Impact of the War in Ukraine on Digital Users

The ongoing war in Ukraine has had a profound impact on the country and its people. Beyond the direct physical

The ongoing war in Ukraine has had a profound impact on the country and its people. Beyond the direct physical and economic consequences, the war has also affected Ukraine’s digital landscape and its users. From social media to e-commerce, digital technologies have become increasingly important for Ukrainians seeking to stay informed, connect with others, and carry out daily activities. However, the war has also created new challenges and opportunities for digital users, as they adapt to changing circumstances and navigate a complex and rapidly evolving digital environment. In this article, we will explore how the war in Ukraine has influenced digital users, examining both the challenges and opportunities that have arisen. Oleksii Liakh, co-owner of MarTech agency newage. will describe how the war has affected the digital world and what changes we can expect to see in the habits and behaviors of digital users.

About the Research: Authors, Data Sources and Main Points

As a leading advertising agency in Ukraine, we have been closely monitoring digital behavior in the country since 2017. As an advertising agency, newage. works with advanced ad tools, using the unique methodology of “Comprehensive Ads Analysis”. Our experience in conducting digital behavior meta-analysis has given us valuable insights into how users interact with digital technologies and how these interactions have been affected by various social and political factors, including the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Our focus is big clients who have their own in-house team of great experts. who uses display ads, and we can help them stay faster and use more data that helps to optimize their campaigns. And at the end of my presentation, I will share how our business changed. 

We use a lot of sources, and no one of them couldn’t give clear numbers that can answer the question that all of us want to know about the Ukrainian audience in 2022. So all numbers that I will share were built on our expertise, and our team estimated this data.

We conduct this research every year, exclusively for our clients, to answer questions about their audience and how to reach them. When we conducted the research this year, we first wanted to gain insight into the Ukrainian audience in general. We aimed to determine the size of the audience and its current state. We conducted the first version of this research at the beginning of summer 2022, and we have since updated it more than four times. Every month, the figures change significantly.


2014, Before The War

When a lot of people in the world talk about this war most of them think that it started in 2022, but not. The war had started in 2014, when russia occupied Crimea and started “hidden” invasion to the East of Ukraine. All my relatives were from Donetsk. And I know what I’m talking about.

Before 2014, our population was approximately 45 million, and at that time we were far behind EU countries in terms of internet penetration. Only around 53% of the population used the internet, which equated to roughly 17 million internet users who accessed the internet at least once a month.

2022, Before the Full-Scaled russian Invasion

After the russian occupation of approximately 10% of our territory, around 2-3 million people remained in this area and were lost to us. So, before the new loop in 2022, our population was around 41 million.

All of these numbers are optimistic because the last population census in Ukraine was conducted in 2001. We always hope that we are still at 48 million and round up to bigger numbers.

The penetration of internet users has grown to the level of European countries. Almost all people from age 14 to 70 use the internet, so before the full-scale invasion, we had almost 25 million internet users in the age range of 14-70. Therefore, we had more than 30 million users online, including children who were not counted in the panel.

When we started this research, it was really hard to understand how to work with all this data because all our metrics had changed significantly. So, we decided to divide the main changes into three main parts: migration, internally displaced persons, and occupation.

How changed the trackable internet audience during 2022


We are happy to update this slide often since summer, as our forces are driving away russian troops. We believe that we will win the war and drive russians from our territory. The main question is how much it will cost us and when.

The maximum territory that was occupied was about 30% in the first weeks. By summer, it was already about 25-26%. Currently, we have less than 18% of the territory is occupied, and about 4 million people continue to stay in the occupied areas, with around 2.5 million displaced since 2014.

Internal displaced

The next slide is about people who were displaced, and many of them continue to be. Some do not have a safe home to return to, while others have decided to live in safer places during this time.

These numbers are also constantly changing. In the spring, we had more than 8 million internally displaced people, but currently, it is about 6 million.

But here we have official and not official numbers. As you can understand, in a country in which war is going, military enlistment offices are looking for actual contacts and where men live.

So not all men officially registered in the new places where they moved. So real numbers are higher in 15–30%. From all areas to each were invasion russians troops (from North, East, and South), people moved to the center or to the west part. And in one month, traffic constantly changed.

And as you understand, this data is always changing. The first month when nobody could understand what was happening and how far russians could go. In summer, people moved to other places where they were more comfortable. Before September, a lot of people came back to their houses, for example, Kyiv, Dnipro, Kharkiv. And after a huge missile strike on critical infrastructure and the first blackouts, some once again moved to the western part.

There are a lot of cases where people always moved. Many Ukrainians stayed nomads in 2022.


And people who left Ukraine. As you can see, it’s the biggest number. And this is a critical situation. Not even for now, but for the future of all Ukraine. I will highlight that almost 3 million people were deported to russia, and unfortunately, this wasn’t always their choice.

