Buyer's guide. Who is who in the smartphone market in Russia. 2023 version


The Russian market does not experience problems with the supply of smartphones due to parallel imports,

but at the same time, companies have grown thatwere not known to the general public. Brands are taking off before our eyes, most of which could not count on such love from buyers until the attempt to declare a trade blockade of Russia in the spring of 2022. First of all, these are Chinese companies, often several brands are united within one holding, but buyers do not even know about it. In this material, we will try to take a look at the entire market, list all manufacturers, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. You can consider this a short and unequivocally subjective guide to what brands to look for, what to look for and how not to miscalculate when choosing a device. Go.

The world's largest players are Samsung and Apple

In March 2022, Apple leftRussian market, deliveries stopped, relations with all partners were severed. Retail deliveries go exclusively through parallel imports, or products are brought in suitcases, but the gray market was strongly crushed in February 2023, its volume fell sharply.

With parallel import, the cost of goodsis higher than with direct deliveries. There is no manufacturer support, the retail chain must bear the cost of service. All this leads to the fact that iPhone prices in Russia are among the highest in the world. For example, the cost of the iPhone 14 Pro 128 GB in Europe is 1,300 euros, in Russia - from 95 thousand rubles (gray market, since demand is very small), up to 115 thousand in regular retail. If we take the euro head-on, then the price in Russia should be 105 thousand rubles. But it is unattainable for official deliveries.

Unfortunately, service new equipment from Apple inauthorized SC is impossible, the only way to solve problems is a guarantee from the seller. It is de facto not on the gray market, you are left alone with your problems. For devices purchased at large retail, companies have provided for the exchange of goods or their repair outside the country. And this affects the cost.


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In February 2022, the iPhone market share by piecein Russia was 17%, today it is about 5.5% (taking into account both the gray market and parallel imports). The reason for abandoning Apple is obvious - the closure of Apple Pay, the inability to pay for services and applications directly (you can replenish your account with MTS or Beeline, but not everyone uses this opportunity). But the most important thing is the lack of service and that touch of a premium product that Apple has always had. Plus, the lack of loans for the purchase affects, about 70% of sales accounted for them. The crisis is not the best time for expensive devices, this is not the time for the iPhone. There remains a loyal audience and those who gradually survive with their iPhones in order to switch to Android devices. The latter in terms of price / quality ratio is much more interesting. Gradually, the audience of iPhone owners will be reduced, this is a luxury product with a very high cost and service that does not match both positioning and price.

Choosing an iPhone for many is a choice of familiarthings when you don't want to give them up. There are no other reasons for this - the iPhone today is noticeably behind all the flagships on the market, for example, you can see a comparison with the same Galaxy.

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For Samsung, the situation is no less difficult, flagshipshave good sales, but are under pressure from Chinese manufacturers who offer models in the middle segment. For many buyers, it is the middle segment that has become a priority choice, which maintains a high average cost in Russia (it is at the level of 21 thousand rubles).

Before the crisis, Samsung achieved sales throughtrade-in, interest-free installments, active and large-scale marketing - today all these tools are absent or reduced to a minimum. As a result, even the A-series is sold in very modest volumes, the company lost the first place in sales, its share decreased by a little more than two times. It is impossible to restore the share without an official return.

Samsung service centers continue to work, butcover a limited number of devices under warranty. Interestingly, authorized service centers have the ability to service new models as well, so you will definitely get the right level of service. But, most likely, for money.

The choice of Samsung is logical if you are looking for a flagship,their price / quality ratio is one of the best on the market, a lot of additional features (you will not need all of them, but many are very interesting). Short list: the lightness and simplicity of OneUI, the second phone in memory thanks to KNOX, working Samsung Pay (with a few caveats), DeX, support for S Pen, which has never received analogues from other companies.

The beauty of Samsung is that the company itselfdevelops technologies that all other manufacturers use. For example, when buying an iPhone, you get a screen from Samsung, though not the latest generation.

If you want to try a smartphone with a flexiblescreen, then the Fold or Flip series is a logical choice, the pioneer of this technology is Samsung. Chinese companies in 2023 are trying to create their own versions of such devices, but the price of the display becomes the determining factor in their cost, it is prohibitively high. Buying a Chinese smartphone at the price of Samsung or even more is crazy.

