Russian e-commerce leader Wildberries launches in Germany

16 January 2021

Wildberries, the number one Russian e-commerce company, announced yesterday its launch in Germany in the latest stage of its international expansion.

Through a localized interface, German online shoppers can access more than four million products — from fashion items, to electronic and household appliances, to books, to sports items, to cosmetics and more.

The Russian company has organized a network of 40,000 collection points across the country.

Germany is the company’s first country of operations in Western Europe, nearly one year after it announced its intention to launch in the region.

“In the near future, Wildberries is also planning to enter the markets of France, Italy and Spain,” said Vyacheslav Ivashchenko, Wildberries’ Director of Development.

In addition to Russia, its home market, Wildberries currently serves several countries of the former Soviet Union: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan as well as Ukraine, where it launched operations this past September (via its Polish subsidiary). It also operates in Poland (since January 2020), Slovakia (since May 2020) and Israel (since December 2020)

Wildberries has reported total sales of more than $6 billion in 2020 (up from $3.3 million in 2019, according to DataInsight).

Emerging outbound e-commerce

Wildberries offers a rare example of a Russian online retailer selling outside Russian-speaking countries. While cross-border sales to Russia account for several billions of US dollars every year, Russian e-commerce majors have essentially focused on their domestic market so far.

Among the exceptions is Ozon, whose products are popular among Russian-speaking communities in the USA, Israel and other countries. However, Ozon — which made a triumphant NASDAQ IPO in late 2020 — has no in-house logistic infrastructure outside Russia.

While focusing mainly on China-to-Russia sales, market leader AliExpress Russia (a joint property of Alibaba, Mail.Ru Group, Megafon and sovereign fund RDIF) also provides Russian merchants with international sales opportunities.

The international successes of JOOM are also noteworthy. This company, whose mobile apps sell Chinese products at cut-rate prices, did not start from Russia, but it was founded in 2016 by Russian entrepreneur Ilya Shirokov. France is among its main markets.

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