Overall, more than 13 million left Ukraine from 24th February, but from August, a lot of people started coming back to their homes. And here you can see how it influences numbers. Unfortunately, I don’t have numbers of what it looks like after October, after strikes on infrastructure. But as far as I know, it did not affect them dramatically.

Let’s take a look at the survey by the UNHCR. They asked about the near future intentions of refugees. And as we can see, more than 70% of refugees are planning to stay in their host country or move to another host country. The main point here is the question of what they will do in the long future. I really hope that we will have opposite answers.

Sum Up

What we have at the end of the year. I will notice that this in not clear and final numbers, these estimated numbers of our specialists:

In summary, our estimates suggest that the war has resulted in a temporary loss of approximately 8 million people from Ukraine who left the country for safety. Also 4 million who were displaced at the beginning of the conflict, since 2014.

The number of internet users in the country has also remained stagnant since the beginning of the war, indicating a lack of population growth. 

Even if the war was to end soon, it will be a challenging task to bring back all those who left the country. The government will have to take significant steps to address this issue.  As we all understand, of the 8 mln people who left Ukraine, all of them are the most interesting for the business audience.

How the Demography Changed in Ukraine

We can see that a significant number of women, along with their children, have left the country. The age range of these women is between 18-45.

It’s worth noting that there were restrictions imposed on men between the ages of 18-60, preventing them from leaving the country. Therefore, we can see that the numbers reflect the migration of male children. Meanwhile, most women within the specified age range have either left the country or are still residing within Ukraine.

Digital Consumption During The War

The ongoing war in Ukraine has not only affected the country’s economy and security but also significantly impacted people’s daily lives, including their digital consumption habits. With the increased use of technology in every aspect of our lives, it’s no surprise that the war has brought about significant changes in digital consumption patterns in Ukraine.

Previously, our users used desktop screens, such as laptops and PCs, much more than in other countries. However, the war has brought changes, and we have lost this trend. To be honest, I am not sure if it will ever come back. In general, this slide illustrates how the behavior of internet users changes in such situations.

Now, I would like to share with you the range of the most popular sites in Ukraine in March compared to January of the same year. As you can see, there are some familiar sites listed.

However, I want to highlight the sites that have changed since January. We see that news sites have increased their audience. This is not surprising, as, during times of crisis, people want to stay informed. Telegram has become the primary source of information for most of our people, as well as for me. The use of Telegram groups has increased significantly during this time.

The Impact of War on Ecommerce

The impact of war on ecommerce in Ukraine has been significant, resulting in a substantial loss of clients and traffic. In March, all ecommerce projects experienced a sharp decline, and many businesses were unsure if they could recover. However, despite the challenges, all businesses managed to survive and slowly regained their customers, with some even growing in certain categories. Although the numbers for 2022 are down by 50% compared to the previous year, businesses remain optimistic and continue to support Ukraine’s forces.

Here we can see what’s happening with the ecommerce in Ukraine. We were sure that we lost it in March. And I spoke with my friends in March who are in the chair of this business. And all of them were sure that they would have lost all their very and very big business. And I totally understood them. March was really tricky.

The following slide highlights the changes in ecommerce categories during the war. Not surprisingly, the top categories include children’s products, electronics, household goods, and animal food. The latter is not surprising, given how many Ukrainians have saved their pets during the war.

Overall, the impact of the war on ecommerce has been significant. While businesses have managed to recover, it was a difficult period, and they hope not to experience such a significant loss again.

Labour Market

Next we will examine the current state of the labor market in Ukraine. It is evident that the job market is once again favoring employers. According to the chart, there has been a drastic five-fold decrease in new job openings in the marketing sector since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

On the other hand, the candidate market has witnessed a significant increase in all categories and niches. This shift indicates a higher demand for skilled professionals in various fields. The job market’s current state presents both opportunities and challenges for both employers and job seekers alike.

Advertising Market

IAB Ukraine had made survey that ask big advertisers: “How would you rate the level of advertising activity of your company compared to January 2022?”

And as you can see on the chart in the first months, almost all advertisers stopped their activity, about 40% didn’t stop but decreased activity to a minimum. 

Even in May we had only 15% of advertisers who returned only 50-75% of their budgets, in most cases it was pharmacy. 

And only in autumn, half of the advertisers returned from half to 100% of their budgets. On one hand, this is small volumes, on other hand, in most cases, it`s local business that is ready to risk. I am personally proud of all of them!

newage. agency experience

And as I promise, I will finish a short story about how our agency survived. In march we earned 240 euros for the entire agency for 25 employees. It’s give us a lot of troughs to think. The main point here is that businesses in Ukraine shifted down. But I am proud of my colleagues who didn’t give up. For estimation it is most Ukrainian businesses.

So we worked hard to reach external markets, and now we work with partners abroad and bring money to Ukrainian economics.

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