Books moved to online shelves – Gazeta Kommersant № 236 (7198) from 12/27/2021

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The share of the online segment in sales of paper books in Russia in 2021 reached a record 40-45%, while in the last pandemic year it was 36%, and in 2019 – only 24%, according to “Exmo-AST”. In online stores, the dynamics are associated with an increase in purchases in the regions, including through the expansion of the network of outlets. In 2022, publishers expect the channel to remain highly dynamic, but admit that the growth of sales in marketplaces may slow down against the background of competition, and the determining factor will be the growing cost of books.

Online sales of paper books in Russia in 2021 will increase to 29.5 billion rubles. against 26.4 billion rubles. in 2020, expected in the publishing group “Exmo-AST”. In 2019, the figure was estimated at 23 billion rubles.

The share of online in the total volume of book sales through all channels, including bookstores, FMCG, kiosks, etc., was 40-45%, which was a record for the market, the publishing house said. In 2020, the figure was 36%, and in 2019 – 24%.

The continued growth of the share of online sales even after the peak of the pandemic in 2020 is due to the active development of marketplaces, says the president of “Exmo-AST” Oleg Novikov: At Alpina, the share of online in total sales was 60% against 56% in 2020 and 37% in 2019, the company said. At the MIF publishing house, the online channel accounts for about 50% of sales.

Oleg NovikovPresident of the Exmo-AST publishing group, in an interview with Kommersant on September 3:

“The growth of prices for printing books in the first half of the year has already averaged 15-20%. At the same time, for the first time in the history of the group, we cannot print books in the required volume. “

According to Data Insight, the number of online orders for paper books in online stores between July 2020 and June 2021 increased by 38% to 42.6 million units. The top 3 online bookstores include Ozon, Labyrinth and Wildberries, the agency said.

Ozon told Kommersant that the growth of paper book sales in 2021 compared to the past accelerated: “In the third quarter, sales grew by 40% year on year, and this is given the high figures in 2020 related to the pandemic and self-isolation. According to the results of the third quarter of 2020, the annual growth was 29%. ” In the Wildberries, demand for printed products increased by 72% year on year in eleven months. In Respublika, the number of orders through the online store has doubled. The Labyrinth did not respond to a request.

In Ozon, the main driver of the category is considered to be the regions: they account for about 60% of book sales in the marketplace: “Regional customers are increasingly shopping online, and the number of outlets is also growing.” In Wildberries, the growth in demand for books is associated with the expansion of the range: “The most dynamic increase in demand for books in foreign languages, their sales increased by 353%, as well as textbooks, which showed an increase of 253%.”

Julia Skripnik, Alpina’s director of Internet marketing, believes that sales at marketplaces are stimulated by “strong new products.” The increase to the usual volume of orders in one and a half to two times gives free delivery, she adds. Exmo-AST also believes that the promotion of books on social networks through bloggers has an effect. “This is causing an influx of new young audiences,” said Oleg Novikov.

In 2022, publishers expect online sales to continue to grow.

Irina Kukushkina, Alpina’s commercial director, says that the minimum growth plan for next year is only in the publishing house’s online store – 30%. For other online sites, she expects growth of at least 25%. Exmo-AST forecasts that the overall growth of online sales in 2022 will be 20%. According to Oleg Novikov, the organic increase in sales in marketplaces will slow down against the background of competition, but the determining factor in the growth of the online segment as a whole will be the growth of the cost of books.

Valeria Lebedeva

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