Russian consumers & marketing in Russia for your business

Russian consumers & marketing in Russia for your business
Your marketing strategy and Russian consumers

The post describes the features of Russian buyers. To win the trust of Russian customers, you need to set up a marketing strategy in Russia. The dissonant demands of Russian consumers can first appall. But, you can win their trust because Russians are very loyal to the brand. Currently, Russia is a consumer society. And here is how to correctly run marketing and finally make your brand successful in Russia. Also, Russian consumers are cautious buyers. On the other hand, they can make impulsive purchases of luxury goods. You maybe think that is a contradiction. Anyway, it is a characteristic of Russian consumer behavior. Further, you can find helpful, relevant information. And you can use it to run or improve your business.

How Russian consumers spend their money in Russia

Russians do not save money and prefer to pay 80% of their income. And 50% of goods are purchased to use on the same day. But, only 16% of Russians enjoy shopping. Comparing to the global average, it is 10% less. Local buyers would like to enlarge investment by purchasing expensive and durable goods.

Russian consumers are also looking for local shopping. The reason is simple. It allows them to choose affordable brands. Accordingly, local brands adjust prices to meet demand expectations. So, Moscow, St. Petersburg and other large cities in Russia become retail centers.

Well, what does it mean for your brand? In simple words, you can emphasize the value and reliability of your product. Stated differently, if you develop a luxury brand, let`s prove your brand is a profitable investment. For your reference, the regions that have the highest wages in Russia are Moscow, Yamalo-Nenets, Chukotka, Nenets, and Magadan.

Moscow is the wealthiest city in Russia, with a per-capita income of around $22,060 in 2018. Besides, Russia is a country that has social and geographical stratification. The top 20% of the population is eight times as richer as the bottom 20%. So, you need to set up a strategy for your target audience.

Demographic statistics of the Russian market: Part 1

Russia is a market of 147 million people with per-capita income around one-third higher than China’s (2017). Nowadays, Russia is a substantial market for international companies. For instance, Russia imported $700 billion in goods and services in 2016. It means that Russia is a large importer of finished products. For example, Russia has spent approximately $40 billion in goods from China. This indicator of German goods was $20 billion in 2016.

Further, let`s say about demographic statistics for 2019. Reportedly, Russia has 15 cities that population is more than 1 million people. That includes Moscow (12.5 million) and St. Petersburg (5.4 million). The total population in Russia is 147 million. The urbanization level is 74%. It means the people in an urban area are 109 million. The population of 15 largest cities (including capital and St. Petersburg) is 33 million. Stated differently, it means one-third of the Russian city population. Also, that is around one-fifth of the total population in Russia. Reportedly, Russia will have two new cities; the population will be more than one million. They are Krasnodar (2024) and Tyumen (2028).

The city population in Russia in 2019.
The city population in Russia in 2019.

Demography statistics for your marketing in Russia: Part 2

The population concentration is high in the western part of the country. It is 1/5 of state square. This country part extends from the Baltic Sea, south of the Caspian Sea. According to the statistics of OECD, 54% of adults aged 25 to 64 have a university education. Accordingly, that is the second best rate among the 35 OECD countries. Professional specialization in Russia looks like:

23.8% are skilled professionals,
15.3% work in sales and services,
13% are skilled workers,
13% craftsmen and builders,
12.6% of operators and machine assemblers,
8.7% have an intermediary occupation,
7% are managers,
3.4% are farmers,
3.1% are clerks.

Further, let`s return from demographic statistics to international marketing and its insights.

How Russian consumers treat brands

Once Russian consumers become your clients, they are very loyal. Only one of the fifth consumers in Russia changes brands considering a lower price. Russian consumers take into account quality and brand reputation. They think brands are valuable in specific categories, such as digital media, electronics, and retail. In most cases, Russian consumers expect the quality of the brand they choose. Last year, one-quarter of Russian buyers increased purchases from usual to higher-quality goods and services. 61% of Russian customers prefer purchasing products and services with familiar brands.

