Chinese Sellers Dominate Russian Marketplace

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jun.09 - 2024 9:09 AM CET

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Foto: Wikipedia Commons
Foto: Wikipedia Commons
Chinese sellers have surged on Ozon, reshaping Russia's e-commerce landscape.

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The number of Chinese sellers on Ozon, one of Russia's largest online marketplaces, has skyrocketed over the past year, growing tenfold to reach 100,000 out of about 500,000 registered sellers by the end of 2023, according to a company representative. This is reported by Vedomosti.

Electronics Lead the Charge

Chinese sellers primarily focus on electronic goods, including mobile phones, computers, and graphics cards. They also offer a wide range of products such as clothing, home goods, and children's items.

This diverse product range has contributed to the booming presence of Chinese vendors on the platform.

In 2023, the sales volume from Chinese sellers more than tripled compared to the previous year, with the number of orders increasing fivefold.

Currently, Chinese sellers account for over 90% of Ozon's cross-border trade, highlighting their dominant position in the market.

Rising Tensions with Local Sellers

Despite assurances from Ozon that Chinese sellers do not directly compete with Russian manufacturers in terms of key categories and delivery times, some local sellers are feeling the pressure.

In April 2024, representatives from several Russian brands reported to Business FM that Chinese sellers were copying their products and selling counterfeit versions at lower prices.

Companies like workwear manufacturer Brodeks and electronics seller Perfecto Group have particularly voiced these concerns.

Sergey Semko, a senior logistics analyst at Data Insight, pointed out that Chinese sellers often compete on price and use photos and descriptions from successful product listings.

This practice is especially troubling for Russian sellers who trade in Chinese goods, as it intensifies the competition.

Logistics Challenges and Market Shifts

While Chinese sellers have a competitive edge in terms of pricing, they face logistical challenges due to the longer shipping distances. Anatoly Polezhaev, owner of the children's educational aids brand Storkle, emphasized the importance of quick delivery for maintaining high sales.

Mikhail Burmistrov, CEO of Infoline-Analytics, estimated that 100,000 Chinese sellers on Ozon represent a small fraction of the Chinese sellers who have been active on the Russian market through AliExpress for many years. Interestingly, AliExpress saw a decline in sales in Russia during 2023, with fourth-quarter sales dropping to below 30 billion rubles, a significant decrease from the same period in 2022.

In contrast, the turnover of Chinese sellers on Ozon reached 17.1 billion rubles in the first quarter of 2024, demonstrating the growing appeal of Ozon for Chinese vendors.

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