Kyrgyz Republic - EcommerceKyrgyz Republic - Ecommerce
Electronic commerce is still developing in the Kyrgyz Republic. Internet access outside of major cities is unreliable but improving quickly. ATM/Debit cards are extremely common in Bishkek and ATMs are a common site in most medium-sized villages. Electronic payment of salaries is becoming more common, and some local banks have developed applications for mobile phones. Nevertheless, the Kyrgyz Republic is primarily a cash economy.
According to a November 2015 assessment of the Kyrgyz internet environment by the Internet Society (Kyrgyz Internet Environment Assessment), internet penetration in the Kyrgyz Republic is approximately 30% of the total population. This low level of internet penetration is likely due to a variety of demographic, geographic, and economic factors. The Kyrgyz Republic has an extremely low amount of internet traffic and online engagement compared to neighboring countries Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan; only 20% of the Kyrgyz population are regular internet users. Mobile broadband continues to rapidly expand, but only 2.4% of the population use fixed broadband, according to the survey.
Current Market Trends
Recently, eCommerce has experienced rapid growth in the Kyrgyz Republic. In recent years, significant advances have occurred locally in mobile payment systems and app-based commercial platforms. There are more online shops now than several years ago, and the variety of commercial services available via the internet has expanded significantly.
Despite recent technological developments, however, the majority of Kyrgyzstanis continue to prefer traditional forms of purchasing goods and ordering services. A key challenge to development of robust eCommerce in the Kyrgyz Republic is the perception that goods purchased online may be of lesser quality, and that services can be better negotiated in person. Consumers may also be concerned about poor customer service and no clear recourse in the event of a negative eCommerce experiences.
There is ample opportunity for improvement and development of eCommerce in the Kyrgyz Republic. High speed, affordable internet access and usage –- particularly in mobile broadband -- is expanding throughout the Kyrgyz Republic, albeit primarily in urban areas. Rural areas, which comprise 60% of the total populace, have limited internet access and low levels of internet use. The Kyrgyz Republic does have a steadily developing IT sector, and the undeveloped eCommerce sector may present investment opportunities for tech entrepreneurs.
Popular eCommerce Sites
Local internet retailers are increasing in the Kyrgyz Republic, though overall penetration remains low. Popular domestic eCommerce sites include Daroy.net, Svetofor.info and Lalafo.kg. Daroy is the country’s largest online clothing store. Svetofor identifies itself as the most popular online commercial market in the Kyrgyz Republic, and offers a wide variety of retail goods. Lalafo is akin to an online trading site such as eBay or Craigslist. Additionally, websites that provide services are increasing in both number and use; websites such as Tez.kg or Namba.kg offer consumers a mobile and web-based interface to order taxis and food delivery services in Bishkek..
The social media market in the Kyrgyz Republic is relatively small compared to other nations, with a low percentage of internet users actively engaged on social media platforms and predominantly centered in urban areas. Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform in the Kyrgyz Republic, occupying an estimated 70% share of total social media use, but only a quarter of Kyrgyz internet users regularly use Facebook. Other platforms occupy a small percentage of overall social media share, with the Russian site VKontakte a consistently popular site. Recently, Pinterest’s share of social media use has grown significantly, passing YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr.
Kyrgyzstan eCommerce Industry Trade Development and Promotion eCommerce