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The changing face of the Russian wallpaper market


Russia’s strong interior design community and big demand for housing and high-end projects make it a serious market for wall decor suppliers. With the rouble’s fluctuations bringing changes to the market, here is the lowdown on what to expect from the sector.
Wallpaper has always been a popular choice for Russians. It keeps its look for five years, but unlike other wallcoverings it is a lot easier to change – giving owners a chance to adapt their spaces to the latest trends.
Wallpaper: Russians still love it
According to data from Yandex, Russia’s leading search engine, there were 227,792 searches in Russia for ‘wallpaper’ in May 2016. 62,000 of these searches were made in the Moscow Region (47,000 in Moscow itself), and St. Petersburg was next in the ranking with 15,000 queries for the month. This is a big increase on May 2015 where 171,087 searches for wallpaper were made. But it appears Russians want to upgrade their walls when the cold weather hits and they spend more time indoors – the top month for wallpaper searches on Yandex in recent years was November 2014 with 278,000, while last November (2015) was just behind with 272,000 searches.
Now, onto production. The activity of Russia’s wallpaper makers has been up and down in recent years. 110 million units of wallpaper were produced in 2013, 5.6% down on the previous year, but this rose around 2% in 2014. Official Russian data shows a 17% growth in production between 2011 and 2015, and this even includes growth of 5 to 7% in the crisis years of 2014-2015.
Russian wallpaper imports: better times ahead
In international trading terms, ‘import substitution’ – the Russian national drive to localise as much manufacturing and production as possible – is having an effect on wallpaper imports. In volume terms, total levels fell around 40% between 2014 and 2015, almost entirely due to the fall in value of the rouble, Russia’s national currency, making it more expensive for Russian specifiers and suppliers to buy from abroad.
However, imported products still maintain a healthy share of total trade in the sector.  Suppliers of foreign-made designs and products are cutting their prices to remain in the market, and this is shoring up their presence and making sure the international designs favoured in high-end projects will keep their place in Russia for the foreseeable future. Russian sources expect around 81 million wallpaper units to be supplied from abroad in 2020 – only slightly less than the entirety of Russian production in 2013. And with the rouble steadily gaining ground on the dollar throughout 2016, prospects look good for exporters to Russia to get back to the success they have enjoyed over the past 20 years.


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Tanya Aleksankina

International Sales Manager - Interiors sectors


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