MOSCOW: Mobile device uptake is driving increasing internet penetration in Russia, with some 54% of the population expected to go online regularly this year.

A study by TNS Russia has found that, by March 2013, 31.4% of the nation's population accessed the internet via a mobile device, which is a 10 percentage point rise on the year, eMarketer reported.

The US digital market researcher's own forecasts, meanwhile, suggest that mobile internet penetration is set to reach 32.8% of the population this year.

Some 60% of web users will access the internet by a mobile device in 2013, rising from under half last year.

By 2017, eMarketer believes that over nine out of 10 users will access the web by this method.

While the smartphone was the principal device used in the major cities in Russia, representing 49% of web access devices, traditional mobile or feature phones accounted for 35% of the total.

The tablet, however, remains a niche product, representing only 15% of the total number of mobile internet devices.

The TNS research found that men in cities are far more likely to access the internet via mobile devices, leading women by 14 percentage points.

The 12 to 24-year-old age group were most likely to go online in this manner, with 70% doing so, whereas in older age groups penetration did not exceed 50%.

Data sourced from eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff