Research by international delivery expert ParcelHero has revealed that China now accounts for 90% of Russia’s US$5.1bn overseas e-commerce trade, with the entire EU winning just 4% of cross border parcels.
China’s AliExpress has become the number one e-commerce platform in Russia, with twice as many visitors as the next major site. eBay trails behind in eighth and Amazon still further down the table.
David Jinks, head of consumer research at ParcelHero, said, “Our new study, Kicking Off Shipping to Russia, reveals that trading with Russia is a game of two halves. In terms of B2B trading, Russia is a great market. Around 600 UK companies have a physical presence in Russia and over 5,800 UK traders export goods there worth more than £7.6bn (US$10.2bn). But in terms of its fast-growing B2C e-commerce market, it’s a far tougher game because of the draconian Russian customs checks on all courier shipments to private addresses.
“It’s frustrating for UK online traders looking at this potentially fabulous post-Brexit market. British goods enjoy a real cache in Russia; but UK traders cannot get into the game. Almost any product subject to tax and duties being shipped by courier to a private individual in Russia from the West will be held and inspected by customs. This can take days and even weeks – even if it is not eventually rejected and returned to the UK at the trader’s expense.”
In Russia, 50 million people shop online – representing 50% of the population – and 85 million use the internet. Russians spent €24bn (US$28.4bn) online on goods and services in 2016 – a figure that’s expected to rise to €28bn (US$33bn) in 2017 – and spent an average of €741 (US$878) online per household. The vast majority of domestic purchases are picked up from a store rather than delivered to the customers home.
Parcels from foreign online stores rose to around 400 million in 2017, and over 30% of the population shops cross border. Cross border sales are worth US$4.3bn.