Nasdaq and the NYSE halted trading in shares in Russia's largest ecommerce marketplace. Etsy waives millions in fees for Ukraine sellers, as Apple faces public pressure to take action.

Update No. 2. Digital Commerce 360 will update this story when new information becomes available. This update includes new references to Nike, Mastercard, Asos, HP, Oracle and Apple, and includes figures on ecommerce transactions in Russia.

The retail and finance industries are showing their displeasure over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They are taking dramatic and unprecedented steps to put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Online sales purchased by Russian consumers fell 53% at the end of February compared with Feb. 1, according to data from Signifyd. The fraud-prevention provider tracks transactions of thousands of merchants and millions of consumers worldwide. 

Signifyd said ecommerce began to tumble as soon as the invasion of Ukraine began. On Feb. 24, the day Putin announced the invasion, ecommerce sales in Russia were up 7% compared with Feb. 1. The next day, they dropped to 43% below the first of the month — and then continued their descent. 

Dozens of retailers, brands, software providers and others in the ecommerce industry are voicing their displeasure with Russia. 

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Apple Inc. announced Tuesday it was halting all sales of its products in Russia. In a written statement sent to the press, the tech giant said, “We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We are supporting humanitarian efforts, providing aid for the unfolding refugee crisis, and doing all we can to support our teams in the region.”

Apple, which is No. 3 in the 2021 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 database, has a 15% share of the mobile phone market in Russia, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

Apple’s move follows a public campaign by Ukrainian government leaders to pressure the tech company. Mykhailo Fedorov, a vice prime minister who oversees regulation of digital businesses, on Friday used Twitter to publicly call on Apple to halt sales in Russia. 

Oracle Corp., which makes the Oracle Commerce platform that both B2C and B2B ecommerce sellers use, announced on Twitter that it halted all operations in Russia.

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Ecommerce fashion retailer Asos Plc. (No. 13 in the Digital Commerce 360 Europe 500) announced Wednesday that it had halted all shipments to Russia. Asos owns fashion brands such as Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT.

Meanwhile, Nike Inc. also said it had cut off sales in Russia, but the footwear and sporting goods brand blamed logistics. The athleticwear giant said it “cannot guarantee delivery of goods to customers in Russia,” according to Bloomberg News. Nike, No. 11 in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000, operates 119 stores and an ecommerce arm within the Russian Federation.

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And even brands that wish to ship to Russia will find it difficult to do so. Reuters reports that the world’s three largest container shipping lines — MSC, Maersk and CMA CGM — have suspended all shipments to and from Russia. FedEx and UPS announced Sunday that they had halted all shipments to Russia, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Trading halts

On Monday, stock exchanges Nasdaq Inc. and Intercontinental Exchange Inc.’s New York Stock Exchange  temporarily halted trading in the stocks of a number of Russian companies, including Ozon Holdings Plc., owner of the online marketplace Ozon. 

Ozon, dubbed the Amazon of Russia, was the fastest-growing of the 100 online marketplaces across the globe that Digital Commerce 360 tracks. The Moscow-based marketplace increased the gross merchandise value sold through its platform more than 125% year over year. After raising $738.1 million in funding, according to Crunchbase, Ozon expanded its logistics capabilities. It roughly tripled the number of sellers on the platform and grew its assortment sevenfold to more than 80 million SKUs, according to Ozon’s public reports. 

Ozon is currently ranked No. 23 in the 2022 Top 100 Online Marketplaces list, which ranks global marketplaces by their 2021 gross merchandise value of third-party sellers. The largest marketplace based in Ukraine is a local platform called Olx.ua, according to Similarweb. 

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Nasdaq and the NYSE also halted trading in QIWI Plc., a payment-services provider in Russia, and Yandex N.V., an Internet and technology provider that offers a search engine geared toward retailers and operates the YooMoney online payment service.