Household composition in Russia_marketing
Household composition in Russia, 2017

Therefore, you need to work on your brand reputation. In this situation, Russian consumers will stay with you for a long time. The reward is worth the effort. As mentioned, the critical purchase factors in Russia include the brand, quality, and product durability. Russian buyers pay less attention to price than the brand reputation and useful features of the product.

For example, everyone heard about the giant queues in Moscow for Apple iPhone. So, it obviously demonstrates consumer loyalty. Consequently, you can win the loyalty of Russian clients, and they will come back to you again. Please keep in mind that if you can show that you really care about clients, you will gain long-term leads. Therefore, it requires investing in your image as a trustworthy brand. A brand is everything. There is nothing more important than the brand.

Russian consumers and marketing

In Russia, a family plays a significant role in the life of every Russian. For example, family and home is a high value for 83% of Russian consumers. Health is value for 78% of local clients. Therefore, you also can use it. Reportedly, average Russian households consist of 2.5 people. 49% of households are couples with children.

Stated differently, family members can become a defender of your brand. And I just share some stats. Reportedly, over half of the consumers in Russia shop for the family. It is 8% more than the global average. So, it is an excellent opportunity for your business. You may focus on the family’s goods or services in your marketing strategy.

And here is a successful marketing story. For instance, H&M has launched a collection of school uniforms in 2016. During a sale promotion, children of celebrities wore jackets and shirts. It was fruitful. That`s why H&M has decided to repeat it in 2017.

Another feature of marketing in Russia is customer contact centers. That is characteristic of consumer behavior. Russian buyers prefer to communicate directly with sellers. Accordingly, you need to fully localize post-sales support and hire a local team. Russian buyers prefer to speak their mother tongue. Also, you should translate the website and product descriptions. Besides, it is necessary to localize information that can be attractive to Russian buyers. You need to make an effort. Otherwise, the Russian target audience will not trust your brand.

Reportedly, ¾ of Russian buyers are interested in searching for new products. Also, there are 25% of immediate purchases. Marketing promotion campaigns are useful and attract around 60% of Russian consumers. Local buyers visit outlets buying new products.

How Russian consumers treat brands in Russia: Part 2

Nowadays, the e-commerce sector is developing in Russia. In 2019, the market share of e-commerce was 3%. Thus, there are a lot of new chances and places for your business. Let`s enter the Russian market! Also, there is good news for you. Currently, the Russian market does not have a dominant sales site [as Amazon, eBay, Taobao, Alibaba, or AliExpress] at present. But, the market is significantly growing. The main reason is the high internet penetration rate. One-half of Russian consumers would like to buy foreign products.

The penetration rate of social media networks is 47%. Currently, the leading social media systems include Vkontakte, YouTube, and Odnoklassniki.

Russians admire the traveling. Reportedly, 62% of Russian customers think travel and tourism are essential. If you develop the tourism sector, you can consider last-minute flash sales to destinations. For instance, it is especially vital for tourism in European countries. For countries in Eastern Asia, the trip can have shorter and more flexible packages. Accordingly, Russian customers surf the internet to plan and book personal travel. They use websites and phone apps of airlines, hotels, and car rental agencies. So, that is the reason why online aggregators are popular now. You can develop your online presence in Vkontakte, Yandex.

Currently, the base growing trend in Russia is the consumption of healthier products. Half of the Russian buyers want to buy products that improve their health and life quality. And this part of consumers is ready even to pay more for such products.

If we talk about payment methods in Russia, cash is more common. But, more and more people apply for payment cards. If to talk about card payments, 88% of consumers use debit cards, and only 12% use credit cards.


This article describes the behavior of Russian consumers. For example, their priorities during shopping: family-oriented and healthy products, brand loyalty, curiosity to the new goods, direct communication with a seller in Russian, brand checking via local social networks. To set up an efficient marketing strategy for developing your goods and services, you also need to search the demographic, geographical, and market statistics.

If you need to collect the relevant data of the Russian market for a specific industry and/or region, you may contact me. I wish you to run your business successfully and your brand to get more as possible loyal customers!