Describes how widely e-Commerce is used, the primary sectors that sell through e-commerce, and how much product/service in each sector is sold through e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar retail. Includes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and , reputable, prominent B2B websites.
Last Published: 8/11/2017
With over 70 million people using the internet monthly, Russia has the largest online audience in Europe.  Despite the difficult economic situation, the long-term prospects for growth look good.  According to the new edition of East West Digital News Agency’s (EWDN) Russian E-Commerce Report, which cites data from the Russian agency Data Insight, online sales in 2016 exceeded $26 billion, growing more than 20% year-on-year.  Included in this figure are $16 billion for physical goods and $10 billion for online travel.  Up to 2015, the online market grew 25% annually.  Data Insight also reports that in 2015, Russia’s domestic online retail grew in rubles, reaching 650 billion (+16%), with an average order value amounting to some 4,050 rubles (up from 3,750 rubles in 2014).  However the picture looks different if viewed in U.S. dollar terms given the ruble’s sharp depreciation:  the market size fell to $10.5 billion, down 28% from 2014, which tracks more accurately with the recent economic recession.

Current Market Trends
According to the EWDN’s Russian E-Commerce Report, Russia’s e-commerce market continued to grow in 2016 even as offline retail was severely affected by the economic crisis.  Real-estate infrastructure has become dramatically cheaper and more accessible, and key players are taking advantage to build out warehousing and fulfilment facilities. Although demand still exceeds supply on the fulfilment service market, delivery conditions across this huge country have improved.

In 2016, the most popular product groups were clothing, shoes and lifestyle, media and entertainment, telecom, consumer electronics, home and garden, health and beauty, and others.

Domestic eCommerce (B2C)
According to Yandex Report of E-Commerce in Russia, payment aggregator Robokassa and analytics company Openstat identified 1.17 million “commercial sites” in the .ru, .su and .рф domains out of more than 3 million sites on the Russian Internet in 2014. Of these “commercial sites,” just a small part can actually be considered e-commerce sites as far as physical goods are concerned.  In 2014, InSales estimated the number of e-commerce sites (with a shopping cart function) at 43,000.  Of these sites, a mere 50 generated more than 4 billion rubles (approximately $100 million) in sales revenues per year, and 950 reached or exceeded 200 million rubles ($5.2 million).

Cross-Border eCommerce
The cross-border segment is the fastest growing, up 26% by value and 80% by number of parcels and small packages, and exceeded $4 billion for physical goods alone, according to Russian Post and industry association NAMO.

The growth of this segment has been driven in large part by Chinese companies – most notably Alibaba’s B2C marketplace – but key western players including Amazon, Asos, Next and Yoox are also in the game.

According to eMarketer, in 2015, 39% of Russia’s online shoppers made a cross-border digital purchase at least once that year.  Clothing, accessories, and footwear are the most common products Russian shopper by abroad, making up over 51% of Russian cross-border digital purchases.  The second most purchased category of goods are cosmetics, beauty and health products.  The leading categories come as no surprise, as many Russians hold a high value on appearance and name brands.  Some other popular categories Russians look to shop abroad for include toys, electronics, and household goods.

B2B eCommerce
According to Moscow Times research, in 2015, 68 % of Russian corporations used electronic trading platforms for procurement purposes.  According to data from B2B-Center, online corporate and government purchases ballooned by 40% in the first nine months of 2014 compared with the same period of time in 2013.

The majority of this business sprouted from construction goods and services, with more than one-fifth of all purchases made in 2014 falling into this category.  Trailing close behind was the procurement of machinery and specialized products for the mining and oil-field industries, making up 18.6% of all online B2B purchases seen on

As B2B online shopping increases in Russia, the industry has become tightly regulated. Transactions made through B2B e-commerce platforms are legally binding due to the large financial value of these purchases.  Procurement procedures, especially for state-run entities, face strict legal requirements.

eCommerce Services
Russia's exceptionally vast geography makes the country challenging for anyone who wants to deliver goods to or within Russia.  However, delivery options have improved significantly over the past few years.  While the Russian Post began its reforms, several new providers emerged with higher quality service and shorter delivery time to large and mid-sized cities across the country.

Meanwhile, pure online players like KupiVIP, Lamoda, Ozon and Ulmart have deployed their own warehousing and delivery processing facilities across the country.  Others, like multi-channel (online and offline) retailers Otto and Svyaznoy, have developed existing logistics systems to serve the growing needs of their e-commerce branches. Much remains to be improved and created, however, for Russia’s e-commerce infrastructure to meet today’s and tomorrow’s needs.

eCommerce Intellectual Property Rights
IPR resources can be found at this link >>

Popular eCommerce Sites

Online Payment
Cash-on-delivery (COD) is the existing trend for physical goods and will remain so for some time, although the use of electronic payments is slowly increasing.  Despite being used by a minority, many forms of electronic payments are on the rise.  EWDN’s report states that according to the opinion of industry experts and e-commerce executives, the use of electronic payments will continue to rise.  There are differing opinions on the specifics of using bank cards online.  

Various forms of electronic payment are on the rise, even though they are used only by a minority of consumers.  In addition to bank cards, the use of which is growing slowly, several new solutions and offers appear each year, and some of them are intended to create a universal means of payment.  Large segments of the electronic payment market are led by domestic players, from payment terminal operators to mobile carriers to electronic currency companies.

Mobile eCommerce
The number of mobile shoppers has exceeded 8.5 million. These numbers are expected to increase dramatically as mobile internet and smartphone devices grow in popularity across Russia.

Digital Marketing
The amount and frequency of searches for your product or service should be analyzed prior to launching a campaign in Russia.  As well as using Google Trends, there is the useful Yandex service to help you select the right words to use on your website to attract consumers:

Major Buying Holidays
Foreign retailers must prepare their advertisement campaigns, promotions, and products for Russian New Year, Men’s Day, and International Women’s Day.  These three holidays drive a significant portion of Russian online shopping and vary from Western holidays.

Over the past few years, Russia started participating in Black Friday weekend sales to kick off the winter holiday shopping season. For the most part, shoppers make their purchases throughout December for the ever-popular Russian gift-giving day on January 1. The majority of shoppers don’t start shopping in November and many last-minute shoppers are still making purchases in late December when Westerners have already returned their gifts. A third of Russian holiday shoppers turn to the Internet for gift ideas and to make these purchases – 14% of shoppers search online, but then purchase in stores. 

Russia recognizes men on February 23, which is Men’s Day or otherwise known as “Day of Fatherland Defenders”, and celebrates International Women’s Day on March 8. During the weeks leading up to these holidays, Russians search for a number of gifts in the cosmetic and electronics categories to recognize their friends and family members.  Combined, these three holidays make the winter a very important shopping period unique to Russia.

Beyond these holidays, Russians also search online for Valentine’s Day gifts, wedding gifts, and birthdays.

Social Media
More than 90% of Russian Internet users access social networks. The most popular social network in Russia is VKontakte, which has over 380 million registered users, 65% of them live in Russia.  VKontakte has 80 million visitors per day, 60% aged 25 or older.

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