Apple's increased presence in Russia may affect distributors

Apple is to launch an online store in Russia in summer-autumn 2013. The aim of this initiative is to reduce 'grey-market' sales, as well as to improve the speed of the introduction of its new gadgets onto the market in Russia.

Apple also intends to establish a logistics structure which will allow the company to manage product imports independently. Consequently, those partners designated as Apple Premium Resellers, will have to sign contracts for direct purchasing from Apple. Russian mobile phone and electronics retailer Svyaznoy has already signed such an agreement. As Retail Update Russia previously informed, Svyaznoy will open 10 stores for Apple. Other retailers active in the consumer electronics market sector, namely Inventive Retail Group (former re:Store), Euroset, and M.Video, will soon follow suit and Eldorado and Media Markt are currently in negotiations with Apple.

Dihouse, Marvel-Distributsia and OCS currently operate as Apple's main distributors in Russia and they may ultimately feel the negative impact of this move as up to 50% of their sales in this segment could end up going to the US-based global giant.