Russia‘s e-commerce sector is relatively fragmented, with the top two companies (Wildberries and Ozon) together accounting for just over 20% of the market, according to a report by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
However, the volume of business increased significantly over the last five years to reach RUB 3 trillion in 2020. A small part of these transactions is exported (about RUB 90 billion in 2020).
While Alibaba is actively participating in the market as a joint venture with a Russian company, Amazon, another major player, has not entered the market, although there are options to ship the goods directly or through intermediaries to the Russian Federation.
The WTO report adds that fundamental conditions have been established for the development of electronic commerce, such as consumer protection laws (online), provisions on data privacy and electronic signatures.
In general, consumers have the right to cancel orders and return purchases within 15 days.
Although producers can determine the duration of the guarantees they provide, consumers can generally file complaints within two years in the event of deficiencies, unless a shorter guarantee period has been determined.
In Russia, companies must provide accurate information to consumers and must be identifiable by them.
With regard to data protection, companies have to keep private data confidential, they must register with the Roskomnadzor before the data can be processed and they must obtain the consent (which can be withdrawn) from the persons whose data is will deal, with some exceptions provided by law.
Likewise, electronic messages related to the promotion of products or services and political campaigns require the prior consent of the recipients.
Both handwritten and electronic signatures are valid for all commercial contracts, and there are different levels of certification of the signatory.
In January 2021, new rules on retail came into force, basically reflecting a series of previous documents and introducing new elements relevant to electronic commerce, such as the requirement that sellers confirm orders, simpler procedures for the remote delivery of goods or rules on automated sales.
The Russian Federation participates in the initiative on the Joint Declaration on Electronic Commerce.
The main obstacles to the development of the sector in 2017 had to do with the slow delivery of packages, although according to reports the situation has improved significantly, as companies have adapted to purchasing guidelines related to Covid-19 .
DHL and UPS
The market for courier services is relatively concentrated, with the three main players dominating the market, although the main international players are also actively involved.
Most of online purchases are shipped via the federal state unitary enterprise Russian Post or EMS, while courier services such as DHL and UPS also operate.
The de minimis threshold for small cross-border shipments was set at EUR 500 and / or 25 kg on January 1, 2019, and at EUR 200 on January 1, 2020.
Although in the past most shipments were paid in cash, the share of online payments has increased considerably in recent years.