mobile communications

Grey suppliers prevented official iPhone from taking off

Grey suppliers prevented official iPhone from taking off

Official sales of iPhone from the American company Apple in Ukraine did not create any hype. A week after the start of sales on June 26, less than 1,500 official handsets were sold in the country. At that, according to Ukrainian mobile operators around 30,000 iPhones have appeared in their networks every month over the past year.

Deputy Director of the Ukrainian State Radio Frequencies Center (USRFC) Volodymyr Kyrychenko told Capital that since the beginning of the year the center issued licenses for the import of 1,970 iPhone handsets, of which 1,370 were imported as of July 3. After the start of official sales of iPhone, USRFC did not receive any new applications.

As Capital wrote earlier, the Asbis Company imported the first shipment of 1,500 handsets. The company declined to comment on the prospects of the next shipments and the results of the first week of sales. Representative of the Russian press office of Apple said by phone that Apple does not print data for separate countries, instead announcing global quarterly sales. In response to the written inquiry, the Apple press service did not provide commentary.

Old competitors

Apple smartphones are being sold, though not at the same rate as during the launches abroad, says Head of the Photo Equipment and Mobile Units Department at the Foxtrot chain Serhiy Teslenko. “This may be due to the current economic situation,” he says.

Director of Allo chain of stores Valeriy Zolotukhin assured that the company does not have precise data on sales yet, but confirmed that there has not been major hype. Zolotukhin explains such a reaction of consumers primarily by the sale of illegal iPhone handsets in some stores, which are priced approximately 20% lower than official phones.

For instance, unofficially imported iPhone 5S with 16 Gb of memory can be purchased online for UAH 7,700-8,500. Legal vendors charge UAH 10,999 for the same handset. The main difference of legal iPhones is that they are genuine and they come with a warranty from Apple.

Zolotukhin claims that the Citrus chain sells unofficial smartphones, but the newspaper failed to get commentary from the company’s representative. Earlier, however, Citrus imported small shipments of iPhone certified by the USRFC. From the legal standpoint, such handsets are deemed legal. But from the standpoint of Apple, they are illegal as they are imported by an unofficial supplier.

Free advertising

Vendors of unofficial handsets admit that the entry of the official iPhone onto the market did not negatively affect their sales. “We are selling iPhone as before,” says a manager of store. Moreover, they benefited from the advertising of the official handset. “On the contrary, people started buying iPhone at our store even more,” adds a representative of the Notus store. Official vendors are seeking ways to compete with unofficial vendors. Zolotukhin says that Allo is offering loans to its customers.

Teslenko believes that official vendors will be able to squeeze out shadow traders within the next several years. For this, however, they need to communicate to consumers information about the advantages of the official supplies of iPhone 5 and raise a consumer that will have a negative attitude to semi-legal products. In addition, government control over imports and sale of grey/unofficial products on the territory of Ukraine is critical. “It is extremely important that the share of grey import is minimized and brought to zero,” he says. Zolotukhin also believes that manufacturers and suppliers could also undertake the function of control and limitation of illegal import.

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