Russian search behaviour


Maksims Visnakovs


Russians think a lot about an item before actually buying it. They might ask their friends, talk to sales assistants, read reviews or even borrow the item from someone to try it out. They put a lot of effort in before committing to buy something. If they remain happy with a brand they are more likely to become loyal and will stay with the company for years. Plus word of mouth will be passed around quite generously.

People in Russia like to feel special. This stems from the remains from USSR times when clothing, electronics, cars and other goods were all the same. These days they want to have something unique and definitely won’t be happy to meet somebody in the same jacket. This means that wide range of goods is very important.

Russia - your next target market?In spite of Russians high buying ability they don’t like to pay a lot for the item, but want it to be a good quality and last for a very long time. Most of the people over there are quite dependent on others opinion about their choice. They might stop wearing something if somebody told them that it doesn’t suit them. Especially amongst people from 18 – 30 years old.

Russian people are quite competitive and if something is very popular they are going to have it. If my neighbour got a smartphone then I am going to have to get one as well. This same principle also applies to information. Russians, especially students or people with a degree, compete with each other in providing the most trustful information and the internet is a great source because it is not controlled by the government as Central TV Channels are.

Overseas brands are highly trusted and a lot of Russian companies are taking advantage of this by opening Russian based companies under foreign language names. Again this feeling is evoked from the past when brands of other countries had a wide variety of items and were of better quality than domestic goods.

Even taking into account that only 24% of Russians have a degree, the literacy rate is about 96.5%. This is a big advantage for internet retailers because almost everyone can read and write. But in terms of speaking other languages, only 18% of Russians can use a foreign language to a decent level. It means that websites should be translated into Russian unless it is not something very specific like IT.

Only recently have Russians started to show an interest in buying items everywhere. Some people are really busy and often don’t have time to sit down in front of the computer to research the item or purchase it. The increase in mobile devices has helped with this. In an earlier conducted survey, 64% of respondents in Russia said that retailers should be focused on providing opportunities for customers to be able to buy any time and in any place.

Spontaneous shopping is not very common amongst Russians with only 17% of men and 20% of women buying things from the internet without prior planning. Those who buy without planning would not be doing so on the internet.

For more facts on Russian ecommerce, check out our infographic here.

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