In the line from Samsung, you should pay attention toflagships of the S-series of both the current model range and previous years. On smartphones of the Flip / Fold line, as well as the A-series, in it these are the A5x models. For example, the Galaxy A54 comes out at a price of 37,990 rubles, which is quite expensive, it competes with Chinese smartphones and does not always win this comparison.

For the Russian buyer, the choice of Samsung is primarily models of the high price segment, while in the middle segment it is worth paying attention to models from Chinese companies.

Models from Samsung are also interesting in thatthe company has committed to four years of software updates for its devices, plus an additional year for security updates. And this commitment is unparalleled among all Android manufacturers.

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Chinese manufacturers - realme vs. Tecno, holding war

Let's start sorting out who is whoamong Chinese manufacturers. One of the world's largest holdings is BBK Corporation, which includes several companies - OPPO, Vivo, realme, OnePlus (the latter is not officially represented in Russia). Realme has the best sales, the company relies on price / quality ratio, work on the design of devices, and many models are easy to remember due to their appearance. In addition, the emphasis is on fast charging, it is realme that makes the fastest chargers on the planet. For example, realme GT3 has a 240W charger and allows you to charge a 4600mAh battery in 9 minutes and 30 seconds.

But realme's main sales are number sequences,that is, models of the middle segment, in the range of 15 thousand rubles and above. The appearance of flagships is necessary to attract attention, but like other Chinese manufacturers, they are not in high demand compared to the iPhone or Samsung. So far, people are not ready to buy Chinese flagships at the prices of the same Samsung.

Considering Vivo, we can say that it isplus or minus the same models as realme, but they added a small number of changes and raised the cost to a new level. The same logic applies to OPPO, the prices are even higher, there are slightly more changes. But all these changes are not critical, people prefer the product that is cheaper. Other things being equal, when choosing from these brands, it is worth choosing realme, in all other cases you will noticeably overpay for your ignorance of the similarity of products.

Another holding is Transsion, it includes brandsTecno and Infinix. The models are quite close in their capabilities, software, but, as in the case of realme and other brands, these are independent companies that compete with each other. The rise of Tecno is associated with affordable models offering an interesting price / quality ratio. We can conditionally say that these are the same realme number plates, but 15-20% cheaper. You get comparable features, there are no flaws, but the price is lower.

Very often, buyers discuss the issue of software andits convenience. There is an opinion among Chinese manufacturers that it is necessary to create their own shells, within each holding they are comparable plus or minus and change for the better very quickly. But, unfortunately, Chinese companies save on software updates - there are quite a few of them, and the release of new versions directly depends on the cost of the model. For budget devices, there are few of them, for flagships - the maximum number. But there are no strict obligations that such updates will be released for several years, you simply do not know this before the purchase.

For realme and Tecno and other companies,there is service in Russia - not as excellent as Samsung had until recently, but it is present. In general, service is a sore point for most manufacturers, it is formed according to the residual principle, and for the consumer this is a certain stress. But there is nothing to compare with, since there is no official support for parallel imports, this is also worth remembering.

Among the listed models, I advise you to pay attentionattention to realme (good software, interesting features in hardware) or Tecno (newcomer, aggressively developing, prices are noticeably lower than realme's in most positions). The same Tecno is just entering the flagship segment, taking its first steps, but the speed of development is amazing.

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Xiaomi, Huawei, Honor - high level of Chinese companies

Let's start with Huawei, it is a globala leader in telecom and focused on consumer devices, in particular smartphones. In 2019, sanctions were imposed on the company, which forced a review of the strategy in the field of smartphones and tablets, from now on the choice of chipsets is limited exclusively to Qualcomm. But at the same time, Huawei has its own set of services - Huawei Mobile Services, including the App Gallery (this app store is a great replacement for the Play Store, you can buy many paid apps). But at the same time, there are no Google Mobile Services (GMS), in theory they can be installed, but what's the point?

Life without GMS exists and it is enoughvaried, you don't have much to lose. It's a matter of choice and what you want to get. Huawei makes excellent smartphones, they are similar in cost to Samsung, all other things being equal. Of course, everything depends on the price segment, but you will get good software, a bunch of updates (the update period is not regulated in any way), various accessories that make up the ecosystem. Huawei has cool smartwatches, headphones, and more. In the companies described above, they are noticeably worse, but not much cheaper.

