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How Russians’ Online Behavior Changed in 2000-2019



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The Internet’s role in human life keeps on growing

According to the study by Mail.Ru Group, 81% respondents use the Internet daily and multiply throughout the day. According to the results of the poll conducted by the Public Opinion Fund, in 2019 76% Russians have used the Internet at some time. By contract, in 2000 only 3.6% respondents made a positive reply to the question about the Internet use.

The poll showed that people use the Internet most often for communication in social media (64%), games (62%), information search (58%), video watching (56%), and listening to music (55%). In 2000, users had different priorities. That Top 5 included information search (43%), computers and software (27%), news (27%), games (25%), humor (24%), and music (23%).

Top 5 Needs in the Russian Internet (RuNet)

Smartphones win

71% respondents have smartphones and mostly go online using them; 62% respondents also use laptops; every second one (52%) is a PC user; 37% noted that they use tablets, and almost one third of respondents (28%) have Smart TV.

Key trend for the last years is mobile Internet growth

The activeness growth mostly happens thanks to women (71% vs. 61% men) and people under 45 years old. At that, users note that for going online they have lately started using laptops (44%) and PC (42%) more actively. One third of respondents (29%) started going online by means of their tablets more often.

Most often people watch video online

The most widespread online activity became video watching—74% users noted that they had watched video online within the last year. Study results detected transformation of online consumption: people address the Internet more and more often to find convenient services that save them from routine and make their lives simpler. The second and third most popular activities became taxi requests (45%) and selling or buying goods through bulletin board services (43%). Nearly one third of respondents (30%) ordered meals online, and almost every fifth respondent (18%) visited online educational platforms. Two thirds (67%) believe that online education will become a main form of study in 25 years.

Popular actions in social media

Russian Internet users spend most of the time in social media. 73% respondents spend more than three hours a day in social media, while 36% choose messengers and 31% mail services. Almost two thirds of respondents (63% have been using social media for more than six years. The most popular actions in social media are viewing friends’ photos and videos (68%), chat talks (64%), likes and comments (53%), reading and posting in groups (48%), as well as uploading one’s own photos and videos (47%).

Russian Internet caters to needs of various generations

Users aged 14-24 years old cannot already imagine their day without listening to music (39% respondents tell that), while people aged 45+ actively use search services (45%). The findings disprove a stereotype that young audience spends more time playing video games. 58% respondents under 35 years old, as well as those who are more than 35 years old say that they spend three and more hours a day on games.

Male and female online habits

More than half of male respondents (58%) are sure that in 25 years the Internet will be helping people become happier (vs. 49% women). Men and women play games with equal activeness (63% and 62% respectively). Men are less Internet-addicted than women. 41% men and 53% women cannot imagine their day without social media. What is more, women have more strongly pronounced needs to search information, watch movies, and communicate in all ways online.

Russian Internet: Past vs. Future

In order to recall what the RuNet was like in its infancy and how people used it, the experts addressed the audience of the Mail.Ru Group blog on Habr portal. According to the results of the poll in which 1,700 users of the Mail.Ru Group blog on Habr portal took part in, 66% respondents have been using the Internet for more than 16 years. Top 3 resources from which the RuNet began were Rambler (60%), (58%), and Yandex (49%). One third of respondents also mentioned such websites as (34%), Google (34%), (33%), (33%), and (32%).

Future of the Russian Internet

Most respondents (79%) are sure that the Internet will give us even more opportunities for development; 78% consider that voice assistants will become indispensable, while 64% are sure that in future we will use VR glasses, headsets and other smart devices daily. Besides, 70% respondents are sure that in a quarter of a century many jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence.

The poll was conducted in March 2019 jointly with ResearchMe, a partner of Mail.Ru Group in marketing studies. 9,600 Internet users in Russia took part in it from their desktop and mobile devices. The company also used the data of the Public Opinion Fund and the results of the poll of the audience from the Mail.Ru Group blog on Habr portal.


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About the Author

Head of Digital, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Agency Blog

Author Yulia Vasilyeva

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