Cashless transactions in Russia in 1Q21
According to estimates by SberIndex laboratory and Platform OFD’s Check Index, the proportion of 1Q21 non-cash spending reached 59.4% in Russia, setting a new all-time high. As usual, the first quarter saw non-cash sales exploding to add 3.5 pp q-o-q and 6.3 pp y-o-y. This is the biggest increase since 2018 topping even the growth rate spotted during the severest coronavirus stages.
Non-cash turnover share kept growing across almost all categories if compared to Q4. However, the amount of cash that increased in the country’s economy in 2020 is still noticeable, affecting the structure of major purchases. In two categories, Electronics and Clothing, the share of non-cash sales declined marginally (within 1 pp) since 4Q20.
The share of non-cash sales in the Building and Home Improvement Goods category went up in 1Q, while still being 2.8 pp smaller than in early 2020.
In 1Q21, the penetration of non-cash sales in Russia’s biggest cities topped 60% for the first time, with over two-thirds of transactions being non-cash ones in eight of the said cities.
Cashless payments keep booming in Russia’s northern part. Nenets Autonomous District beat its earlier record with 72.8% of non-cash transactions among all Russian regions, and eight more regions of Russia – all of them in the country’s North – broke through the 65% level in 1Q.
The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is in the lead for the second quarter running with the highest increase in the share of non-cash turnover y-o-y. Magadan Region ranked second. A new trend was observed, with the center of Russia foregoing cash in large numbers. In 1Q, as many as six regions of the Central Federal District secured spots in the Top 10, with the impressive average growth rate of non-cash settlements in all regions being 7.2 pp.
Still, the higher share of non-cash sales should not be attributed to a temporary change in consumer preferences amid the pandemic. Russians are resuming their habitual offline shopping actively, and lower AOVs in most of the tracked categories prove that. While Russians had been making fewer but bigger purchases throughout 2020, now this trend has reversed.