The number of orders increased by 44%, indicating a decline in average order value. A handful of major players increasingly dominate the Russian market and one way they are increasing share is by providing more convenient pickup options for online shoppers.

Adrien Henni, chief editor, East-West Digital News

Adrien Henni, chief editor, East-West Digital News

Russian e-commerce kept growing fast in the first half of this year, reaching 725 billion rubles (slightly more than $11 billion), up 26% from the first half of 2018. This estimate, provided by research agency Data Insight, concerns only domestic sales of physical goods.

During this period, 191 million orders were processed by Russian sites, up 44% year-on-year. This is the strongest growth rate ever recorded by Data Insight. The volume of orders for this semester equaled that of full year 2016, Data Insight notes.

Average order value fell by 13%, which reflects more frequent and less sizeable orders. The stagnation or decrease of the population’s purchasing power may also have had an impact, as noted in EWDN’s latest industry report.

Major players have intensified their marketing and infrastructure efforts while enhancing user experience.

Data Insight highlights the exceptional performance of such major e-commerce sites as Wildberries, Ozon.ru and Apteka.ru. Their sales volume more than doubled in the first half of 2019—after growing already by 73%, 74% and 59% respectively during the previous year.

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Data Insight’s lead analyst Boris Ovchinnikov attributes this accelerated market growth to “essentially a small number of big players which grow by 100% or more per year.” Meeting market demand, these companies have “intensified their marketing and infrastructure efforts while enhancing user experience,” which attracts an ever-growing number of customers.

Thus, Wildberries confirmed its leadership: in the first six months of 2019 this site accounted for 31% of the total number of e-commerce orders in the domestic market, according to Data Insight—with a very low AOV, however. Once focused on fashion items, Wildberries is now a multicategory player with a marketplace dimension. Its sales reached almost $1.8 billion in 2018.

Data Insight also notes the growing importance of self-pickup points. The share of this delivery mode has increased constantly for the past four years, boosted by thousands of newly opened pickup points across the country.

Wildberries now claims 5,000 pickup points, up from 1,600 in late 2018. Ozon is following the same path, with 2,800 pickup points across the country as of mid-2019 and a target of 5,000 points for 2020.

This article first appeared in East-West Digital News, the international online resource on Russian digital industries, and is reprinted with permission. Click the following link for a free copy of East-West Digital News’ new report “E-Commerce in Russia”.

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