Chinese smartphone makers have been filling the gaps in the Russian market left behind by tech giants Apple and Samsung, after they paused new sales in the country following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Chinese smartphones accounted for two-thirds of all new sales in Russia between April and June, the country’s top electronics retailer M.Video said on Wednesday, in the latest sign of how Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine is impacting the country’s consumer economy.
Apple and Samsung halted new sales in Russia following the February 24 invasion, while financial sanctions and airspace bans have hit supply chains, pushing Russian retailers and consumers to look to China to fill the gap.
“The total share of Chinese brands in the Russian market in terms of smartphone sales is steadily increasing, from 50% in the first quarter, to 60% in April to more than 70% in June,” M.Video-Eldorado said on Wednesday.
Overall, Chinese smartphones accounted for more than 65% of devices sold across the second quarter, up from 50% in the same period of 2021. Mobile operator MTS reported a jump in sales of Chinese phones in May.
M.Video said the average price of a smartphone sold during the three-month period was down 4% on last year as Russian consumers shift to lower-ticket goods amid an earnings squeeze and economic downturn.
Apple and Samsung stopped new product sales in Russia after Moscow sent its army into Ukraine in late February, but retailers have been able to use up existing stocks.
The Kremlin has also moved to allow Russian companies to ship in some products, including smartphones, without the licence holder’s permission in a so-called “parallel imports” scheme.
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara