Russia, a country with a unique geographic position, stable consumer growth, with a population about 146 million, 11 time zones, has a massive potential entirely undiscovered.
Even in the time of economic slowdown, Russian consumer market has experienced growth in automotive, consumer products, construction and real estate, telecommunications, financial and banking areas.
According to Economicnews.eu the online market in Russia is expected to reach about 19.74 billion euros at the end of this year. Online payment and e-wallets are a very popular method. As a matter of fact, 71 % of urban Russians aged 18 to 55 use electronic wallets for online purchases, a Mediascope survey in 2018 showed.
Internet penetration of 76 % on average is growing rapidly. Russia boasts the largest online audience in Europe and eight largest in the world according to Statista. 71% of internet users perform their activities on a smartphone.
Many European and Chinese multinational companies are having their local branches in the Russian market. Russian consumers tend to choose foreign products over domestic in a number of product categories.
The Russian language and culture, as well as the general lack of knowledge on how to operate in Russia, have been considerable obstacles for foreign companies wishing to do business in Russia.
Do your homework properly to analyze the market, prepare the decent plan of your activities. Russia is different.
If you are going global, localization is the key. It is more than translating the promotional materials into the local language. Experts underline that people most want to interact with brands that match their cultural expectations and feel personally targeted to them.
Keep in mind that the text in the Cyrillic script usually expands by around 15 – 20%. This is a very important factor if your content is restricted by the amount of space, like buttons, or calls for action on a website or software.
Digital media has changed the way marketers communicate and become a core part of the marketing mix in Russia.
The key online marketing platforms in Russia differ from the rest of the world. It is essential to do a research to find the channels to reach your target audience. Most popular search engine in Russia is Yandex (46%) followed by Google (39,2 %). The most active social media platforms (including messaging apps) in Russia are YouTube (85%), VK (83%), and WhatsApp (59%). More than twice as many Russians (83%) reported using the homegrown VK (also known as VKontakte) as Facebook (39%). However, this social network can be used as a source of additional traffic, especially if your target audience is from Moscow — about 40% of Russian Facebook users live in the capital.
The popularity of Instagram in Russia is constantly growing. According to Instagram, 37M Russian users can be reached targeted through advertising campaigns on this platform.
In Russia is increasingly becoming a consumer society. The main purchase factors are the brand, quality and the longevity of the product. Price is often a secondary determinant although it is taken into account. According to the latest research of BCG Group Russian consumers value “family and home” (83%) and “health” (78%) most. Where Russians do spend, however, they still expect quality —regardless of where they shop or which brand they choose.
Getting into the incredibly complex details of localization takes a lot of time. It makes sense to use the synergy of an internal qualified manager with the experience of working abroad and a reliable local market consultant to provide professional support in navigating through the Russian administration, to identify the best opportunities for the market expansion.
Be flexible. Successful business in Russia adapts quickly to changing environment. There is enormous potential for companies who make every effort to understand Russian consumers’ buying preferences, make data-driven decisions and manage customer relations. Measure twice, cut once, learn fast and be prepared to adjust your management style to fit business situations.