Russia has been a slow adopter of mobile Internet and smartphones comparing to its European neighbors. Just two years ago, not more than 1% of Russians used mobile Internet. Today the figure is nearing 25%.
During the last couple of years the picture has changed dramatically. Mobile Internet usage grew by 50% during 2011, and by another 50% during 2012. By the end of 2012, 36 million Russian people used mobile Internet.
Google says that over 20% of all Russian searches are made from mobile devices, which is, for example, more than in France.
Mobile marketing world is changing rapidly, and even more rapidly in a growing market like Russia. Just a few months ago in my post about Russian mobile marketing I mentioned that Opera was the most popular mobile browser in the market. Well, it is still the case today, but will Opera manage to keep its leading position by the end of the year?
According to StatCounter data, it is unlikely. Opera has been rapidly losing market share in Russia during the past 2 years, while Android browser and Safari have been steadily growing.
Historically, I always found difficult locating information about Russian mobile marketing and the mobile market itself. While in the West mobile has been a hot topic since a few years back, the information in Russia was scarce. Last week, however, I found a great fresh report with all sorts of juicy data about Russian mobile Internet, created by WapStart (the largest mobile ad networks in Russia and CIS) and OpenStat (a web analytics system).
The original report is in Russian, but I would like to provide a rather detailed summary of it here on RussianSearchTips, because this information is worth a fortune for anyone looking into mobile marketing in Russia.
Russian search market is living through exciting times. Google is pushing Yandex very hard, and Yandex is pushing back, not only by series of strategic partnerships (Google & Firefox, Yandex & Skype, Yandex & Windows Phone, Yandex & Apple’s iOS 6, you name it), but also by launching new competing products.
In the last 6 months Yandex created 3 new products directly competing with Google’s: Yandex Browser – a challenger to Google’s Chrome, Yandex.Store – an alternative to Google Play, Yandex.Disc – the Russian DropBox (or Google Drive).
Earlier this week the CEO of Yandex Arkady Volozh (on the left in the video below) explicitly told the audience at F.ounders conference in Dublin, that Yandex is also considering creating their own version of Android, or “Android ecosystem”, as he put it:
About 3,5 weeks ago it became public that Apple chose Yandex Maps over their own maps platform for all Apple devices in Russia (probably a smart decision!). The integration is done via so-called Yandex geosearch API, so Apple Maps are still there, but all the details about local businesses (restaurants, museums, stores, etc.) are taken from Yandex Maps. If a user wants to see more details about the local business he / she is viewing, there is a Yandex button at the bottom of the listing. Tapping the button redirects the user to Yandex Maps app (or to the App Store, if the app is not installed on his / her device).
Yesterday Yandex released the first showing how the integration affected Yandex Maps app download: