By the end of 2012, 36 million Russian people used mobile Internet. Google says that over 20% of all Russian searches are made from mobile devices, which is, for example, more than in France.
Russians are actively adopting the smartphone technology. According to J’son & Partners Consulting 3.6 million smartphones were sold in Russia in Q2 of 2012 alone, which is 40% of all mobile phones sold in the country.
6th fastest growing market for mobile advertising
2nd fastest growing outbound travel market
Russia’s online ecosystem is dominated by the use of Russian as a language. The popularity and sheer amount of Russian-language websites is often the reason why the overall ecosystem is referred to as “Runet”.
In fact, the geographic distribution of the language is more widely spread, as it goes beyond Russia as a country. Consumers in Latvia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova also have competences, speaking Russian and some consumers are also using the language actively. With Russia being an important BRIC market, Russian travellers are very attractive target markets for tourism companies. This makes Russian as a web language very important and one of the reasons why many tourism websites in Europe provide Russian content to facilitate Russian speaking consumers in Europe in their search process and increase the likeliness of bookings due to catering to their language needs.
The outbound travel and tourism in Russia was heavily influenced by the past political landscape in the country. Only 20 years ago, Russians were banned from travelling outside of the Soviet Union and Eastern European block.
This has changed and Russia saw a staggering increase in outbound tourism in the last decade. In 2008, the number of outbound tourists increased to 11.3 million. Since only 15% of Russians have travelled abroad, there is a huge untapped demand for foreign travel. In general, Russian tourists book their trips very late with 80% of trips booked in the last few weeks before the departure (Eventica, 2010). Travel planning still relies heavily on word-of-mouth, personal recommendations and reviews. The major sources for travel information have been printed materials, such as brochures, booklets and magazines.
The volume of the Russian market of tourism and services for travelers has been increasing steadily throughout the last decade. In 2012 its volume exceeded 1 trillion dollars.
Russians rely on the Internet to find information related to their trip, compare prices of flights and accommodation, however, very few actually book online. According to EuroMonitor International (2013), the importance of online travel sales is growing in all tourism categories, such as air transportation, hotels, car rental and others. This is driving increased interest in independent travel. The increasing number of online travel agents also contributes to the rising popularity of online tourism services consumption. Additionally, the growing popularity
of various mobile devices and social networks has indirectly driven up Internet sales.