Russian social commerce generates $9bn per annum, 40% of e-merchants' sales

Russian social commerce generates $9bn per annum, 40% of e-merchants' sales
Russian social commerce generates $9bn per annum
By EWDN in Moscow January 18, 2019

No less than 39mn buyers and 22mn sellers – both companies (B2C) and individuals (C2C) – are involved in Russian social commerce, according to a study released last month by Yandex.Checkout and Data Insight, reports East-West Digital News (EWDN).

The research reveals the importance of social channels in the Russian e-commerce space, accounting for no less than 40% of the total e-commerce sales of the surveyed e-merchants.

The Russian social commerce market – which includes sales of goods and services via social networks, instant messengers, classified ad platforms and other P2P platforms – is being estimated at RUB591bn (around $9bn), generated from 394mn transactions in the course of 2018.

Russia’s social commerce sales are generated as follows:

  • 33% from classifieds ad platforms (e.g., Youla)
  • 26% from social media (Vkontatke, Odnoklassniki, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
  • 21% from sharing economy websites (Airbnb, BlaBlaCar, YouDo, etc.)
  • 16% from instant messengers (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, etc.)
  • 4% come from group purchases.

Most transactions take place in social networks.

The most popular category is apparel and footwear, with a sales volume exceeding RUB100bn ($1.5bn) this year, followed by electronics and household appliances, and real estate rental services.

The average order value (AOV) on social platforms is around RUB1,500 ($23), with 73% of orders below RUB3,000 ($45).

The AOV in the real estate rental category reaches RUB6,500 ($97), followed by electronics and household appliances (RUB3,600 or $54) and animals and plants (RUB3,000 or $45).

Russians spend an average of RUB1,950 ($29) on each purchase in the most popular category, apparel and footwear.

B2C sales: 40% of online revenue generated by social channels

76% of e-merchants use social channels for sales purposes, with 94% of them preferring to work via social networks and 29% via messengers. On average, social channels account for about 40% of the online sales revenue for companies using them, vs. 53.4% generated by their own website and apps.

Thus, social media are the main sales channel for B2C merchants – and the percentage of sales via these channels has increased over the past year for 55% of study respondents.

The most used channel for social commerce is Vkontakte (VK), where 15% of survey participants say they offer services and products. Instagram takes the second place (5.9%), followed by Odnoklassniki (OK) (3.8%).

The primary source of sales via social networks for 80% of companies is their own webpage. 57% of respondents sell via built-in functions of social networks (typically, offers displayed on public company pages or private pages of individual merchants, or sales via live chats).

Messengers are the most important sales channel for micro-merchants (up to 3 sales per day) while social networks are the main one for larger sellers (10 sales per day or more).

C2C sales: classifieds platforms are more popular than social media

About 22mn Internet users (approximately one in three) sell things via social channels, with 12% of them generating a substantial income in this way. More than half of these e-sellers (56%) offer second-hand goods, while 22% offer various services and 14% offer new products.

Social platforms are the only sales channel for 55% of Internet users. Individuals sellers tend to trade via classifieds platforms (71%) rather than social networks (37%). Nearly two thirds (65%) of all individual sellers involved in social commerce operate via, Russia’s leading classifieds platform, while 39% use Youla, the classifieds platform launched by Mail.Ru Group in late 2017. VKontakte and Instagram are used by 33% and 9% of them, respectively.

Social media users most often sell products and services via thematic groups (51% of respondents), personal pages (47%), own groups (29%), advertising (17%), publications from bloggers (10%).

The importance of social platforms as a sales channel is set to continue growing: 28% of users want to learn how to work with platforms they have not used yet, 27% plan to increase sales, 23% want to extend their product offerings.

Among the e-merchants, which do not use social media, one in five (19%) intends to use at least one social channel in the next year.

Conducted in spring and summer 2018, this study involved 3,014 Internet users aged 14 to 54 as well as 207 companies. The research encompassed the following resources: social networks (VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, Facebook, Instagram, My World@Mail.Ru, LiveJournal, Spaces); classifieds platforms (Avito,, Youla, Drom, Farpost,, N1), instant messengers (WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, Skype, SnapChat, ICQ, Agent), sharing economy websites (Airbnb,, YouDo, Remontnik, Pomogatel, BlaBlaCar,, Etsy).

The study was a joint project by Yandex.Money, a leading electronic payment operator in Russia (e-wallets and business services) and Data Insight, a reputable e-commerce and Internet research agency. The full version may be downloaded at no charge from this link.