Russia’s declining smartphone market may slip further in 2022 amid Ukraine invasion

What you need to know

  • Russia’s smartphone market declined 7% year over year in 2021, according to Counterpoint Research.
  • Samsung dominated the market with a 30% share, followed by Xiaomi, Apple, and other Chinese brands.
  • However, the country’s handset market may slip further this year following the Ukraine invasion.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine does not bode well for its smartphone market, which has already slipped 7% year over year in 2021. A new report from Counterpoint Research says the country’s handset market could take another hit this year.

The market research firm pins the decline on consumers’ “longer upgrade cycles” and their shift “from mid-tier to high-tier devices.” That said, Samsung maintained its lead with a 30% share, up from 25% in 2020.

Counterpoint notes that Samsung’s Galaxy A series phones accounted for more than half of its shipments for 2021.

Comparison bar for Russia's smartphone market from 2020 to 2021

Counterpoint Research Russia handset tracker (Image credit: Counterpoint Research)

The Galaxy A12, which is currently one of the best Android phones under $200, was a huge success and remained the company’s most popular model in 2021.

Xiaomi came in second with a 23% market share, representing a 29% YoY growth. This is due in large part to the Redmi series, which accounted for more than three-fourths of its shipments in 2021.

Apple gained the third spot with a 13% share. Honor and Realme trailed behind at 6% and 5%, respectively.

“Chinese brands contributed 44% of the total market in 2021 compared to 46% in 2020,” said research director Tarun Pathak. “The decline can be attributed to Huawei’s loss, but Chinese brands are gaining again, especially Xiaomi, Honor, and Realme.”

However, Russia’s handset market could shrink further amid the escalating military conflict in Ukraine. Pathak noted that “the current war has changed the entire landscape and pushed the handset market into uncertainty.”

“The fall in ruble will lead to a steep price rise in the short term due to limited inventory and suspended deliveries. Also, as sanctions gather pace, it will be hard for OEMs to make a conclusive device strategy,” he added.

Apple has recently suspended its sales operations in Russia, and other smartphone brands may follow suit, Counterpoint says.

Despite the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Chinese OEMs could capture more market share in Russia this year, according to the firm.

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