Russian big three e-commerce firm Ozon sees record turnover on pandemic-fuelled online shopping surge in 2Q20

Russian big three e-commerce firm Ozon sees record turnover on pandemic-fuelled online shopping surge in 2Q20
Turnover, or gross merchandise value (GMV), surged 188% year on year to RUB45.8bn in 2Q20 / wiki
By Ben Aris in Berlin September 3, 2020

Russia’s leading multi-category e-commerce platform, Ozon Group, announced on September 3 its turnover rose to a record in the second quarter, as the global pandemic spurred more people to shop online.

Turnover, or gross merchandise value (GMV), surged 188% year on year to RUB45.8bn ($611mn) in 2Q20, Ozon said in a statement. In the first half of the year, GMV reached RUB77.4bn, which is 152% higher compared with the same period last year.

GMV is the total value of orders processed through Ozon and revenue from services to buyers and sellers on the platform, excluding Ozon Travel. GMV is inclusive of VAT, net of discounts, returns and cancellations.

AFK Sistema, dual listed in London and Moscow, and Russia’s leading private equity fund Baring Vostok are Ozon’s main shareholders.

“The market may react positively to the stellar performance of Ozon,” Sova Capital’s analysts Oksana Mustiatsa and Mikhail Terentiev said in a research note. “The number of new buyers who placed an order through Ozon in April was up 84% y/y on the back of the pandemic. The company also noted that the bulk of consumers have continued to shop online even after the easing of lockdowns.” Ozon’s GMV in the second quarter exceeded that figure for the entire 2018, as the lockdown accelerated Russians’ move to online shopping.

Every fourth person who made his or her first purchase on Ozon in the spring went on to place a second order in the second quarter, while every seventh person placed two or more orders. Ozon customers also started increasingly going online to buy items they need every day. Every other order placed by new Ozon customers over the summer period included a fast moving consumer good (FMCG) product.

“The pandemic not only brought spontaneous shoppers online, but also contributed to shaping new habits among Russian shoppers, who have grown used to making regular purchases via this channel,’’ said Daniil Fedorov, chief financial officer at Ozon Group. “Judging by our customers’ behaviour in the second quarter of 2020, people are not going to give up online shopping any time soon.”

Ozon orders for items that families need for the back-to-school season have grown 74% in the last two weeks of August vs an increase of 53% in the same period last year, according to company data. Even more surprisingly, online orders of desks have surged seven-fold in July and August vs the same period of 2019, as parents brace themselves for the possibility of having to home-school their children again in the coming months.

The e-commerce revolution seems to be spreading across the country, as data show Russia’s regions outside Moscow and the Moscow region account for more than 55% of Ozon's GMV. The fastest growing cities for Ozon sales in the second quarter were Novosibirsk (293%), Voronezh (250%) and Krasnodar (235%).

“Ozon was among the key beneficiaries of the lockdown in Russia,’’ said Renaissance Capital’s analyst Alexander Vengranovich. “The company will continue its logistics expansion in 2H20, with plans to launch four distribution centres in Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg, Kazan and Rostov-on-Don, with a total area of 120,000 square metres. This expansion should provide a good platform for future growth in the Northwest, South, Volga and West Siberia regions in 2H20-2021E.’’

While continuing to invest in infrastructure in the regions, Ozon is also transitioning from an e-commerce retailer to an online marketplace, as Alexander Shulgin, CEO of Ozon, explained to bne IntelliNews in his first ever interview with the Western press.

In June, GMV from sales by marketplace sellers exceeded 50% of Ozon’s total GMV for the first time, indicating the marketplace platform is developing successfully. The company’s marketplace partners accounted for more than 85% of its assortment as of June 30, 2020, with more than 13,000 companies and entrepreneurs actively selling their goods on Ozon.