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E-shopping Winning Positions
October 13, 2006 16:57

World’s Internet market is to break a record of $200 billion in 2006. To a great surprise of Russian online traders tours, cars and shoes have become world bestsellers. The young Russian Internet market overstepped the line of $1.02 billion and the leaders are different: books, musical goods, appliances and mobile content. Taking these facts into account one may think that the Russians are much more interested in music and literature than in anything else, but that is not true: they just don’t really trust Web Shopping.

However, the National Association of Electronic Commerce notes that in 2005 the whole Internet sales market made up about $4.474 billion, and b2c segment (business-to-customer) returned a profit from $1.02 to $2.6 billion last year (according to the managing director of the National Association Anton Nikolskiy, the former figure is based on data given by Internet shops, the latter one – on Internet users’ poll).

 “Our data show that b2c segment turnover amounted from $600 to $700 million”, mentioned PR manager of the e-shop OZON Mikhail Yatkovskiy. He explained that Internet trade turned to be quite a closed field. E-shops are not really inclined to reveal their data. So, the National association has to calculate the total industry volume using the American method: data are taken from different sources and multiplied by definite indexes.

The volume of electronic book trade increases on average 20-30% a year. According to Yatkovskiy, the first position at the e-market is occupied by books, audio and video products; computers and constitute parts rank second; appliances and sell phones occupy the third position. An absolutely unexpected fact is that mobile content was included into the top five of the best sellers. Judging by the sales volume, computers rank first: an average price of each purchase is much higher.

Experts are solid in their opinion about the reason for such different passions: the primary Runet audience is formed by young well-educated people with active living position. This fact affects the sales pattern.

The Russians haven’t got used to E-shopping yet, that’s why expensive purchases are still left in the shade. Besides, people find ordering tours on the web too risky, and the process of choosing shoes or clothes feels like a fairy-tale – no picture can produce the effect of a real thing and it is almost impossible to understand whether this thing suits you or not. Since the majority of the audience doesn’t really believe e-trade, they prefer to buy identifiable goods of constant and certain characteristics. Books, for instance: 400 pages, a cover and “The brothers Karamazov”. And what if one takes a tour or a car? Russian people are unlikely to buy it without talking to a sales assistant and having a look at the thing – nobody knows what pig can be in the poke.

The same situation is in the cell phones market. The analysts say that in 2005 about 420 thousand phones were sold on the Web ($75.6 million). It makes up 1.3% of the total number of phones bought in Russia last year. With every new day Russians buy more and more cell phones using the Internet, and no wonder: prices in e-shops are considerably lower and the information about the model of the phone you need is complete and exact.


Olga Pletneva


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