FOCUS: E-commerce to gain 15–30% in 2018 on growing appetite of online shoppers
By Yekaterina Yezhova
MOSCOW, Dec 24 (PRIME) -- Russia’s e-commerce market, driven mainly by local merchants, has gained 15–30% in 2018 to 1.3–2 trillion rubles and has more growth potential in the coming years, experts and market participants said, adding that customers turn their eye to a wider range of goods and are keen on using smartphones for the deals.
“The e-commerce market increased some 30% in 2018 to 1.5 trillion rubles and is expected to triple in the next several years, according to Data Insight analysts. Online deals still account for about 5% of the country’s total retail volume, this is why big players have room for progress and raising sales,” Konstantin Nosov, head for development at one of the largest e-commerce market players Ozon.ru, told PRIME.
Morgan Stanley said earlier that the local e-commerce market could go up to 3.5 trillion rubles in 2023 from 1.3 trillion rubles in 2018.
The Russian Association for Electronic Communications assessed the e-commerce growth at 16% over the year to 2 trillion rubles with almost two thirds of the market’s rise contributed by Moscow-headquartered WildBerries.ru and Ozon.ru.
“The e-commerce has been growing steadily in recent years. We think it added some 15% in 2018 and expect to see a further rise in 2019,” said Anna Koshelkova, head for additional products at fiscal data operator OFD.ru, which holds 15% of the market of online cash registers.
An average check of an online purchase slid to 1,572 rubles in 2018 from 1,918 rubles in 2017, while revenue of online stores increased 30% in 2018, and the number of issued checks spiked by 59%.
Nosov at Ozon.ru said an average check remained flat on the year at 2,700 rubles, but it is lower in some expanding categories, like food where the frequency of deals is higher.
“On the other hand, we see that clients buy more expensive goods, like fridges, TV sets, and upper-end cosmetics in some categories. An average check rises noticeably ahead of the New Year holidays, as clients save less on presents,” the executive said, adding that clothes, electronics and moms&kids were the most popular among purchase categories in 2018, while food became the fastest growing one.
Researcher GfK Rus said in addition to low prices in the online channel, the importance of fast purchases has risen in 2018.
“But quality and the speed of delivery are the main success factors for online commerce both local and cross-border. This is why it’s so important to know what exactly consumers understand as convenient delivery in different countries and Russian regions to develop and improve fulfilment quality,” said Yelena Morkovina, head for Digital Ad Hoc at GfK Rus.
Regions have become another growth driver for e-commerce. “In 2018 we see a year to year 70–80% rise in e-sales in the Urals Federal District, the Krasnodar Region, and the republic of Tatarstan. Next year we’ll invest significant resources in construction and expansion of logistical infrastructure,” Nosov at Ozon.ru said.
Koshelkova at OFD.ru agreed, adding that many big online players, which are already present in Moscow and St. Petersburg, have started branching out in regions. This movement is evolving since many processes, like logistics, are developing there.
“According to our estimates, local stores occupy some 60% in the country’s total Internet trade. The most popular are WildBerries.ru and Lamoda.ru for clothes and footwear; hypermarkets like Ozon.ru, Ulmart.ru, Citilink.ru; and electronics sellers Eldorado.ru and DNS-shop.ru, which are online floors of large retailers,” Koshelkova at OFD.ru told PRIME.
Among foreign stores, the leaders are Amazon.com, AliExpress.com, eBay.com, iHerb.com, and asos.com, according to OFD.ru.
“Customers buy electronics, gadgets, and mobile phones on TinyDeal, AliExpress, and DealExtreme. The reason is a lower price compared with local sellers in the first place,” Koshelkova said.
“Purchases in foreign online stores will most likely remain popular in the coming years, but the share of deals with local e-stores will keep on expanding as well. People will more often buy clothes and footwear in local online stores with no extra spending on expensive delivery from abroad and waiting for the goods.”
GfK Russia said the share of people making purchases via smartphones rose to 26% in 2018 from 18% in 2016.
“An impulse to buy something can be spontaneous, and a smartphone with Internet access is always at hand. The customer can study information about goods or services and buy something at any moment. Our research showed that mobile devices play a more and more important role on the way to a purchase and as a place of a purchase,” Morkovina at GfK Rus said.
In a GfK Rus poll, 42% of Russians said they would be happy to have more transactions to pay for via their mobile devices. It is slightly less than the world’s average of 46%, driven by Asians, great enthusiasts of mobile purchases and payments.
Koshelkova at OFD.ru said that some 40% of all online purchases are made from mobile devices. The figure is approaching 50% and could soon exceed the number of deals via desktops and laptops.
“The number of purchases made via mobile devices is rising, and the trend will persist in the future thanks to evolution of smartphones, high affordability of such gadgets, and intention of online stores to improve convenience of their platforms and adjust them to mobile devices with mobile applications, various discounts and bonuses for using these apps,” she said.
“For an online store, a mobile application is a means of communication with clients, a means of improving loyalty and raising chances of repeated deals.”
(68.0085 rubles – U.S. $1)