In Russia, as in most countries of the world, sales online have developed much faster than expected thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Since March 2020, many sectors with an online presence have recorded rapid growth and the large supermarkets that offer home delivery services have also benefited from people's self-isolation. Other sectors such as online fashion retailers, furniture or cosmetics retailers as well as companies offering e-learning, and online medicine retailers have also reported steadily growing sales.
Russia’s e-commerce share globally is 10 per cent, which is not far behind the USA with 14 per cent. However, compared to China with 30 per cent, there is significant growth potential for the Russian online market.
The share of Internet users aged 16 and over in the country has risen in recent years from 70% (2016) to 75% (2018) to an impressive 81% in 2020. More than 69% of users not only surf but also shop online. Access to the Internet using mobile devices is significantly higher than from desktops etc. Shopping apps are becoming more and more popular, as they shorten and simplify shopping – after the initial first registration – and provide a convenient shopping experience.
Opportunities to enter the Russian online trade
The Internet has made it much easier for all participants to open up new markets for their own products and services. However, depending on the country of destination, there are different rules and scenarios which need to be carefully weighed up against each other. There are two very different approaches available for sellers wanting to enter the Russian online trading market:
The direct market entry in Russia
Large online mail order companies such as wildberries.ru, the Russian Amazon, and other platforms for sellers have already established themselves in Russia. However, the commercial selling of clothing, technology, electronics, shoes, and other common items via these platforms can only be done through a separate legal entity in Russia, and sellers have to adopt the necessary Russian legislation.
Shipping from abroad
Another way to enter the Russian online trade market is by shipping from abroad. Cross-border online trade is carried out by sending goods to Russian customers by mail or delivery service. The advantage of this method lies in simple logistics, as there is no need to import goods or operate a separate warehouse, and no local legal entity is required. Moreover, there is no need for certification of goods if they are intended for the customers' own use. This way of entering the Russian market is therefore cheaper and faster to realise. However, buyers also tend to avoid shipping from abroad because it takes more time.
Russian content facilitates access
Knowledge of just a few English words is theoretically enough to enable you to buy a certain product online. Potential customers, however, feel much better if a shop is accessible in their native language. In most cases, if information is easily understood it increases the probability of long-term customer loyalty. Translations and other language services in Russian are carried out by carefully selected and experienced native speakers, who are individually selected for each project. We have staff who are familiar with a variety of industries and will be happy to provide you with the best translator to ensure that your start in Russia's online business is successful.