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Russia's ceramics imports - what are the trends?

A third of all ceramic tiles used in Russia are imports from other countries. Considering the natural competitive advantage local production has in any market, why do imports occupy such a solid position?


Growth in ceramics imports to Russia was much less in 2013 than it was in 2012 – 1.5%, compared to a 14.8% rise in 2012 – but this fall mainly came from Russia’s nearest neighbours. There was an 8.3% fall in imports from Belarus, and supply from Ukraine was 7.9% down, the first drop in a decade – but Ukraine is still the largest supplier of ceramics to the Russian market. Imports from Spain and China grew to 14 million sqm and 14.9 million sqm respectively, out of a combined total of 73 million square metres of ceramics brought into the country.

When analysing ceramic market trends, it is important to look at the extent to which imports meet local demand. This firstly shows how dependent the market is on imports, and secondly how attractive imported ceramics are compared to domestically produced tiles. At the end of 2013, imported ceramics had a 31.6% share of the Russian market, slightly less than the 33% share it enjoyed in 2012. This suggests a slight change in preference in favour of Russian-made ceramics, sales of which grew 7.8% that year to reach 158.1 million sqm.

These figures show that domestic production is the biggest contributor to meeting Russian demand for ceramics. This is quite natural, as most ceramics are used in the construction sector, which needs large quantities of inexpensive tiles for building and renovating commercial premises. This explains why Chinese-made tiles have a wide presence on the Russian market.

However, despite the fact that locally made tiles make up a large share of consumption, importers and distributors of foreign-made ceramics have significantly boosted their presence in key niches recently, playing a vital role in meeting a wide range of needs or a wide range of consumers. Firstly, importers can bring even cheaper Chinese products to the market for use in areas where quality and design is not a concern. Secondly, they can offer top ceramics from Italy and Spain, whose producers have been and quite rightly remain the global leaders in the industry. Russian producers have made great strides in recent years, but Spanish and Italian ceramics are still considered far superior in terms of quality, finesse and design.

A greater trust in imported products is ingrained into the minds of Russian consumers, who are willing to pay more for them as they are traditionally associated with higher quality. This plays into the hands of importers, and means ceramics producers looking to break into the Russian market will find a discerning customer base that is open to high-quality products.






A translated extract from http://rcmm.ru/content/topics/882.html

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Tanya Aleksankina

International Sales Manager - Interiors sectors


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