Huawei has faster access to newtechnologies, so here the gain is obvious - this is a major player who definitely should not be discounted. But now he is going through not the brightest times. On the other hand, under such pressure, almost any other company would die. By choosing Huawei, you are choosing to opt out of Google services - perhaps this is the main thing you need to know.

Now a few words about Honor.Once it was a daughter of Huawei, the second line of smartphones for the mass market. But after the start of sanctions, the company was separated and sold, now it is independent, although the common roots are felt in the design of models, their capabilities, and positioning. Honor smartphones use regular Android with their shell, the company also has a lot of different accessories, and they are good, however, as well as the devices themselves. Positioning at the level of Huawei, read - Samsung, sometimes a little lower. That is, the company considers itself an A-brand, which is not bad for self-awareness, for the consumer it means a higher price on the shelf.


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I would advise you to pay attention to Honor themeswho wants to buy Huawei, but needs a product with support for Google services. Similarities in design, interesting materials, cost and features in the field of both cameras and other points. Both brands are very similar.

The third brand to consider here isis, without a doubt, Xiaomi. In Russia, this is number one in sales in 2022 (42% of the market in pieces), both budget devices and models in the middle segment are sold. The line of flagships at a cost like that of Samsung or the iPhone is much less in demand, but there are still certain sales - they are small. Read about the recent announcement of the Xiaomi flagships of the 13th line and their prices for Europe, they are mind-blowing.

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Xiaomi started with a simple message - a productshould have an excellent price / quality ratio, be inexpensive. But gradually the company moved away from this, the models became more and more expensive, the correct ratio was lost. At the same time, buyers often turned a blind eye to shortcomings, for example, the presence of intrusive ads in various applications, a non-working proximity sensor that did not turn off the screen when you brought it to your ear. But for inexpensive products in their niches, these shortcomings did not play a role. As soon as buyers began to pay the price of the same Samsung, these moments began to annoy them.

The new Xiaomi is realme, while Xiaomitrying to become Samsung. But for the latter, they do not have the opportunity to update their devices for as long, work directly with Google on Android, they do not have their own components and do not regulate their development in any way. Marketing from Xiaomi is weaker than that of Samsung on a global scale, the issue is not in budgets, but in skills. Therefore, the company, on the one hand, is in the first echelon of Chinese manufacturers, on the other hand, it is losing the market, and, apparently, this will continue. Suboptimal price / quality ratio crosses out everything. You need to choose Xiaomi carefully, preferably not at the very beginning of sales. Just like with big brands, it is more profitable to buy models from the previous season.

Short conclusion

Brief description of eachmanufacturer in detail is not possible. Consider this the starting point of your journey, but first you need to look at what kind of device you use every day. The power of habit is a great thing, not everyone is ready to try something new. Perhaps you should stick with the manufacturer you once chose and not retrain yourself.

Involuntarily, we ended up with three groupsmanufacturers, the division is conditional, but it reflects the categories of buyers well. Flagships are sent to Apple and Samsung, they are also chosen for a long software update cycle, software pleasantness and other features. The first is a pure luxury, the second is pleasant for those who want to find both value for money and technology that others often lack. But on average, Samsung's price is higher than other manufacturers on Android.

The second group are those who look at Xiaomi,Honor, Huawei (you can add here Sony and a number of small companies, for example, Moto from Lenovo). Usually these people have intolerance to both Apple and Samsung and look for alternative solutions. They are not so worried about the price / quality ratio, the main thing is that it is cheaper than Samsung and Apple.

The third category is rational buyers, the choice of the same realme, TCL Mobile or Tecno is due to a good price / quality ratio, a lower value of the brand name for buyers.

The division above is very conditional, solike every manufacturer there are models that stand out for the better with their capabilities. The price / quality ratio of the iPhone 11 is still excellent, the same Galaxy A53 is attractive in its capabilities, as well as the Galaxy S22. Just like many Xiaomi or Huawei models can please you during sales, the question of when and where to buy a phone is a separate topic for discussion.

The general level of phones has grown, you getgood quality from different manufacturers. The question is to fill the model with certain functions. Miracles do not happen, each product is positioned according to its filling. Therefore, when you assure that you bought a phone for three kopecks, which puts the flagship from another company on the shoulder blades, I'm afraid you are engaged in self-deception - this does not happen. He can win in one thing, but in general, of course, he will lose.

I hope that the material will help you orient yourself and go on to read reviews of specific models. Enjoy the shopping!

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