Apple’s new iPhone — the iPhone 14 — went on sale in U.S. stores Friday. Even though the company’s flagship product is not officially available in Russia, it will still reach the country via the so-called parallel imports scheme. Moreover, a strong ruble means there has reportedly been a significant uptick in pre-orders of the iPhone 14.
- Officially, Apple has ceased its operations in Russia and does not supply products to the country. Despite this, Russian retailers will still be stocking the new iPhones because the parallel import scheme allows Russian companies to import goods without the agreement of the copyright holder. These imports take place via third countries, usually neighboring post-Soviet nations.
- The Russian authorities have high hopes for parallel imports, which they believe can protect against shortages of Western brands. But gaining large-scale supplies through this system is problematic.
- There are even more potential buyers for iPhones than for Apple’s new iPhone a year ago. For example, mobile operator MTS said it had received 2.5 times the number of pre-orders for iPhones compared with last year, Kommersant reported.
- The likely reason for the interest is the strong ruble, which means that the local price for an iPhone 14 is not much more than the cost of previous versions. For example, a new iPhone 14 costs 84,990 rubles. The iPhone 13 with the same memory cost 79,990 rubles in 2021. Apple’s official price of $799 is unchanged.
Why the world should care
The strong ruble and the success of the government’s parallel imports scheme means that Russian consumers still have access to popular Western goods.