The trading halts come two days after U.S. and European finance regulators cut Russia off from SWIFT, the financial messaging system by which billions of dollars are moved among banks across the globe each day.

After the trading halt, Ozon issued a statement: “The Company’s management believes that there is no direct material adverse effect of the U.S., EU and other sanctions recently imposed on Russia on our current day-to-day e-commerce platform’s operations and our ability to conduct business.”

Retailers offer support to Ukraine

Meanwhile, much of the retail industry is showing support for Ukraine and its citizens. 

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Hiroshi Mikitani, chairman and CEO of Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten Group Inc., said Sunday he will donate 1 billion yen ($8.7 million) to the Ukrainian government for humanitarian assistance. Rakuten is No. 7 in the 2022 Online Marketplaces database.

Rakuten also makes the Viber messaging app, which 97% of Ukrainian smartphone owners use, according to Reuters. Rakuten also has offices in the Ukrainian cities of Odessa and Kyiv.

Etsy Inc., No. 18 on the 2022 Online Marketplaces list, announced it would waive all balances that sellers in Ukraine owe to the company, a sum of approximately $4 million. 

“Being part of a community means that when one part is suffering, the rest of us must step up and offer our support,” Etsy CEO Josh Silverman wrote in a post on the company’s blog. “To do our part, we’ve reached out to sellers in the region to ensure they know how to access help with their accounts or place their shops on hold during this difficult time. We also know that many sellers are facing tremendous financial hardship as a result of the turmoil.” 

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Another retailer showing support is Southeastern Grocers Inc., parent of the Winn-Dixie supermarket chain, which said it would donate $250,000 and 100% of sales from its private-label Ukrainian vodka for the next 31 days to the International Committee of the Red Cross to support Ukraine and its citizens. 

Jewelry retailer Pandora donated $1 million to UNICEF to help with efforts aimed at ensuring health care, schooling, emergency cash and psychological support for as many as 7.5 million children in Ukraine, WWD reported.

HP Inc., No. 50 in the Digital Commerce 360 top 1000, also stopped exports to the country this week.

Other retailers with operations and employees in both Russia and Ukraine must carefully navigate the conflict in Eastern Europe. IKEA, for example, debuted an ecommerce operation in Ukraine in May 2020 and opened a store there in February 2021. Ikea also operates 14 retail stores in Russia. 

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“Our immediate actions are focused on the personal safety of our colleagues and their families as well as securing employment and income stability. Our highest priority will remain with people,” a spokesperson for IKEA said in a written statement sent to Digital Commerce 360.  “Together with IKEA Foundation and many more organizations, we are working around the clock with experts to assess the immediate relief needed in the region and how we can best support displaced people in the coming days, weeks and over time.” 

On Monday, Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach issued a statement saying the finance company had “blocked multiple financial institutions from the Mastercard payment network.”

“We will continue to work with regulators in the days ahead to abide fully by our compliance obligations as they evolve,” Miebach said. “Given the unfolding emergency, we are also working with our partners to direct funding and humanitarian aid where it can provide the greatest impact. Today, we announced a $2 million contribution to the Red Cross, Save the Children and our employee assistance fund for humanitarian relief.”

Similarly, Visa issued a statement saying it, “is taking prompt action to ensure compliance with applicable sanctions, and is prepared to comply with additional sanctions that may be implemented.”

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Visa also made a $2 million donation to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF “to support humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine.”

Neither Visa nor Mastercard provided details on which institutions it had blocked. Neither company returned Digital Commerce 360’s messages seeking clarification, as of press time.

However, Mastercard filed a document with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission warning of a possible material impact on its business from the sanctions. Mastercard told the SEC that 4% of its revenue comes from business related to Russia and about 2% comes from business related to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, journalist Jason Corcoran, who has covered Russia for news organizations including Bloomberg and Dow Jones, posted on Twitter that neither Google Pay nor Apple Pay is working on the Moscow subway.

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