Russians Buying Abroad More and More Often
Since the beginning of 2009 the number of goods delivered from abroad by post to Russian shoppers has been growing fast. In 2010 Russian Post delivered around 1.3 million packages and 4.7 small parcels with enclosed goods from abroad. In 2011 these figures rose to 1.7 million packages and around 6.8 million small parcels. These figures were revealed by Russian Post representatives at the roundtable held as part of the Customs Service 2012 exhibition. The annual flow of deliveries from abroad has increased by 50% in the same period as the domestic turnover of Russian eCommerce has grown, according to EWDN’s data, by 25% per year. It won’t be long before Russian online retailers begin to feel the squeeze of these foreign sellers, concluded Alexander Timofeev, Director of Russian Post’s Production Processes Organization Department. “Having tried international commerce, Russian shoppers are actively crossing over there, as foreign sellers’ prices are often lower,” he summarized. By his predictions, in 2012 the share of international post (including outgoing post) will reach 11-12% of the overall volume of similar post across Russia (around 80-90 million items). In this case outgoing post counts for 19% of the total international postings and goods returns account for a significant part of these, pointed out Marina Goncharova, Director of Russian Post’s Postal Services Department. Where do Russians shop and what do they buy?
The USA and Germany are the main importer countries of mail order commerce. Around 70% of ordered packages come from these two countries, while China (43%) and Hong Kong (19%) lead in terms of small parcels with enclosed goods. “China has shown booming dynamics. The number of items sent to Russia has grown by 300% in the last year. This includes small electronic gadgets and copies of famous brands. These items are much cheaper in China, and what’s more, Chinese merchants fight to be competitive in the market by offering free delivery,” recounted Alexander Timofeev. Marina Goncharova listed the main categories of goods in demand in Russia. 41% of goods posted to Russia are clothing and footwear by famous brands. “It’s possible that Russian consumers believe it’s less likely that counterfeit items will be sold abroad,” remarked Ms Goncharova. In second place is electronics (16%) and in third place is auto parts (7%), following by health goods (7%) and books (6%). 97% of posted foods are purchases under one thousand euros which are not subject to customs duties. The “average recipient” of these goods is in the 25-39 age range, but in the next few years this range will widen. “People who are used to shopping on the internet will not stop doing this after they reach forty,” commented Marina Goncharova. 61% of recipients of remote purchases are women, while 39% are men.
However the proportion of male shoppers is constantly increasing. 69% of Russians receive their purchases within a period of two weeks to two months. In 28% of occasions Russian Post delivers items within two weeks. It’s worth noting that 43% of consumers don’t even select the delivery method, this is done for them by the foreign seller. 41% of consumers choose postal delivery while 15% choose express delivery. In the medium term the flow of incoming international parcels could equal the volume of parcels sent internally across Russia, summed up Alexander Timofeev. In his opinion, in time foreign sellers could pose a real competitive threat to Russian online stores.