Russia provides perfect breeding ground for e-commerce start-ups

E-commerce is turning into a major growth sector for Russia, causing to report on the favourable market conditions transforming ideas into enterprises.

Statistics from TNS Gallup show that 67 per cent of Russians aged between 12-54 are online, up from the 24 per cent in 2006 to represent a total of 95 million people. says there are around 20,000 online retailers in the country ready to service those who wish to shop over the internet, with more signing up by the minute.

Part of the reason why so many stores are finding it easy to enter the market can be attributed to the easy access of funding. Moscow, the Russian capital, has the highest concentration of billionaires in the world, so raising anything between £100,000 to £1 million is relatively easy to do.

State-backed lenders are also becoming more supportive towards e-commerce businesses, which has allowed investments into Russian hi-tech firms to double in value to $550 million (£363 million) in 2011 over the space of a year.

Now, with a network of companies and consumers in place, online stores in Russia are seeing their revenues growing 30 per cent every year. Shoppers spent a total of $18 billion (£11.9 billion) online last year, but if that’s not enough to encourage brands from the country to set up an online payment processing service and to accept orders online, retailers believe the best is yet to come.  

Kazakh-born entrepreneur Oskar Hartmann, owner of KupiVIP, Russia’s leading fashion retailer, has high hopes for a market he expects will rise to a value between £30-50 billion over the next five years.

“Typically, people start to buy things after they have been online for about three years and they buy things like fashion after seven years,” he says.

“But Russia’s online population is so young that that seven-year wall has yet to hit. When it does, in the next few years, the market here will become the largest in Europe.” 


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