April 2020: Changes In Russian Online User Behavior

Russian consumers and service providers, like most of the world, are quickly adapting and changing their relationships and how they interact.

Focusing on the first week of lockdown, analysts from Yandex.Kassa* have analyzed payments made through the system for the period of March 30th to April 5th, 2020.

Anastasia Fatkulina of Yandex.Kassa has said:

In general, the decline and growth of individual segments in e-commerce are explained by obvious reasons. People refuse to travel and spend time at home, while they need food and they need services for leisure.

But there are also interesting trends. For example, in the field of charity last week, the number of online transfers increased by 13%, and the turnover – by 27%. In new circumstances, when solving their own problems, people do not forget to help others.


Food Delivery & Online Orders

Takeouts & Deliveries

The number of online orders in restaurants and cafes has grown significantly – by 78% compared with the week from February 24 to March 1, 2020.

Over the same period, turnover increased by 26%, but the average basket value decreased by 29%. Larger order volumes, but more restrained purchasing potentially an indicator that consumers are treating the once indulgent food delivery services as more of a mundane method of getting food rather than a treat.

Changes in user behavior, and how they are ordering food from restaurants and cafes online.

Online Grocery Shopping

Online grocery stores and food retailers are also experiencing similar trends with their customers.

From March 30 to April 5, the number of online payments in online grocery stores increased by 58%, turnover by 43%, and again average basket value decreased by 9%.

As part of social distancing and lockdown measures, most countries have seen the trend of more (and new) users opting for grocery delivery and click-and-collect services. The basket decrease again shows that potentially indulgent purchases are being left on the digital shelf, as well as potential supply inelasticity (lower order value due to less overall stock and increased demand and fairly inelastic supply).

Changes in user behavior, and how they are ordering online groceries.

Education & Recreation

TV Streaming & Subscriptions

Subscription television and streaming services have seen a huge increase in turnover, 93%, and the number of payments increasing by 69% with the average order value increasing by 14%.

Not only are more users engaging in premium services, but it’s fair to assume the expenditure on other leisure activities (including cinema visits) is being used on additional purchases and premium content within the streaming applications.

The online gaming space also saw an increase, with the number of payments increasing by 29%, and turnover by 19%.

Education & Personal Development

Over the same period, there were noticeably more payments on online sites with training courses and masterclasses, an increase of 64%.

But the turnover only increased by only 5%, and the average bill generally fell by 36%.

Given the uncertainty that a lot of people have around finances, it’s likely that users chose heavily discounted courses or those listed for free rather than full price courses at this time.

Various recreation and education services saw growth off the back of the lockdown.

Declining Sectors

Whilst some sectors have seen growth, a large number have also seen declines due to forced changes in user behavior.

Whilst Yandex has announced support for small to medium-sized businesses through bonuses and grants (for advertising on the platform, up to 15,000₽ with a total of 5m₽ being allocated). Until April 30, representatives of small and medium-sized businesses can apply for up to 15,000₽ in the form of a bonus that can be used to advertise in Yandex.Direct.

In addition, existing and new advertisers can get a free advertising campaign setup from Yandex specialists.

Those businesses currently seeing a decrease in online payments for the period are:

  • DIY websites, down 31%
  • Housing rental services, down 74%
  • Cinema, theatre and concert ticket sales websites, turnover down 65%

Tourism Related Businesses

Probably unsurprisingly, companies from the tourism sector showed the most significant negative trends.

On their websites payments decreased by 85%, and the reduction in turnover was approximately the same – 83%.

*Yandex.Kassa translates as Yandex Checkout, an online payment system operated by Yandex.Money, and a joint venture between Yandex and a Russian bank, Sberbank.

Dan Taylor
Dan Taylor is an experienced SEO consultant and has worked with brands and companies on optimizing for Russia (and Yandex) for a number of years. Winner of the inaugural 2018 TechSEO Boost competition, webmaster at HreflangChecker.com and Sloth.Cloud, and founder of RussianSearchNews.com.