ASOS.com, the major British online fashion retailer that has enjoyed massive international expansion in the last few years, is now planning to launch local operations in Russia. The site’s press service confirmed the news to East-West Digital News, but denied a rumor that it was also considering an acquisition.
Launched back in 2000 as a celebrity fashion site, ASOS has grown to an international fashional retailer, launching US, German and French sites in 2010; followed by Australian, Italian in 2011. According to its latest report ASOS has leapt from sales of £32.2m in 2008/09 to £287.5m in 2011/12, with 62 per cent of those coming from outside of the UK.
ASOS is currently among the most popular sites selling to Russian shoppers from abroad. As EWDN’s recent report on Russian eCommerce revealed, from Amazon and eBay to myriad niche retailers in virtually every market, foreign retail players selling directly or indirectly to Russia report yearly growth of up to seven-fold.
Online cross-border trade may have been close to the level of two billion dollars in 2012, according to EWDN experts. Russian consumers appreciate foreign retailers’ diversified assortment and enjoy virtually tax-free purchases. But frequent slowdowns at customs checkpoints and the lack of efficiency of the Russian postal system have also created serious issues.
By launching local operations, ASOS could overcome these obstacles and assert itself as a major player on the local scene. The Russian online fashion market is estimated at approximately 13 per cent of the total Russian e-commerce market, or about $1 billion in 2011.
This article first appeared in EWDN, VentureVillage’s partner is Russia. Additional reporting Linsey Fryatt