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The last time eMarketer looked at social network usage in Russia, Facebook was making serious strides to catch up with local competitors VKontakte and Odnoklassniki.ru. While global brands may find social media marketing in the country challenging due to Facebook still trailing local networks, Russia remains too important to ignore for several reasons, including strong economic growth amid turmoil in Western Europe, a high-spending, urban middle class, and sheer size. eMarketer expects Russia, with 57.9 million social network users in 2012, to be the fifth-largest socially connected country in the world this year.
According to a February survey from Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM), a local survey firm, 82% of internet users in Russia used social networks as of February 2012, an increase of 30 percentage points from when the question was asked in 2010. The percentage of users that didn’t use social networks went down by more than half, to 18%.
In a May 2012 update, VCIOM found that more than half (54%) of mobile internet users in Russia most often used the internet on their phones to access social networks. Mobile social usage was highest, unsurprisingly, among the younger demographics: 73% for users ages 18 to 24 and 50% for those ages 25 to 34.
In 2012, eMarketer forecasts mobile internet users in Russia to hit 32.7 million. If more than half of those individuals access social networks via their mobile device, as suggested by VCIOM data, it would account for 17.7 million mobile social users.
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