Russian Mobile Market Cautiously Up

IDC said that there was some life in the Russian mobile phone market in Q2 as the market slowly recovers. Imports were nearly seven million units, up from less than five million a year ago. Since the fall of the Ruble in 2014, distributors have been very cautious, with cheaper phones being imported.

“This proportion has doubled year on year,” said Simon Baker, senior program manager for mobile phones with IDC CEMA. He added that the new wave of 4G phones are much more affordable. “The market average price paid for an LTE phone in Russia is now $189 – not much more than 12,000 rubles. Two years ago, the average price was $500. In fact, third-placed 4G Android brand Micromax, which is a big player in India, has pushed its average LTE retail price down below 5,000 rubles. Unsurprisingly, its sales are well up.”

Samsung, however, continued as the Android 4G market leader, while second-place Lenovo saw its share slip slightly.

Although shipment volumes have recovered, the overall value of the handset market is not regaining past levels, owing to lower sales prices. In dollar terms, the market in Q2 was worth $1.1 billion (at retail prices minus VAT) – in 2014, the equivalent figure for the same quarter was $1.4 billion.

Although distributors are expecting import volumes to continue at current high levels, IDC does not see the market value coming back up to former levels. This follows on the belief that Russia will remain a very competitive and price-conscious market, at least for the medium term.