Russian Mobile Phone Market Shakes Off Some Rouble Devaluation Blues in Q1, Says IDC
15 Jun 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Moscow — Shipments of mobile phones into Russia, at 8.4 million, were nearly 17.5% higher in the three months to end March against those in the same quarter the previous year, while the average sales price (ASP) of $208 was a full $40 above that recorded in the last quarter of 2016.
“Since the rouble devaluation in late 2014, the Russian Android smartphone market has been characterized by lower average prices than elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe as shoppers continued to look for phones in the same price category in roubles as they would have bought before the crisis,” says Natalia Vinogradova, senior analyst at IDC Russia. “This is now less the case.”
Another sign that the market is moving on after the currency shock is that the proportion of phones which can operate on the fourth-generation Long-Term Evolution (LTE) standard is rising again after three quarters of standing still. “These now account for more than two thirds of smartphones sold in Russia and are well on their way to becoming the ‘new normal’,” notes Simon Baker, program director for mobile device research in IDC CEMA.
The first quarter saw some substantial changes in vendor position in the Russian mobile phone market. Huawei rose fast, particularly through its budget-oriented Honor brand, which in Russia is close to rivalling the Huawei brand itself. Among the other Chinese global brands, ZTE Blade smartphones continued to do well in the entry-level segment, but Lenovo dropped away, with share of less than one percent in the first quarter, compared with 18% at its peak (in Q3 2015). The Russian-focused brand Fly continued a decline which has been continuing for four quarters, falling behind Xiaomi, which is another brand that is currently performing well.
Apple continues to dominate the upper end of the market, with only Samsung’s more expensive models offering any challenge. The Samsung Galaxy 7 and Galaxy 7 Edge have done well in Russia, as did the Galaxy 6 and Galaxy 6 Edge, but those sales are beginning to fall away now. Some Sony Xperia models such as the Z5 also feature in the premium category, as does Huawei’s P10, but Apple reigns supreme in this space. The iPhone 7 is now the top Apple seller, overtaking the 6S models, while imports of cheaper SE models have dropped off.
“There was some movement to more expensive phones in the second quarter of 2016, when the rouble appreciated sharply,” says Baker. “That proved to be a false dawn for the currency. The price of oil remains volatile and could easily fall again, and with it the rouble; the glory days of a high exchange rate will not return soon, and Russia’s mobile phone market will remain keenly competitive in terms of pricing, especially compared with Western Europe.”
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