Social commerce in Russia: customer behavior — a study by Yandex.Checkout and Data Insight

January 10, 2019

About 39 million Russians shop in online social channels such as social media, instant messengers, classified ad websites, and other P2P platforms. The number of users paying for goods and services at these websites will continue increasing over time, conclude the Yandex.Checkout and Data Insight analysts after studying the customer behavior in online social channels as well as user buying preferences, and transaction scenarios at different platforms.

Portrait of a customer in social channels

Men and women are equally interested in shopping via social online channels: 49% of all customers at these platforms are men, 51% are women. Men make up the majority of users on classified ad platforms (53% of buyers), women in social networks (56%). Women make 4 times more purchases at joint purchase websites than men.

In general, customers who use social online channels are a solvent audience. 18% of them have an income of more than $1477 per family, 38% earn $739 to $1476. The average check for purchases via social channels is approximately $22.5, but users often decide on larger purchases: 8% of social channels purchases are made on products priced $148 or more.

In the past year, Russians spent $8.98bn (591 billion rubles) on goods and services in social channels. 40% of orders were paid online. 33% of social channels purchases were paid via bank cards, 11% via electronic wallets, 8% with bank accounts.

Cards and cash are equally popular on most social channels. In general, 34% of purchases in these channels are paid for with cash, 33% with cards. However, 51% of orders on joint purchase websites are paid with cards, 47% of transactions on advertisement sites are paid in cash. Payments from e-wallets are most often used in instant messengers: 16% of orders there are paid from wallets with 11% being the average for this payment method.

Every third customer buys regularly

More than 26 million Russians have used the services of sharing economy services* over the past 12 months. About 21 million purchased something via social networks, almost 12 million on classified ad platforms, and about 5 million via messengers.

Almost a third (31%) of users have made purchases via social media at least once in the past 12 months. Every tenth user of instant messengers paid for an order in this channel. In general, 55% of the online audience over the past year have made purchases on any of the online social platforms.

Social online channels show a monthly average of 3 orders per customer, yet 26% of those who pay for purchases via social networks do so between 6 and 20 times a month, with 4% making over 20 purchases. Thus, 46% pay for more than 1 order per week.

The sharing economy websites show the lowest purchase frequency. More than 40% of users of these platforms pay for orders only once a month.

Classified ad services and social networks have the highest activity among users: 69% of buyers on these channels make 2 or more orders per month.

When it comes to specific social online platforms, then largest number of customers are shopping via Vkontakte (44% of all Russian users paying for goods and services in social channels), with Avito (28%) and Youla (16%) in second and third places respectively. Most often, users browse Avito to buy plants and animals (12%), computers, tech, and household appliances (9%), various services (9%), while at Youla, they look for children's products (14%), apparel and footwear (13%), tech and household appliances (13%).

Most often people use social channels to shop for everyday products. 15.7% of purchases are made for apparel and footwear, 10.1% for food, 8.2% for tech and household appliances.

Further on, the popularity of shopping via social networks will continue growing. 25% of users who've never bought via these websites before plan to try it soon.

Social media: trendy and determined

Most often customers use social media to purchase apparel and footwear. These product categories are in demand at all the most popular social network websites.

Almost half of the purchases at these platforms are planned. At least a quarter of orders at social networks are the result of a targeted search for specific goods and services: requests to the social network search form (17% of purchases), direct visits to the bookmarked page of the seller (5%), search for a group that can provide the sale (5%). The most popular way of buying in social networks is via groups (25% of orders), where purchases can be either planned or spontaneous.

Customer preferences vary between different social networks. In Vkontakte, users most often pay for video games (21%), apparel and footwear (14%), and various services (10%). The percentage of purchases for new products in this social network is 69%. In Odnoklassniki, people most actively pay for apparel and footwear (26%), services (16%) and children's products (12%). On Instagram, apparel and footwear also come on top (23%), with children's goods (13%) and services (13%) behind.

The full version of the report you can download here.


About the study
The study examined purchases in social networks, instant messengers, ad services, sharing economy websites, joint purchase services, purchases of tangible and virtual goods (including purchases in videogames at specific websites), and payments for services. The sample includes Russian Internet users aged 14 to 54.

*The sharing economy category includes service exchange websites and marketplaces with social mechanics, for example,,,,,,,,,

About Data Insight
Data Insight is the Internet research agency in Russia. The company provides analytics and consulting services in the e-commerce and online advertising markets. Data Insight's studies are based on active market monitoring, critical analysis of the full range of available data, and the combination of various research methods. For more information, visit

About Yandex.Checkout
Yandex.Checkout is the leading service for accepting online payments in Russia, according to a 2018 survey by MARC. Yandex.Checkout received the Emerging Payment Award at the Merchant Payments Ecosystem conference (Berlin) in 2017. With this payment solution, merchants from all over the world can offer Russian consumers the online payment methods most popular among Russians and CIS-citizens: bank cards, e-wallets, mobile phones, and cash via mobile retailers and payment kiosks (there are over 250 thousand cash-acceptance points all over CIS). Currently, more than 90,000 online stores across the globe use Yandex.Checkout.
Yandex.Checkout was launched by Yandex.Money in 2013. Yandex.Money is the joint venture of search engine Yandex (NASDAQ: YNDX), and Sberbank, the largest bank in Russia.