‘Tatarstan has the right policy’: e-commerce market in the republic grows by a third

Tatarstan residents have spent about 90 billion rubles in online stores over the year. However, experts are skeptical about revenue growth

‘Tatarstan has the right policy’: e-commerce market in the republic grows by a third
Photo: realnoevremya.ru

The Tatarstan online trade market has entered the top 10 regions of Russia by the largest turnover — in a year, residents of the republic purchased goods online in the amount of about 90 billion rubles. They paid the most for tools, garden equipment, jewelry and accessories, but spare parts and products for cars, on the contrary, were less in demand, the analytical service of Realnoe Vremya found out, having studied the data of the Association of Internet Trade Companies (AKIT). The experts interviewed by the publication confirm that the republic has some of the best development results in the country in this area, although the overall revenue growth of the Russian e-commerce market is doubtful for some of them: “There is no consumer boom and we are not going to see it for many more years.”

Tatarstan citizens paid 90 billion rubles online

Despite the difficult economic conditions, the volume of online purchases in Russia has grown significantly this year — up to 5,7 trillion rubles (+38%). According to this indicator, the domestic e-commerce market turned out to be the fastest growing in the world.

Tatarstan has entered the top 10 regions of the country by the largest turnover. Residents of the republic paid 87,7 billion rubles for online purchases, or also by a third more (+28,5%) than a year earlier.

At the same time, the republic only rounds out the top ten subjects with developed electronic commerce, losing higher positions not only to both capitals and Moscow Oblast, but also to Krasnodar Krai, Rostov, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Samara Oblast, and even Voronezh Oblast.

Now, according to experts, the share of Russian e-commerce accounts for 14% of the entire retail market and 29% — of non-food retail. At the same time, large universal marketplaces are growing the fastest — over the year their share has risen from a third to almost half of total sales, and the number of orders has increased to 71%.

The growth of e-commerce in Russia was partly facilitated by circumstances that created serious problems in other retail segments. For example, Western sanctions. Many Western online stores have left the country, ceasing to accept payments from Russian bank cards. They were followed by foreign logistics companies, as a result of which the delivery time increased.

The withdrawal of brands served as an incentive for the development of the Russian e-commerce market, according to industry representatives, since parallel import goods were sold mainly online. Besides, the variety and flexibility of sellers added to the popularity of electronic platforms.

More tools, fewer auto parts

Judging by the dynamics of growth of online purchases, Tatarstan residents were more interested in tools with garden equipment (+156,2%), jewelry with watches (+152,9%) and accessories (+114%) last year than usual. For all this, they paid about 4,2 billion rubles against 1,8 billion a year earlier. Only the categories “Other goods”, “Auto parts and auto accessories” showed negative dynamics — residents of the republic paid only 5,4 billion for them against 7,5 billion in 2021.

But Tatarstan residents paid the most money online for digital and household appliances — 19,9 billion (+15,4%), furniture and household goods — 16,8 billion (+40,9%), food — 13,7 billion (+39%), as well as for clothes and shoes — 10,1 billion (+44,3%).

The average receipts of Tatarstan residents also grew noticeably. If earlier residents of the republic made online purchases by an average of 35,5 thousand rubles a year, now — by 40 thousand (+12,9%), which is associated with an increase in the cost of goods in general.

Accessories (+131,1%), sporting goods (+107,3%), clothing and footwear (+98,1%) rose the most. The most expensive average receipt for digital and household appliances is 148,3 thousand rubles (+10,8%).

But there are goods that, on the contrary, have fallen in price in online stores over the year — some of them are just those for which the demand among Tatarstan residents has grown. These are, for example, jewelry and watches — 77,2 thousand rubles (-37,2%), tools and garden equipment — 22,9 thousand rubles (-22,2%), as well as cosmetics and care products — 41,3 thousand rubles (-6,7%).

Cross-border trade lost more than 3 billion

The refusal to work in Russia of a number of the largest foreign online stores, such as ASOS, iHerb, Amazon and others, did not slow down to affect the turnover of Tatarstan online commerce in the cross-border market. The sales on such resources fell by almost half (-47,2%), and a decline occurred in almost all categories. The sales of pharmaceutical products fell the most (-89,8%), goods for children (-88,7%) and books (-83,6%). The only exception was creative goods, which, on the contrary, increased slightly (+3,7%).

In general, the share of cross-border online trade in the republic accounted for 3,5 billion rubles against 6,65 billion in 2021. Tatarstan residents mainly bought digital and household appliances, furniture, household goods, auto parts and car accessories in western online stores.

“There is a noticeable growth of e-commerce in Tatarstan”

Despite the good indicators, as reported by the Association of E-Commerce Companies, Tatarstan has now dropped out of the top 10 most active regions in e-commerce in Russia. However, this is very conditional:

“In the total volume of online sales in Russia, the republic is second only to a few million to Krasnoyarsk Krai, so it ended up on the 11th line of the rating. Of the almost 5 trillion rubles that Russians spent last year on online purchases, Tatarstan's share, like Krasnoyarsk's, is 1,8%," said AKIT President Artem Sokolov. “The rating itself changes over time, so last year Voronezh appeared in it for the first time, and immediately in the eighth place, although it used to be only on the fifteenth, Moscow loses its position every year: a few years ago its share was almost a third of all sales, now it is only 19,4%. The castling in the rating is quite understandable: we see sales growth in all 89 regions of the country, and all of them are increasingly involved in online commerce.”

