MOSCOW Dec 24 Russia plans to start charging
duty on purchases worth more than 150 euros ($210) from foreign
online stores, lowering the threshold from 1,000 euros and
potentially slowing the fast-growing market while benefiting
domestic online retailers.
The new threshold, proposed by the finance ministry this
week, is still higher than the average transaction made by
Russian shoppers in foreign online stores, estimated at no more
than 100 euros by industry association AKIT.
The volume of Russians' purchases in foreign online stores
may reach up to 120 billion roubles ($3.67 billion) this year, a
100 percent increase over 2012, according to AKIT - the
Association of Internet Trade Companies.
The proposal would bring regulation in line with European
standards. Russia currently has the world's highest threshold,
and the rule is applied to individual shoppers only.
"Although we do not expect a material decline in the number
of cross-border (orders) as customers may split their orders,
the proposed threshold may lead to a slowdown in growth rates of
the number of foreign transactions," Bank of America-Merrill
Lynch analysts said in a note.
This may benefit Russian e-commerce platforms, such as Ozon
and Yandex, the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch analysts
Logistics has been a major hurdle for expansion in Russia by
foreign e-commerce firms such as Amazon and eBay
The Russian e-commerce market is dominated by local players,
including Ozon and KupiVIP, which have invested in their own
logistics chain to reach out to customers in far-flung regions
of the world's largest country by territory.