opinion via social media. The Internet’s effect on both online and offline purchases has created two distinct consumer groups with opportunities for retailers and manufacturers: Online Buyers (those already making purchases online) and Online Non-Buyers (those consumers who have not yet made online purchases but use the Internet to inform their offline consumption).
In Russia’s largest cities, where consumers are increasingly seeking convenience, online shopping is already sizable. With about ten percent and 3.6 million consumers in Russia’s biggest metropolises making a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) purchase online in any given month. These urban dwellers fall squarely into the Online Buyer segment, which is primarily male (58%) and young (71% between ages 18-30). Saving time (51%), convenient delivery options (48%), and finding lower prices (47%) are the primary reported motivations for these Russian Online Buyers.
While fresh foods will inevitably keep these consumers in offline stores for many purchases, they are sold on the proposition of e-commerce in general. In fact, over nine-in-ten online Russians are sufficiently satisfied with their first online purchase to return for additional Internet shopping. More engaging and rewarding online retail environments will persuade these consumers to shift more of their budget to online channels. And, for online retailers looking to win with Online Non-Buyers can grow by enticing their first digital purchase via sales and promotions, converting most into committed online consumers.