Russian Internet statistics

A new English-language resource InFact.RU started publishing major  internet statistics for Russia. As it is usual , numbers show that Russia  is quite a different place from whatever we see in the “West”.

While Internet penetration  in Russia ( 36.6% of population )  is comparable with 1999 in US , it is a country with probably highest share of broadband – 2/3 of internet users are preferring to use it . In US this share is only 1/3 of all internet users . In Moscow, virtually all internet users (87%) are using broadband.

Advertising dollars (the blood of free Internet content) are still quite low – only about $0.6b  or under $15 per user per year. US internet advertising market is 50 times larger – about $25b or about $90 per user per year.

Another interesting observation is that majority of western internet resources didn’t manage to successfully expand and attract attention of local users. (The only exception is Google who is somehow increasing its market share, but still trailing far behind the native Yandex ). Instead of localized Facebook, eBay and so on, Russians prefer to use their own ( quite often – “copy-cat”) resources , such as Vkontakte , Livejournal and so on. I don’t think that issue is only in unsuccessful localization to Russian language, but probably some can be explained by deep cultural differences. For example, while twitter-like short-blogging is not quite ( yet ?) popular, long articles blogging is extremely popular (US-born LiveJournal had been sold to Russians as it became a major audience).

My predictions:

  • Considering level of Internet penetration similar to late 90th in USA and increased interest in Russian high-tech investments, we can expect an "Internet boom" in Russia.
  • Russian internet will boom only with introduction of secure online payment and reliable goods delivery (Russian post service is beyond critic). But both systems will be probably quite different from one we know on the West.
  • Russian Internet advertisement has a lot of space to grow – both in term of eyeballs and in terms of $ per each eye…
  • Watch out for Russian Netflix and Hulu – they have a lot of “last mile” bandwidth to waste

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UPDATE, Oct 26,2010 : comScore just published interesting review of Russian Internet usage. Accordingly to this research, Russia is #1 in social networking engagement. During August 2010, almost 35 million Russians (75% of Internet users) visited at least one of popular social networks and spend in average 9.8h (monthly) – or almost twice of worldwide average ( 4.5h monthly). Not a big surprise with #2 - Israel’s Internet user waste in average 9.2h (Just listen for accent of Israeli Foreign Minister). Distant #3 – Turkey, with “only” 7.6h monthly – we can speculate about various aspects of Turkish culture, but did anyone check summer destination of not accounted 25% of Russian Internet users?

Yandex ( and its satellite properties) still the most popular destination for 79.3% of users visiting it at least once a month. Immediate second is DST (Mail.ru, Odnoklassniki, ICQ) with 78.1% popularity. Interesting to note that Google is catching up – attracting 68.8% of Russian internet population.

 

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UPDATE, Oct 26,2010 : comScore just published interesting review of Russian Internet usage. Accordingly to this research, Russia is #1 in social networking engagement. During August 2010, almost 35 million Russians (75% of Internet users) visited at least one of popular social networks and spend in average 9.8h (monthly) – or almost twice of worldwide average ( 4.5h monthly). Not a big surprise with #2 - Israel’s Internet user waste in average 9.2h (Just listen for accent of Israeli Foreign Minister). Distant #3 – Turkey, with “only” 7.6h monthly – we can speculate about various aspects of Turkish culture, but did anyone check summer destination of not accounted 25% of Russian Internet users?

Yandex ( and its satellite properties) still the most popular destination for 79.3% of users visiting it at least once a month. Immediate second is DST (Mail.ru, Odnoklassniki, ICQ) with 78.1% popularity. Interesting to note that Google is catching up – attracting 68.8% of Russian internet population.

 

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