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Major Bump in Mobile Web Use in Urban Russia

Feature phones still in play for web access

Russia’s web penetration still remains somewhat limited, but has been rising quickly during the past few years, with eMarketer estimating that 54% of the population will access the internet on a regular basis this year. But even as going online is not a ubiquitous activity in the country, mobile web access is increasingly driving internet penetration higher.

Research from TNS Russia finds that as of March 2013, 19.6 million residents in Russia’s cities accessed the web via a mobile device. That’s 31.4% of the population, nearly a 10 percentage point bump over March 2012, indicating that the mobile web is really beginning to catch on.

The smartphone ruled in Russia’s major cities, accounting for 49% of mobile web access devices, but the traditional mobile or feature phone was also fairly popular for going online, accounting for 35% of devices. The tablet, by comparison, remained relatively niche, coming in at 15% of total mobile internet devices.

Men showed a much greater propensity to use the mobile web in Russia’s cities, with penetration among this demographic 14 points higher than among women. The young were also significantly more likely to be mobile internet users. More than seven out of 10 respondents between 12 and 24 years old went online via mobile. For other age groups, penetration did not reach above half. And only 7% of those ages 45 and older ever went online via mobile.

eMarketer estimates somewhat similar mobile internet penetration across Russia, expected to reach 32.8% of the total population this year, or 46.7 million residents. eMarketer’s figures also suggest the extent to which the mobile web will soon drive overall increases in internet reach. Just more than three out of five of Russia’s web users are expected to go online via mobile this year, up from only 48.6% last year. By 2017, more than nine out of 10 web users will access on mobile.


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