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2018 Russia Consumer Insights Survey

Explore the findings of our annual consumer behavior survey for over 600 online shoppers throughout Russia

About the Russian Consumer Insights Survey

This is the sixth time that Russia has participated in PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey.

We conducted the survey to understand and compare shopping behavior and the use of different retail channels across 27 countries.

We explored where shopping habits are evolving and changing the most, including the channels used for shopping, delivery speeds for online purchases, key drivers of consumer purchases and ways that companies can benefit by adjusting their businesses accordingly.


Companies should respond to new consumer habits by shifting their focus and investments accordingly. That means more attention to smartphone dynamics growth, as well as investments in AI and in-store experience. These investments can help companies go with the flow of new consumer behavior, rather than fight the current.

Russia: the way consumers shop is changing

Despite the digitalization of retail, brick-and-mortar stores are still holding on.

Russian respondents confirmed that they actively shop offline, especially for daily purchases. The share of brick-and-mortar stores remains significant in overall shopping habits.

While offline shopping numbers are higher, online shopping already represents a significant share, especially in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Shoppers use smartphones for online purchases


Mobile commerce is becoming increasingly popular in Russia. In 2017, 63% of respondents reported that they regularly use their smartphones to make purchases, compared to only 44% in 2015. Consumers in the 25-44 age group are the biggest driver of this trend. Among this group, the share of those who shop with smartphones increased significantly to 69% in 2017. Younger shoppers (18-24) are also among the trendsetters (68% claim to use their phones regularly for shopping).


Consumers indicate their readiness to buy groceries online


While grocery was not very popular last year, consumer willingness is growing.

42% of Russian respondents intend to buy food online next year.

The target audience for online grocery, it’s skewed towards older people, who are less reluctant to make every day grocery purchases compared to younger people.


Social networks become more influential than retailers websites


Another new habit that has major ramifications for how companies communicate sales messages is that consumers want to know what their peers think.

More than a third of Russian respondents mentioned that social networks (e.g. Facebook and Vkontakte) and mobile apps play an important role in enticing them to make purchases. Almost a third of respondents cited the influence of photo-sharing apps like Instagram.

Price comparison websites are also important, although younger Russians use them less frequently than those aged 45-64.

The importance of brand websites has shrunk dramatically due to the active usage of smartphones and mobile apps.

The share of respondents who mentioned emails from brands and retailers slightly decreased. These are the first signs that this mode of outreach does not resonate with consumers, who are rejecting intrusive sales pitches and searching for authenticity.

Customer Engagement

Respondents pointed out that their adherence to particular retailers can be explained by certain attributes. The most popular attribute is whether the retailer has the items that the consumer wants, with the possibility to check online whether a particular product is in stock. No less important is the availability of online reviews.

As the pace of life increases, people want their purchases “right here and right now”. That is why the third most important attribute is fast and reliable delivery. Respondents also reported they want strong loyalty programmes.

Such attributes as location and brand trust are less important. However, location is still a weighty factor, especially for residents of Moscow and St Petersburg. They are more concerned about location and fast delivery, while positive online reviews are more important in other regions.

“Technologies of the future” are changing retail

New technologies are also influencing delivery practices. In other countries, ground and aerial drones are already being used to transport and store goods, as well as for last-mile deliveries. It is therefore no surprise that almost one-third of survey participants, both around the world and in Russia, said they are ready to receive deliveries, especially of inexpensive goods, via drone.                                     

The truth is that drones are just one of many options, including delivery robots, automated lockers, crowd-sourced delivery and traditional delivery trucks. Despite the failure of the first drone-delivery tests in Russia, there are opportunities for drones to improve the effectiveness of many other parts of the supply chain.

Contact us

Martijn Peeters

Martijn Peeters

Partner, Retail & Consumer Leader, PwC Russia and CEE

Tel: +7 (495) 967 6029

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