Russia handset market shrinks 7% in 2021; likely to decline further amid ongoing war

Russia’s handset shipments fell 7 percent YoY in 2021 but grew 10 percent QoQ in Q4 2021, according to Counterpoint Research’s Market Monitor.

Samsung continued to lead the market with a 30 percent share, followed by Xiaomi and Apple at 23 percent and 13 percent respectively.

The shrinking market could be attributed to longer upgrade cycles and consumers shifting from mid-tier to high-tier devices. The wholesale ASP (average selling price) rose 47 percent in 2021, said the report.

Samsung maintained its lead and registered 14 percent YoY growth in 2021. The A series contributed more than half of its shipments for 2021. The Galaxy A12 remained its most popular model for the year. The brand was very active in promotions on all channels. It ranked second in terms of revenue, capturing 34 percent of the market revenue for 2021.

Xiaomi grew 29 percent YoY in 2021. The Redmi series contributed to over three-fourths of its shipments in 2021, while the Redmi 9A remained the most popular model in the overall market. It even overtook Samsung for the first spot in Q2 2021 due to production issues with Samsung. Xiaomi took the third spot in terms of revenue with 16 percent of the total market.

Apple led the market in 5G phones. It grew 27 percent YoY due to high volumes of the iPhone 12 series and a good start to the iPhone 13 series, which captured 28 percent of Apple’s shipments in 2021 with its launch in September 2021. Apple led the market in terms of revenue with 36 percent of the total revenue for 2021.

HONOR declined 63 percent YoY in 2021 due to US sanctions. The brand maintained its presence in the country and later launched smartphones with GMS support after separating from Huawei. HONOR already has mindshare in the market and grew 36 percent QoQ in Q4 2021 following its new launches. It captured 3 percent of the total market revenue.

realme grew 149 percent in 2021 and entered the top five. It has been very aggressive with promotions and has been forging partnerships with MNOs. It has also been launching new devices frequently in the Russian market. realme managed to capture 3 percent of the total market revenue.

Commenting on Chinese brands’ market share, Research Director Tarun Pathak said, “Chinese brands contributed 44 percent of the total market in 2021 compared to 46 percent in 2020. The decline can be attributed to Huawei’s loss, but Chinese brands are gaining again, especially Xiaomi, HONOR and realme. Xiaomi has been steadily increasing its share in the market along with Samsung and Apple. However, 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.”

Commenting on 5G handset shipments, Research Analyst Harshit Rastogi said, “5G is in its nascent stage in the country and has been witnessing a slow adoption. Despite this, 5G handsets made up 25 percent of the total shipments in 2021 due to consumers shifting towards higher-priced phones and increasing 5G penetration in the lower end. Government policies have been a hindrance for 5G adoption with telcos not getting the preferred 5G band, and demand for local hardware and software.”


Amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, we expect the Russian market to shrink further. Apple has already put its sales in the country on hold and other brands are expected to follow suit. With sanctions gathering pace, OEMs will have to change strategies. The Chinese OEMs are expected to capture more market share in Russia in 2022.