Nov 30

Ozon Beats Expectations on 2021 E-Commerce Growth

Dimitri Frolowsckii
Feb 3, 2022
Image: Ozon.

Leading Russian online retailer Ozon announced it beat growth expectations for 2021 as e-commerce continues to grow.

It finished the year strong. Gross merchandise value in the fourth quarter surged to RUB 175 billion compared to RUB 76 million the previous year, according to a statement of full-year 2021 financial results.

Ozon’s high-season “Mega Sales” campaign, including Single’s day and Black Friday, hit a record daily GMV of RUB 6 billion and RUB 5 billion. The daily number of orders during Black Friday surged, increasing five times to Black Friday in 2020.

The pandemic has served as an accelerator for online shopping and services globally. Consumers have increasingly turned to digital services as lockdowns and health and safety concerns became omnipresent. This has given E-commerce a shot in the arm. The growth looks to continue even as it starts from a higher base.

“In 2021 we achieved fantastic results, with GMV growth of more than 125%, ahead of our expectations,” according to Alexander Shulgin, Chief Executive Officer of Ozon. And that comes “despite the full re-opening of the brick-and-mortar retail and the exceptionally tough base of 144% growth of 2020.”

The Moscow-based company expects (GMV) growth, including services, of 80% or more in 2022 compared to last year, according to guidance. Ozon will focus on efficiency gains and improvement in unit economics.

Ozon made progress in securing high-frequency shopping habits with about 200% order growth and about 60% higher order frequency, according to the Ozon boss. Ozon hit a milestone of more than 1 million orders per day. 

The growth testifies to the increasing popularity of this shopping format among Russian customers. The company has followed up with investments in a bid for greater market share in a fragmented, growing market. Warehouse capacity expanded to 1 million square meters. It launched a logistics solutions service, and Ozon Fintech a unit developing its own financial products, and acquired a banking license.

The company additionally pledged to include sustainability initiatives in 2022 to match growth.

Proactive behaviour from Russia’s leading e-commerce companies and the booming popularity of digital services will continue to drive growth. And e-commerce businesses will continue to support this with infrastructure and service offerings. This may also involve a deepening hybrid sales structure and logistics between brick-and-mortar shops and online offerings.

Ozon’s results and guidance serve as a solid example of the trend. This is all the more notable as nations seek to exit pandemic concerns and restrictions and physical stores and shops continue to reopen.

Dimitri Frolowsckii

Dimitri Frolowsckii is a political and energy analyst with over 15 years of experience in journalism.

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