Over the past year, hundreds of global brands have fled Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. That’s forced Russians to find alternatives for everything from smartphones to cars.
The companies benefiting: Chinese competitors. Smartphone giant Xiaomi and automaker Geely are among those that have seen sales surge in recent months, industry data shows.
Where iPhones and Samsung Galaxies were once bestsellers, models from Xiaomi and another Chinese vendor, Realme, now top the sales charts, according to Counterpoint Research.
Chinese manufacturers were already popular in Russia before the war, accounting for approximately 40% of the smartphone market in December 2021. Now, they’ve taken over almost entirely, accounting for 95% of the market a year later, according to Counterpoint data.
Meanwhile, Samsung (SSNLF) and Apple (AAPL) — which typically held the number one and two spots, respectively — saw their combined market share drop from 53% to just 3% over the same period as they pulled out of the country.
A similar story is playing out on Russia’s roads. Over the past year, Chinese carmakers Chery and Great Wall Motor have jumped into the top 10 passenger vehicle brands, while Germany’s BMW and Mercedes (MBGAF) have disappeared, according to data from S&P Global Mobility.
Russians bought a record number of Chinese cars last year, according to data provider Autostat. Chinese new car sales in the country rose 7% in 2022, to 121,800 vehicles, even as the market crashed, it said in a report last month.
Lada, the homegrown brand that was already Russia’s most popular carmaker before the war, also saw its market share grow from approximately 22% to 28% in 2022, according to S&P data. (Renault sold its controlling stake in Lada in May.)