People in small towns and villages are quickly getting the hang of the Internet. They account for more than 40 percent of all Internet users in Russia — a total of 27.5 million — according to TNS Russia.
The fastest-growing segment of Russian Internet users is residents of towns with populations of less than 100,000 people, showing a 12 percent increase in the last year.
Mark Zuckerberg is now on their heels, working on a plan to get developing areas logged onto Facebook.
Nevertheless, Internet penetration in towns remains far behind that in the big cities: around 48 percent, compared to 74 percent in Moscow.
The interests of Internet users in small towns also differ quite markedly from those of their big-city counterparts: While metropolitan residents tend to check news sites, online shops and mapping services more frequently, people in smaller towns are more inclined to spend their time on social networks (though not on Facebook).
In general, it seems a positive indicator that Russia’s countryside is getting online. Yet these numbers can only offer a general picture of the situation. The most they indicate at the moment is that, in this huge country, several million people living in provincial towns and settlements are now online.
In any case, statistics show that, as of the beginning of 2013, Internet penetration in 11 Russian regions is less than 30 percent, meaning the process of getting the Russian provinces online is just beginning. This, in turn, means a promising and growing untapped market that will need new products and services.
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