According to the interlocutor of the publication, last year Tatarstan showed a noticeable growth in online commerce — 28%. The volume of online sales amounted to 91,3 billion rubles, a year ago it was an amount of 71 billion rubles.

“The list of popular categories of goods among residents of the republic does not differ from the all-Russian ones, however, there are differences in the distribution of the rating. As in the whole country, digital and household appliances are in the first place — 21,3 billion rubles were spent on it, which is 23% of all sales on the Internet, furniture and household goods are on the second line — 17,7 billion rubles (19%). But there were differences in the distribution of the third and fourth place categories. Food is on the third line: 13,9 billion rubles (15%), which indicates a fairly high level of service in this category and high demand. Clothes and shoes are in the fourth position (in Russia — in the third) — they were ordered online for 10,3 billion rubles (11%), beauty and health products are in the fifth position — 6,9 billion rubles (8%)," Artem Sokolov cited differences in demand among Tatarstan residents.

At the same time, according to him, it is worth noting that the share of online commerce in total retail sales is dynamically increasing in Tatarstan: only 6,5% in 2021 and already 7,5% in 2022 — the growth was 15%, that is, more and more purchases are made online.

“Tatarstan has some of the best results in the country”

However, not all experts consider the sharp increase in e-commerce revenue in Russia to be objective — it is associated with the effect of a low base and the peculiarities of the calculation of the Federal Tax Service. Tax authorities consider transactions of the entire digital market, including electronic services, the purchase of air tickets, delivery, educational courses and other indicators. For this reason, the president of the National Association of Distance Trading (NADT), Alexander Ivanov, doubts the performance of the Russian segment of e-commerce:

“It is impossible to objectively evaluate these data, but you can evaluate another aspect. The level of penetration of e-commerce into the life of an ordinary person is growing, and from this point of view, Tatarstan is not something that is in the top 10, but occupies very high positions. The level of penetration into life, the number of people involved both as producers and as buyers — this must be assessed. It requires its own research and its own researcher. I have no doubt that in this regard Tatarstan has the right policy in terms of involving the population in e-commerce, which seems reasonable and sympathetic to us, as well as good results — some of the best in the country.”

As for the research of the Russian e-commerce market, most of them, according to the interlocutor of the publication, operate with data that differ from reality at times: “Since we have closed statistics, and the industry is mostly closed, so I believe that we do not have correct research on the e-commerce market. There are various kinds of assessments.”

“According to trends, we can only note a surge in online trading after the first round of the pandemic — there was a rather noticeable jump. Otherwise, we should understand that e-commerce is developing relatively slowly. The arithmetic is very simple here. We have been hearing for 20 years that our e-commerce is growing at an unprecedented pace. Well, 20 years have passed, and what are we seeing? That our online trade accounts for about 9% of the total retail trade. If we divide these 9% by 20 years, it turns out that we are growing by half a percent a year. This does not mean that it is not enough, but it is like this," Alexander Ivanov pointed out.

According to him, it is impossible to artificially warm up the e-commerce market: “But it is possible to fight for this business with a service, in this sense, I believe that we have a very high-quality e-commerce, which gives a good service, and thanks to which this overflow occurs.”

The foreigner said: “You have a long country”

At the same time, there are completely objective, geographical reasons in Russia why e-commerce is not growing twice as fast, the speaker stressed. “Because as one foreigner told me: 'You have a long country.' And it's true, it's not very convenient to deliver goods from us. Therefore, there are several determining factors that influence the development of e-commerce. The population is not rich, the purchasing power of the population has been falling for several years in a row and will probably continue to fall, so there is no purchasing boom and we will not observe it for many more years. In this situation, in generally difficult economic conditions, such an increase of half a percent per year is quite normal, and it is not necessary to say that it is actually more.”

Nevertheless, the founder of KazanExpress marketplace, Linar Khusnullin, also points to the high growth rates of e-commerce:

“Recently, the turnover of e-commerce has increased noticeably, and it's not that we are growing there so much or something is happening. The thing is, the total retail trade has fallen by 12-13%. The average check for online purchases is decreasing, yes, but this is another matter, a general trend. The growth is due to that after Covid and lockdown, a lot of people from different backgrounds started buying online. These are large groups of the population, there is an older generation that did not buy online before, and more and more young people are becoming economically active. Those who went to school yesterday are already gripped by their phones from morning to night, they do not raise their bottom from sofa especially. Communication also happens in their phones. And the more this generation comes online, the bigger the e-commerce market will be.”

According to the interlocutor of the publication, there is a redistribution of money between the retail segments. “Of course, those who work offline in shopping malls are not very envious, and so times are not easy, customers also go online. And, of course, it's good for us," concluded the interlocutor of the publication.

Vasilya Shirshova, Syumbel Gubaydullina

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