FOCUS: Chinese brands push Jan–Aug smartphone sales in Russia by quarter
By Yekaterina Yezhova
MOSCOW, Sep 18 (PRIME) -- Smartphone sales in Russia soared more than a quarter to almost 19 million devices in January–August driven mainly by Chinese brands, while Apple, which still topped the market in money, may agitate demand with its new iPhone 15 in the rest of the year.
“According to M.Video-Eldorado’s estimation, about 18.5 million smartphones were sold on the Russian market in January–August, which is by a quarter more than in the same period of 2022. In money terms, sales exceeded 400 billion rubles, which is by 10% more than a year earlier,” Andrei Petrov, head of the electronics retailer’s media relations department, told PRIME.
Mobile operator MTS, which runs a widely-branched store chain, calculated that smartphone sales leaped 26% to 18.6 million devices and 12% to 396.4 billion rubles.
The average check decreased less than 15% to 21,500 rubles, Petrov added. MTS had close figures with the average price falling 11% to 21,200 rubles.
The share of devices with the price below 15,000 rubles accounted for 60% of the total in units and 25% in money terms. “Meanwhile, the smartphones with a price tag of more than 50,000 rubles demonstrate stable positions, and the flagship models accounted for about 10% of the total in units and some 40% in money terms,” Petrov said.
Xiaomi maintained its leading positions by sales in units in January–August and was followed by realme, which climbed from the third place a year earlier. Tecno came next after the fifth rank a year earlier as Samsung descended to the fourth place from the second line. Apple was on the fifth place from number four a year earlier, according to M.Video-Eldorado.
“In units, 75% of sales were presented by manufacturers from China that keep on expanding their presence, offering new devices, rivalling each other, and boosting brand awareness among Russian customers,” Petrov said.
Relatively new Chinese players, like, Infinix, compete fiercely with famous brands. Throughout 2023, Infinix was on the fifth position in the rating of the popular brands with 6% in units, yet its share started advancing since the beginning of June and rose to 13% in July, joining the top three brands. Infinix kept its position in August, MTS said.
“The growth of sales of this manufacturer is explained by high marketing activities that took place this summer ahead of the school season…Infinix also keeps on expanding its line of smartphones in the low and medium-price segments, which are very popular among customers,” Andrei Gubanov, general director of MTS’ retail chain, said in a statement.
In money terms, Apple stayed the leader in January–August, according to M.Video-Eldorado. The U.S. company unveiled its new devices, including the iPhone 15 line, on September 12.
“Till the end of the year, sales will be driven by the new iPhone and the interest to the previous series that are expected to become cheaper, but everything will depend on the currency exchange rates and demand during the pre-New Year period since Apple gadgets are traditionally one of the most popular purchases at the end of the year for oneself and the kin as an impressive present,” Petrov told PRIME.
M.Video-Eldorado expects the prices of the iPhone 15 in U.S. dollars to exceed those of the iPhone 14. “In the new realities, in addition to the basic price of the manufacturer, the price on the Russian market depends on the currency exchange rate, logistics costs, availability of the goods and offers of partners, as well as other external factors,” Petrov said.
“We adapted processes of purchasing and logistics thanks to which we continue to develop the iPhone assortment in compliance with the Russian law,” he said, adding that the iPhone 14 has been the most popular Apple series in the M.Video-Eldorado chain in 2023 with most of the sales represented by the Pro models.
M.Video-Eldorado offers the new devices under pre-ordering for the price starting at 129,999 rubles for the iPhone 15 and at 194,999 rubles for the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
MTS opened pre-ordering for the new iPhone 15 and Apple Watch SE, Series 9, and Ultra 2 on September 13. The price range varies from 124,990 rubles for the iPhone 15 with 128 GB to 249,990 rubles for the iPhone 15 Pro Max with 1 TB.
The price of Apple Watch starts at 34,990 rubles for the SE series and goes to 109,990 rubles for the Ultra 2 49 mm model, according to MTS.
“We were the first to open pre-ordering for the iPhone 15 in late August and saw high interest of Russians to the new models already at this stage – the number of pre-orders was almost 50% above our expectations,” MTS retail chain’s chief Gubanov said in a statement.
(96.6338 rubles – U.S. $1)