Will the sanctions prevent Apple products from reaching the Russian market?

Officially: Apple won’t leave Russians without an iPhone. Unofficially: the same smartphones, although “grey”, had been sold long before the sanctions.

On March 2, 2022, Apple, among others, officially announced the suspension of sales in Russia.

Since then, the official online Apple Store has been unavailable in the country, all device shipments have been stopped, and Apple Pay has been blocked. However, iPhones and MacBooks are still sold in Russia through other means.

But soon the trade will be legal and all products will be available, including the novelties presented on June 6th.

They will be imported into the country using parallel import programs, in particular via friendly and neighboring countries such as Kazakhstan.

New products

On June 6, Apple introduced the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with the M2 chip, which will have 25% more transistors and 50% more memory bandwidth than the previous Apple M1 chip. Apple, however, didn’t give an exact release date for the laptops. We only know that they will be released next month and production has been slowed down due to quarantine in China.

Also, the company introduced new software, iOS 16, for the iPhone. The lock screen has received most of the changes: it will become more personalized, allow you to customize the font and color of the time and date, there will be animated backgrounds, and notifications will be moved to the bottom of the screen. The new software was also announced for Apple Watch (watchOS 9), iPad (iPadOS 16) and Mac (macOS Ventura).

In addition, the Apple Pay Later service was mentioned: it will allow fans of Apple devices to pay for their purchases in four deferred payments within six weeks. For now, Apple says no fees will be charged.

While dozens of foreign companies have withdrawn their operations from Russia, Apple products are still available in the country, thanks to gray markets. (AP)

The price of a ‘gray[АХ1]’iPhone

Although the company pulled out of the Russian market, the iPhones, especially the SE 3 model, were introduced to Russia via markets like Kazakhstan and went on sale in the country a month ago. Also, since then people have been able to buy the iPad Air (5th Gen) with an M1 processor and Mac Studio computers as well. The fact is that these devices, at the request of Apple, passed all the necessary certifications in March 2022, including the formal notification of the FSB.

But another reason for these sales is probably money. For example, the cost of the smartphone in May was 40-60 thousand rubles, depending on the supplier. Although during the presentation of Apple in March it was announced that its minimum price was 429 dollars: at the exchange rate of that time it was about 30,000 rubles.

At the same time, the company did not indicate the recommended price of the iPhone SE in Russia, since shipments of their goods to the country had been stopped due to the sanctions.

Nevertheless, to date, prices at official Russian retailers have fallen almost to the same level as in February.

“The reason for the stabilization is not so much the exchange rate as the fact that demand fell several times after the peak in March. Russian consumers simply bought whatever they wanted for a long time,” explains the market expert Nikita Goryainov.

Economist Dmitry Prokofyev also reports: “Now, for example, a lot of computer equipment, which was intended for Kazakhstan, is sold in Russia. It is still not clear how all the countries from which the goods are imported to us will behave. The EU is likely to let a lot of things smuggled in. China also wants to take advantage of the Russians and sell their products since we are in this kind of situation.

TelecomDaily analyst Ilya Shatilin says that even before the restrictions, Apple products often arrived in Russia through unofficial channels. However, it used to be a way to buy a smartphone at a lower price, not the only way to buy it. As a result, sellers, taking advantage of the shortage and the inability to buy a smartphone through official channels, can earn a lot of money.

In addition, on June 7, the State Duma adopted a bill on the abolition of liability for the import of foreign goods without the consent of their rights holders. This means that the import of smartphones, consoles and cars listed in the register of goods available for parallel import will no longer be considered a violation of Russian law, says economist Prokofiev.

against all odds

It is noteworthy that on the same day, June 7, it became known that the company Inventive Retail Group, which owns Apple, Lego, Samsung and Nike stores, will remain in the Russian market, despite a significant reduction in the number of stores.

“Of course, we will significantly reduce the number of stores and the scale of operations, there is no escaping this in our specific situation,” said Inventive Retail Group chief Tikhon Smykov during of the “Russian Retail Week”. – But we will stay on the market and do everything so that Russian consumers live normally and have access to the products they need every day.” According to Smykov, the transition to a parallel import regime should not lead to a total deterioration of product quality.

All this should benefit not only foreign businessmen but also the Russian government.

“Contrary to all expectations, the authorities do not want the windows of the streets of the big cities to empty. The shortage of the usual range of products is the very first signal to people that something is wrong. that”, Prokofiev is sure.

About goods from parallel imports, he adds: “It’s better, say the authorities, to have expensive goods, with service problems, but to have them in stock anyway.”

Remarkably, in January, Apple’s share in the Russian smartphone market, according to the Svyaznoy store, was 16.8% in terms of volume and 44.6% in terms of money. In 2021, according to the retailer’s estimates, 4.4 million Apple smartphones worth 333.6 billion rubles were sold in the country. This is 20% more in terms of volume and 52% more in terms of money than the previous year.

Unhappy consumers

In this regard, it is worth mentioning the fact that at the beginning of March a lawsuit was filed against Apple: the organization “Public Consumer Initiative” demanded recognition of the faulty acts of the defendant, who had suspended import, sale and maintenance of products in Russia. , to force the company to arrest them, as well as seize the accounts and property of “Apple Rus”.

The head of the public body, Oleg Pavlov, then recalled that under Russian law, no company has the right to terminate its activities without fulfilling its guarantee obligations. We’re talking about repairs, replacements, refunds and compensation for losses caused by substandard goods.

Expert Nikita Goryainov says: “The official position of authorized service centers has not changed: they still perform warranty and out-of-warranty repairs of Apple-branded iPhones, iPads, Macs and accessories. However, he believes that the actual situation right now is tricky, “I’ve also heard reports that some centers are frankly unhappy with Apple’s behavior in the current situation.”

Goryainov explains that repairing Apple devices is now possible but difficult both in terms of time and in terms of obtaining positive results. Each situation is now considered individually and the general and predictable pattern of the usual service no longer works. Naturally, this turns consumers away from the technology, even if they are used to it.

Source: World TRT

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