Samsung’s latest folding smartphones, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and the Fold5, went on sale in Russia earlier this week, two weeks ahead of their global launch on August 11. Although these devices are not officially being supplied to Russia due to the country’s sanctions, they were unexpectedly found on the online store of MTS, Russia’s largest mobile network operator, available for immediate delivery. The Z Flip 5 smartphones start at a price of 110,000 rubles ($1,195), while the cheapest Fold5 is priced at 190,000 rubles ($2,064).
In addition to MTS, major Russian electronics retailers M.Video and Eldorado are offering customers the option to pre-order the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Fold5 smartphones. The telecoms operator Megafon also provides the same pre-order service through its online store. This early availability of Samsung’s folding gadgets in the Russian market has created excitement among consumers eager to get their hands on these innovative devices before the official global launch.
This is not the first time Samsung has released its products ahead of the official launch in Russia. In February 2023, the sales of the Samsung S23 smartphone line began 11 days before the global launch. This strategy seems to be successful in generating early sales and building anticipation among Russian consumers.
However, it is important to note that Samsung’s decision to temporarily suspend shipments of all its products to Russia in March 2022 was due to Ukraine-related sanctions imposed by the West. At that time, Samsung was the market leader in Russia with a 34% share. The South Korean multinational attributed this suspension to “current geopolitical developments.” Despite the suspension, Russian retailers have been able to continue selling Samsung and Apple phones, among other consumer goods, through the authorization of “parallel imports” by Moscow. This allows goods to be brought in from neighboring countries, ensuring the availability of popular brands in the Russian market.
The presence of Samsung’s latest folding smartphones in the Russian market ahead of the global launch indicates the demand for these innovative devices among Russian consumers. The early availability of these gadgets in the country, despite the sanctions, showcases the resilience of the Russian market and the ability of retailers to adapt to changing circumstances. It also reflects the enthusiasm for technological advancements in Russia, as customers eagerly pre-order these cutting-edge devices.
Samsung’s decision to release its products early in Russia has proven to be a strategic move, generating excitement and increasing customer interest. The success of these sales may pave the way for future early launches in the country. As the global market evolves, it will be interesting to see how companies navigate geopolitical challenges while meeting consumer demand and capturing new markets.
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