NAFI and Google found out how digital platforms help develop creative entrepreneurship in Russia

10 November 2021

Thanks to the current level of digitalization, creative companies are growing 3-5 times faster than the entire economy as a whole. Those who used digital platforms were less affected by the effects of the pandemic. 82% of creative entrepreneurs in Russia are convinced of the effectiveness of digital platforms for developing their business, and 44% plan to use online platforms more for selling goods and services, advertising, PR, marketing, online learning. Foreign platforms are becoming an important export channel for creative industries: 79% of creative exporting companies use them in their work.

The majority of creative entrepreneurs (82%) consider digital platforms - primarily Instagram, VKontakte, YouTube - effective tools for developing and increasing business profitability. These are the results of an all-Russian study* on the contribution of digital platforms to the development of creative industries and support for creative entrepreneurship in Russia, conducted by the NAFI Analytical Center with the support of Google, as well as the Federation of Intellectual Property, the Federation of Creative Industries and the Committee on Intellectual Property and Creative Industries of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs . Digital platforms account for over a quarter (27%) of creative industries revenue. Among the priority plans for the near future, 74% of creative entrepreneurs named the promotion of products, brands on the Internet, and 44% plan to use online platforms more (the main goals are: selling goods and services, advertising, PR, marketing, online education, etc.).

According to the study, creative entrepreneurs are more likely to work in the fields of advertising and technology. The TOP-5 popular areas for such entrepreneurs include: advertising and promotion, IT and video games, architecture and education.

The United Nations has declared 2021 the International Year of the Creative Economy. Digital platforms - social networks, video hosting, websites, applications - have become the engine of the creative economy and have rapidly developed into a pandemic.

Those creative entrepreneurs who used digital platforms suffered less from the consequences of the pandemic: 50% were able to turn the crisis in their favor.

At the start of the pandemic, most representatives of the creative business (76%) did not have time to adjust to the new working conditions under the restrictions and faced a number of problems - first of all, with a drop in demand (49%) and income (42%). Nevertheless, many were able to find new points of growth during the crisis. 18% of creative entrepreneurs launched new products/services on the market and started working in new directions, 12% improved their companies' presence in social networks and the Internet in general, and 21% noted an increase in online skills of their employees.

Creative entrepreneurs appreciate the importance of international digital platforms in the successful start and development of export activities. First of all, they would like to use Google, AliExpress, Yandex, Facebook and Amazon for these purposes.

The sale of goods and services through foreign digital platforms provides about half of the total revenue in the export category. Most Russian creative entrepreneurs who work for export sell their goods and services online. Most often they use their own websites (31%), Instagram (25%), VKontakte (21%), Yandex services (21%), Facebook (13%) and YouTube (10%).

23% of those who export or are interested in exporting are sure that in order to increase current volumes or enter new markets, it is necessary to use large foreign digital platforms (Amazon, AliExpress, Google Play, etc.). Another 20% believe that learning about exports through digital platforms will help start and expand export activities.

Two-thirds of creative entrepreneurs (64%) are not yet involved in export activities, but are interested in entering international markets. Every fifth (22%) plans to start exporting their goods or services in the next 1-2 years. Entrepreneurs interested in exporting expect a 1.5-fold increase in revenue in the first year of deliveries abroad. The products and services of Russian creative entrepreneurs are in demand abroad, primarily in the markets of the CIS countries and Europe.

Digital platforms are no longer just a means of communication and entertainment. According to Russians, creative digital platforms allow them to trade, get an education, look for a job and earn money.

Thus, every third Internet user in Russia (36%) received additional education in an online format over the past year (6% studied through YouTube). Most often, users improved their skills for work or study, mastered a new profession, learned creativity. 15% of respondents maintain personal or business blogs, including to promote their business. Most of all, Russians are attracted to such creative areas as cinema, television, video, audio and photo content (56%), as well as books, newspapers, magazines (47%) and video games (34%).

Guzelia Imaeva, General Director of the NAFI Analytical Center:

“The study of digital platforms as a driver for the development of creative industries, which we conducted together with Google, is unique. We interviewed three target audiences - creative business, the public and the expert community.

Internet users are increasingly turning to digital platforms to meet their vital and social needs. Most get information about their hobbies online and are willing to spend time and money on their hobbies.

Digital platforms open up great opportunities for creative industries. At the same time, up to a third of creative entrepreneurs still do not use digital channels. This potential can and should be unlocked. For example, by increasing the level of digital competencies of entrepreneurs, teaching them how to manage creative projects and protect their intellectual property. Further popularization of the concept of creative entrepreneurship and related opportunities is needed”.

Marina Zhunich, Director of Government Relations, Google Russia:

“Joint research with the NAFI Analytical Center has become part of our work to study and popularize the role of digital platforms in the development of creative entrepreneurship and creative industries in Russia. The data that we have received confirms the importance and great potential of using digital technologies in the creation and promotion of a creative product by creative industries, including foreign markets. Almost half of creative entrepreneurs (46%) noted that thanks to exporting only through digital platforms, the share of their revenue over the past year amounted to up to 49%, another 15% indicated revenue from 50% to 100%. This trend is also confirmed by our own data - more than 60% of the time spent watching Russian content falls on foreign audiences. We at Google will continue to work hard to enable creative people to share their ideas and projects, market their products and services, make money from them, and export them around the world”.

* The all-Russian study was conducted by the NAFI Analytical Center in the spring of 2021. The study included several stages: an online survey of 3,000 Internet users aged 14-65, 12 sessions of online focus groups with active Internet users, a telephone survey of 1,008 entrepreneurs in the field creative industries, 13 in-depth interviews with experts.
Type of publication: Poll results

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