Russian e-commerce venture SberMarket's transaction volumes boom in first quarter

MOSCOW, April 21 (Reuters) - The e-commerce arm of Russia’s largest lender Sberbank had a surge in transaction volumes in the first quarter of 2021, the company said on Wednesday, benefiting from the bank’s diversification into new businesses, which include ride-hailing and cloud computing.

Sberbank became the majority shareholder in SberMarket in January after buying a stake from its joint venture with internet company Mail.Ru.

Sberbank told Reuters earlier this month it plans to expand its logistic business across Russia and tap into what it calls the broader ecosystems of its financial services customers as banking margins shrink.

Russia’s e-commerce market boomed last year as consumers switched to online shopping during coronavirus lockdowns, prompting a rush by companies to try and grab a share of this business.

Online retailer AliExpress Russia earlier this month said an initial public offering was a possible step. Market leaders Wildberries and Ozon reported 96% and 144% growth respectively in gross merchandise volumes last year.

Meanwhile, Yandex.Lavka, the e-grocery arm of internet group Yandex last week announced plans to launch its service in Paris and London later this year.

SberMarket said its gross merchandise volume - an e-commerce metric for transaction volumes - hit 9.98 billion roubles ($129.6 million) in the first three months of the year, 6-1/2 times higher than the same period in 2020.

The number of orders increased almost 10-fold to just shy of 3.5 million and the company expanded its geographical presence to 150 cities across Russia.

$1 = 77.0025 roubles Reporting by Olga Popova; Writing by Alexander Marrow. Editing by Jane Merriman