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3 Sep, 2007 05:07

Internet shopping more popular in Moscow

Russia’s first internet sellers appeared on the scene more than a decade ago, although their services are not used as extensively as they are in Western Europe and the United States.

However, more Russians are using the service, particularly in major cities where the internet is a common day-to-day communication tool.

Even if most buyers still say the service lacks quality and efficient service, the market is developing fast.  More clients and online sellers appear every day.

“In comparison to 2005 the number of online buyers has increased, especially in big cities. The more people using the internet, the more likely they will start buying products online. The range of products available online is growing ever year,” stated Nelly Pugacheva, researcher at Romir Monitoring in Moscow.

According to the research agency Romir Monitoring, the most popular items sold over the internet are books and music, through providers such as ozon.ru and bolero.ru.

Currently more services are turning to the internet to generate sales of many different kinds of goods, including groceries, computers and accessories, household goods and travel services amongst others.

For many Russians, though, buying online is still not the norm.

High-street grocery chains such as Sedmoy Kontinent have also developed an extensive online presence to cash in on the increasing number of Russians who are turning to the net to buy daily goods.

“We first started our service in 2002 and since then it has been increasing about 1.5 times a year. I am sure it is becoming more popular among Russian citizens,” said Aleksandr Nikonorov, the head of Semkadostavka delivery service.

Online grocers still face difficulties in providing a quality service, with delivery timeframes, the freshness of perishable goods and payment mechanisms still sometimes questioned. However, a key spur to future internet sales will come from electronic ticketing, a well-established phenomenon internationally, but one which Russian services are only just starting to catch up with.

Currently, Russian consumers still lack information and confidence in this convenient service, which is commonplace worldwide. But as their awareness of the range of online shopping opportunities grows, internet selling looks set for a bright future.