The words "shopping" and "sale" have become common Russian. They need no translation, are immediately understood by millions of Russian women and associated with joy and relaxation. It has been scientifically proven that women need to have the stress hormone pulled off and the easiest way to do this is go shopping, just because you don't need anyone else around to do it, just a store.
Whereas women are very much similar all around the world and there is hardly any woman that does not love shopping, Russian consumer behavior has national features. In general Russians have a rational shopping behavior. Russian society has not been affected by consumerism as much as the western world. There is no shortage of shopping options in Russia, and women make a majority of consumers since there are ten million more women than men in the country and most women have shopping for food, household goods, and family clothes as their sole responsibility. Promotional sales in the stores take place and the number of shoppers increase before New Year's, Women's Day and 1 September (when parents shop for school supplies and clothes for children), but there is nothing like Black Fridays in Russia. It is not the rich country but "I am not that wealthy to by cheap things" is a motto for many Russian shoppers. Poeple tend to evaluate the quility of thing before purchase and are not likely to storm stores and grab unnecessary staff just because it is cheap.
Numerous surveys show that Russian women shop differently. According to 2010 survey of Higher School of Marketing and Business Development and Solution Tree company shows that a good buy can excite 62% of Russian women . Only 1 in 10 women would pay just for prestigious brands. It is considered that women’s decision in favor or against a particular purchase is based on emotions and thus they frequently buy on impulse.
The company professionals studied how much Russian women are engaged in spontaneous consumption and found out that that Russian women are very reasonable and have a low rate of spontaneous buying. Jewelry remains the most spontaneous purchase as it is the major temptation for Russian women that traditionally like bright clothes and various decorations. 67% females in Russia buy the favorite jewelry item "accidentally".
Clothes shops and boutiques are the favorite place among females. However Russian women can hardly be called fashion victims and tend to be pragmatic. According to the Nielsen Company survey only 8% of women in Russia are ready to follow latest fashion trends immediately. The considerable number of women (40%) care about fashion, however try to avoid trendy and extreme styles.
The priorities change as well. Durable goods like computers, cell phones, furniture and domestic appliances appear to be high priority items on a woman’s shopping plan (90% of women). The quality of things means a lot. The motto "value for money" is leading; however the new tendency shows that if the value is good the price does not mean a lot. Russian women become more knowledgeable shoppers. They know the approximate price of the goods they need, learn to market and are not that easy to have their decisions changed by the sales people. 74% of Russian women make planned purchase of all groups of goods. The discounts are important as women have to be in charge of budgeting and family finance. 62 % of Russian women would be excited after making a good buy.
The main conclusion of the survey would probably surprise Russian men. Unlike western females Russian women are more focused on family members then themselves, which makes a major difference. Only 8% of women in Russian make "just for myself" buys.
Shopping is very social in Russia. There is a tradition "to wash" large purchases sprinkling of a few drops of alcohol on the newly-purchased item for it to be used for long and cause not trouble for its owner.
Credit card processing for Internet purchases is gaining momentum in Russia. Whereas most Russians still shop in ordinary stores and supermarkets online shopping becomes popular and more Russians are now customers of Internet stores. Online shopping usually involves selecting goods in the online store, typing in the credit card information, billing address, and waiting to get the ordered stuff. The increasing number of Russian online shoppers is not very comfortable with online transactions so businesses in Russia have developed alternatives for the online shopping model. According to Global business knowledge portal more than 80 percent of transactions at Russian online megastores are in cash. The order is placed online and then picked up. Then if the product is what was wanted, the goods are paid for. Or the order is placed by phone and is paid for in cash when the goods are delivered by a courier. This is explained by the fear of credit card penetration and low consumer confidence in online stores. Thus most Russian online stores are more like huge catalogues and rarely accept credit cards. Besides, the penetration of Internet access to the population is lower than in the Western countries.
What is more, Russians are not likely to buy on credit even though there is an abundance of credit card offers. This is explained by the high credit rates – the annual percentage rates can reach 20+%.
There are more than 4000 online stores in Russian today (2011 research figures). According to Mediascope Europe study the percentage of Russian internet (Runet ) users ever made at least one online purchase is 96% out of the total number of Runet users (2010 data). Another media agency Newmann Bauer marketing group has a different result which is only 50% of the total users’ number. It is likely the real figures are somewhere in between and make about 65-70%. The Data Insight, predict the development of Russian online retail market and the 120% increase of online shoppers in Russia in the next five years.
Russian public opinion study published the recent (2011) research of the Russian online shopping dynamics. The poll shows that 29% of the recipient had experience shopping online. Clothes and footwear appear to be most popular goods that 9% of the recipients buy. The electronic gadgets, books, magazines, DVDs, computer games, air and rail tickets, hotel vouchers (7%) and small home appliances (6%) take second place in popularity among Internet customers. 5% of recipients buy theater and cinema tickets and large home appliances online. 4% shop for cosmetics and 3% use internet stores to but household and sports goods. The total amount of Internet uses never having online shopping experience make 71%. 78% of them reside in smaller cities and villages. The Internet population in Russian makes 49%, 30% of which go online on daily basis.
World popular online mega market places are the attractive place for Russians to shop as they usually offer lower prices for books, photo gadgets, apparel, sporting goods, digital appliances, etc, however Russia's lack of a national delivery system and low use of credit and debit cards limits the possibilities.
A relatively new phenomenon among Russian online customers is the collective or group buying which means that a minimum group of people makes a purchase from a retailer and gets discount prices. Since Russia is experiencing a baby boom, the growing population of cost-conscious parents are looking forward to saving time and money. Thus mom and child collective buying sites appear to be most widespread online shopping option.
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