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eMarketer estimates that internet penetration in Russia stands at over half of the population, with a heavier concentration of web users in cities vs. the vast countryside. According to winter 2013 data from the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) – Russia, eight out of 10 internet users in Russia lived in a city.
While the country’s overall penetration rate is low by European levels, it is the highest of the BRIC countries, according to eMarketer’s projections. And research from FOM found that among those who can access the internet in Russia, the web is becoming a more important part of everyday life.
Four years ago, in winter 2009, less than half of Russia’s internet users reported logging on to the web every day. That share rose to more than three-quarters using the internet daily by this past winter. And only 5% of users limited their engagement with the web to once a month.
As elsewhere, the internet is becoming a more essential part of life and a place where users turn for work, news and entertainment on a daily basis.
According to FOM’s study, that share of daily internet users breaks down to 50.1 million people in Russia, or 43% of the population, logging on every day.
That is a large and engaged audience, helped along by growth in broadband subscriptions and mobile internet access. According to data from research firm Point Topic, Russia grew its broadband subscriptions to 23 million in Q4 2012, a 12.8% year-over-year increase. In addition, eMarketer estimates that the number of mobile internet users in Russia will rise 34% this year, to nearly 44 million users.
As more sign online, the web’s influence on consumers will rise alongside. eMarketer estimates digital ad spending in Russia will top $2 billion this year, and reach nearly $3 billion by 2016.
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