The Oban Blog

Apartments in Minsk, Belarus

The global digital marketing weekly: Friday 17 October 2014

In this week’s look at major digital marketing news from around the globe: insightful stats about Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine and the influence of the Russian internet; stats about Smart TV use in Argentina; Costco Wholesale’s launch in China via the Tmall marketplace; the latest trends in cross-border ecommerce; and Russia’s reversal of a controversial three-year old daylight savings cut.

Web trends in Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine: stats

An interesting study has been conducted by Gemius (as reported by Econsultancy) on internet penetration and use in Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. Although these countries separated from Russia after the fall of Soviet Union more than 20 years ago, most of them use Russian-speaking internet services and are heavily influenced by Russian online presence.

Belarus has increased their internet penetration by 13% over the last two years, reaching 71% penetration and achieving five million online users. Kazakhstan and Ukraine’s internet penetration is around 53%, providing internet access to 6.7 million and 17 million people respectively. The general trend for all three countries’ internet use is slightly skewed towards female and under-35 year olds (with 65% of Kazakhstan’s users under-35).

Ukraine and Belarus are heavily dominated by Russian search engines such as and Yandex as well as by social networks VK and Odnoklassniki. Some US sites such as Wikipedia, Youtube and Google also pop up as most popular. However, in Kazakhstan there are no American sites in the top 10, with and Odnoklassniki occupying the top positions and .kz portals filling the remainder.

Russia has the biggest internet growth in Europe with 67 million users. Add to this figure these three Russian-speaking nations, and market size increases almost to 100 million users – a sizeable market in anyone’s estimation.

Chart data from emarketer

Connected TV Users in Argentina Get Smart (TVs)

The latest stats from show us that Argentina is catching up on the use of SmartTV. Surveys from May 2014 have discovered that 18% of broadband-connected households connect their TVs to the internet. Although watching movies and TV series on TV is the most common activity (68%), there are many other habits slowly evolving. 52% of people watch YouTube clips on their TVs and 32% use their TVs for general internet surfing. Facebook use has also been pointed out by the respondents, 23% of whom use that service on their TV.

Other responses include online gaming (11%) and calls via Skype (6%). Only 5% of people who connected their TV to the internet do not use any online services.

Costco Tmall frontpage

Costco Wholesale Launches online store in China

As reported by China Internet Watch, American membership-only warehouse store Costco Wholesale has brought its selection and competitive pricing to China by launching their service on Tmall global, a business to consumer online retailer owned by Alibaba Group.

Tmall Global allows retailers to sell to Chinese shoppers through a chain of warehouses in the Chinese free trade zone, which brings down logistic costs and delivery times. Tmall has reached a gross monthly revenue of RMB 159 billion in the second quarter of 2014, indicating the increasing attractiveness of online B2C shopping platform for global brands such as Estee Lauder and Burberry. In the past week, other brands such as Zara and Massimo Dutti have launched their Tmall flagship stores.

Paypal Econsultancy chart showing crossborder purchasing

What’s happening in cross-border ecommerce?

Crossborder ecommerce continues to grow, gaining 10% between 2013 and 2014, according to research commissioned by Business to consumer ecommerce sales have grown by about 20% year-on-year in 2014, and the world is slowly accepting the idea of buying and selling across borders. In the map above, we can see the most popular online oversees shopping destinations, according to PayPal.

In summary:

– The number of UK shoppers purchasing goods from EU has increased by 11% since 2008 (from 12%) and purchasing from the rest of the world increased by 3% (from 18%)

– The EU has been lagging behind as only a small proportion of EU consumers purchase cross border (10%)

– APAC and especially China are most progressive in that area, as China will overtake the US B2C ecommerce sector by 2016. APAC consumers are using currency fluctuation in their favour, buying goods when most favourable.

– 32% of US companies are now offering currency options on their online stores, which indicates that companies are embracing multiple currencies with enthusiasm.

However, as the world unites in ecommerce terms, new standards for consumer protection are required. This is already in motion: the EU, along with local bodies such as the UK’s Citizens Advice Bureau, are lobbying changes to harmonise consumer protection on an international level.

Clocks abstract

Russia changes times…again

Three years ago, Russia controversially stopped turning back their clocks in the winter, causing the small amount of sunlight that many in winter, (particularly in the north) got to actually see. In response to the criticism, Russia will once again set their clocks one hour ahead on 26 October 2014, making it a new standard time. They will also add two new time zones in Russia – Kamchatka region, in the extreme east will be nine hours ahead of Moscow and the area around the Volga River (in the southern area between Ukraine and Kazakhstan) will be adjusted one hour ahead of Moscow.

If you do, or are planning to do business in Russia, don’t forget the time difference between Moscow and the West will now be one hour less as Moscow changes from UTC +4  to UTC+3. Be sure to check Yandex’s search blog for further details.

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Image credits

Minsk Belarus apartments image by Anthony Gherghetta

Time abstract image by Sean MacEntee

PayPal map and Argentina table from their respective source articles