Luxury in Russia

Where Russian customers buy luxury items in 2023?

Customers Continue Shopping at Familiar Boutiques

Some luxury goods enter stores through standard channels. If the purchase price of an item does not exceed the sanction threshold of 300 euros, the retail price of such items ranges from 1200 to 1800 euros. This wide range includes knitwear, jeans, blouses, trousers, dresses, shoes, accessories, and more. Even simple basic models from more expensive categories, such as outerwear, can officially pass below the embargo threshold. Many suppliers try to expand the permissible offerings without violating sanction restrictions. They may offer certain items at special prices, for example, due to volume, or produce a batch within allowable prices specifically for Russian buyers.

Despite this, the number of mono-brand boutiques has sharply decreased, giving way to multi-brand collection stores.

Another part of collections may enter stores through parallel imports, permitted in Russia since 2022. In this case, the collection reaches the store through purchase from an intermediary or agent. This extended supply chain allows obtaining the desired collections but increases the retail price by at least the intermediary’s commission.

Growing Popularity of Personal Buyers or Concierge Services 

Over the past two years, personal buyer or personal concierge services have gained significant popularity. These services are offered either directly to the client-customer or through various concierge services. For example, such a service can be provided by:

  • An agent living abroad. On behalf of the client, the agent buys the necessary goods and sends them to Russia in personal parcels.
  • Concierge service. For instance, CDEK.Shopping periodically publishes its own statistics on the growth of orders for luxury brand goods on its platform and constantly expands its offerings.

Of course, purchasing through this scheme will inevitably be more expensive due to commissions to the buyer and service, shipping costs, and customs duties.

 Luxury Resale Projects are Becoming More Popular

This is a global trend, and Russia is keeping pace with the global shift towards luxury resale.

Luxury resale is growing rapidly in Russia, gradually getting customers accustomed to turning to it more frequently. The advantages of resale are not only in price but also in the opportunity to find iconic or archival models and rare items from limited collections.

The quality of projects is improving. On the one hand, the choice is becoming broader; on the other hand, customers have started trusting the competence of well-known resale brands regarding the authenticity of the offered goods. One of the most successful projects, which started online and is now actively developing offline, is Oskelly. After opening its first resale boutique on Stoleshnikov Lane, the brand opened its second boutique in a historic building on Kuznetsky Most, where only new collections are presented.

Understanding customers interest, many major regular-price companies have begun collaborating with experienced resale projects or have opened their own resale platforms:

  • TSUM — Tsum Collect,
  • Lamoda (in collaboration with Second Friend Store, The Cultt),
  • Yandex.Market and Cloudset (with The Cultt): purchase and rental,
  • Avito and «Rekult».

Local Luxury Brands, Fashion Houses, and Luxury Ateliers are Clearly Gaining Momentum

This is evident both from the growth in demand for custom orders and the demand for premium designer collections. For example, the Alena Akhmadullina Fashion House is opening a department in TSUM with its first designer line. Fashion houses of such recognized masters as Ulyana Sergeenko, Dmitry Loginov, and Oleg Ovsiev (Viva-Vox) are literally overwhelmed with orders from individual clients for bespoke luxury models.

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