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Results of the second wave of consumers study - Book market research in Ukraine

Results of the second wave of consumers study:

16 January, 2007

Key findings: Book shoppers in Ukraine

Demographic characteristics of book buyers did not change (here and after in comparison with the first wave):

  • Women keep on buying books more often than men: 47% of women bought at least 1 book, while a share of book buyers among men reached 33% only.
  • The share of book buyers among comparatively younger population aged 15-39 years old amounted to 44%, while among people aged 40-59 years old this indicator is 36%.
  • Accordingly, schoolchildren and students (46%) are the most frequent book shoppers. Working respondents buy books somewhat less often (43%). The smallest share of book buyers is observed among unemployed respondents - only 30%.
  • Respondents having children under 15 years old in the household also tend to buy books somewhat more often (47%) than those from childless households (35%).
  • Settlement size: the smallest share of book buyers is reported in the rural area (39%), while the average share of book buyers among urbanites reaches 41%. The differences in book shopping levels among cities of different sizes are not statistically significant.

Reasons for not buying books:

  • The most often stated reason remains no need books/no interest in books - this reasons was mentioned by 46% of respondents (in comparison with 50% in the first wave) who have not bought books over the past 3 months. Interestingly, this share differs among the different age groups but not substantially. This reason was mentioned by 39% in the youngest category (15-19 years old) and 50% in the oldest age category (40-49 years old).
  • Lack of money is the second most frequently mentioned reason - overall, 18% (in the first wave - 19%) of respondents stated not being able to afford books, another 12% (in the first wave - 11%) said that the book they wanted to buy was too expensive.

What books do Ukrainians buy

Key findings: Books bought by Ukrainians

  • As for the books bought by Ukrainians, the majority of shares variations among the first and the second waves of the research are not statistically significant. The overwhelming majority of respondents bought books for personal use only/for their family - 77% (in the first wave - 76%). Only 6% (in the first wave - 5%) bought books solely as a gift.
  • Types of books:
  • Ukrainians bought fiction most often - almost 40% (in the first wave - 39%) of book shoppers noted that the most recent book they bought belonged to this category. The share of fiction buyers is noticeably higher among comparatively older people - 53% for people at the age of 50-59 years old comparatively to 32% of book shoppers among the respondents at the age of 30-49 years old.
  • 24% (compared to 22% in the first wave) of respondents bought academic and science books, another 5% (6% in the first wave) bought dictionaries and encyclopaedias. The most active shoppers in this category of books are young people aged 15-19 years old - 29% of respondents in this age group bought science books. It is worth mentioning that the share of young people who buys academic books has significantly reduced in comparison with the first wave where it amounted to 46%.
  • The share of respondents buying childrens book remains the same - 18% (in the first wave - 19%).
  • Books belonging to non-fiction (like popular science book, biographies, historic literature, cooking books, etc.) were bought by 13% of respondents (in the first wave - 14%).
  • 61% (in the first wave - 60%) of books bought by Ukrainians over the past 3 months were in Russian. The share of Ukrainian-language books amounted to 38%, another 1 % of books was published in another foreign language.
  • The share of Ukrainians who bought books in Russian during the period has essentially increased compared to the previous wave, from 49% to 62%. The share of only Ukrainian-language book buyers has essentially increased as well, from 26% to 37%. Accordingly, the share of those who bought books both in Ukrainian and Russian has significantly decreased from 26% to 2%.
  • Books bought in Ukrainian are for most part academic/science books (52% of respondents who recently bought book from this category stated it was in Ukrainian) and childrens books (51% of respondents, correspondingly). The share of poetry in Ukrainian/fiction books buyers has reduced from 35% to 30%

Key findings: Books shopping places

  • In the second wave of the research there were changes made in the alternatives of questions regarding the shopping places for books. Alternatives such as bookstore, book supermarket and ordinary supermarket were replaced by one - bookstore or supermarket. Also, there was another alternative offered - book market, which became second most popular shopping place for books in the second wave, thus gaining some part of answers from alternatives bookstore and street book stalls.
  • The most popular shopping places for books remain bookstores and supermarkets, where during the past 3 months 51% of respondents bought books. However, this indicator is lower in comparison with the previous wave of the research, where it reached almost 72%. It is mainly due to the changes in the formulation of answers alternatives. In bookstores and supermarkets they for the most part buy fiction, as well as science/academic books.
  • The second most popular place comes to be book market, where 31% of respondents bought books, and the third - street book stalls and other public places (metro, railway stations, etc.), where 22% of respondents bought books. The most often bought types of books on street stalls include fictions, while childrens books - less often.
  • There was a statistically insignificant drop, from 12% to 9%, in the share of respondents who bought books through book clubs, where they largely bought fiction or other types of books, not belonging to fiction.
  • 3% of respondents stated that they bought books from a travel salesman, and another 2% of buyers ordered books directly from producers.
  • No significant differences in terms of the most often used books shopping places were observed by regions and settlement size.

Research was initiated and supported by the International Renaissance Foundation, the Fund for Central and East European Book Project (Amsterdam) and the MATRA program of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The research is conducted by GfK Ukraine (http://www.gfk.com/ ).

Tasks of the comprehensive research of the Ukrainian book market:

  • To find out what share of Ukrainian population buys books, and what motives are behind these purchases;
  • To investigate books distribution channels;
  • To analyse differences among buyers by distribution channels and socio-demographic characteristics;
  • To study seasonal fluctuations on the book market;
  • To gather and analyse information about publishers, retailers and wholesalers, operating on the market of Ukraine.

Tetiana Illiashenko. Book market research in Ukraine (ppt, 1.9MB)


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The president of the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association, the head chairman of the expert committee of Ukrainian National Council of culture and spirituality at the Presidents Office

Oleksandr Afonin

Highly respected Viktor Andriyovich! Ukrainian Association of book publishers and distributors addresses you with a question that needs your immediate personal intervention, because, as the experience shows, this problem can totally overcome your Decree About some measures for development of book publishing business in Ukraine (March 21, 2006) and lead to a serious crisis in one of the branches of publishing business book trade, which is in very critical condition already.

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