The fall in the ruble exchange rate against world currencies by 20-25% certainly caught many of us by surprise. After all, if we are, in general, already accustomed to the dollar at 60 rubles, then we were clearly not ready for a new round of growth. Therefore, many, without waiting for the rise in prices, rushed to stores to buy equipment, regardless of whether they need it or not. The most popular type of electronics bought by Russians is smartphones. Of course, the household thing is extremely important and necessary. But is it worth rushing right off the bat and running after a smartphone – even a flagship and very valuable one – right now?
Smartphones are the most illiquid tool that won't save you money
I will not pull the cat by the tail and for those who do not want to read further, I will say: no, it is not worth it, at least if you want to save money in this way. Because smartphones are not suitable for the role of an investment tool at all. Want more details? Then let's continue.
Smartphones, regardless of brand and country of origin, tend to fall in price very rapidly. My colleague Oleg Kusov, a retail expert, has already studied this topic, albeit in isolation from Russian reality, which, however, does not make his work less valuable. Therefore, I highly recommend that you first study his work, and then return here to finish reading.
Over the past 2 months, the dollar has grown against the ruble by 20%
If we look at how the Russian market reacted to the fall in the ruble, we will notice that over the past few days, prices for some smartphones have really grown. This is how traders of gray equipment imported into the country bypassing official supply channels reacted to the rise in the euro exchange rate, on which they are very dependent. Nothing of the kind happened to the official retail sector, because their purchase prices are fixed and, if an increase occurs, then not immediately.
Will smartphones rise in price in Russia?
IPhones have already risen in price, but only in gray retail
Here, take a look. The same iPhone XS, which costs 41.5 thousand rubles at the beginning of March, has added almost 10% by the middle of the month. The same thing happened with iPhone XR – it went up by 8%, which, although not critical, is still unpleasant. True, you need to understand that the influence of panic is quite strong here. Servo carriers were afraid to sell too cheap, and users, who had long dreamed of iPhone, were afraid of even greater price increases and were ready to buy the device even with a mark-up relative to the indicators of two weeks ago. But the long-term perspective matters only.
Obviously, you don't buy a smartphone for a year and, let's face it, most likely not even for two. If today the device, which you liked and the price (after all, as you know, keeping savings in rubles is rather rash, and today many people are afraid to buy the dollar, fearing its fall), and the characteristics, it costs 70 thousand rubles, it is obvious that you need to prepare that by the end of the year, it will lose a rather tangible part of its price. This can be traced to the example of Samsung's flagship smartphones, which in the first year of their presence on the market lost up to half of their original retail price.
Let's start with the closest one – the Galaxy S20. He entered the Russian retail at the end of February at a price of 79,990 rubles. That is, less than a month has passed since its launch, but this time was enough for him to drop in price by 12 thousand rubles. Nice discount, right? Yes, we understand that the price change took place precisely due to the serovars, but it is the gray market that can be considered lively and opportunistic, since, as we have already figured out, it shows us prices that are as close as possible to real ones.
Galaxy S20 is on sale for less than a month, and has already fallen in price by more than 10%
What's next for the Galaxy S20? Well, we have no reason to believe that it will not follow the path of the Galaxy S10, S9, S8 and S7. Still, previous experience always serves as a starting point for future calculations. And these devices became cheaper quite rapidly, losing 40-50% during the year.
How the prices for Samsung smartphones have changed
- Galaxy S10: was – 69,990 rubles, now – 41,500 rubles;
- Galaxy S10 + Ceramic Edition: was – 124,990 rubles, now – 69,001 rubles;
- Galaxy S10e: was – 56,990 rubles, now – 35,890 rubles;
- Galaxy S9: was – 59,990 rubles, now – 28,850 rubles;
- Galaxy Note 9: was – 71,990 rubles, now – 39,146 rubles.
I think this list clearly demonstrates how much cheaper Android – smartphones are. It is impossible to invent a less liquid product. Well, where else have you seen a money-saving tool lose in value half the original price in just a year, and then continue to systematically fall until its issuer (in our case, the manufacturer) declared it obsolete and stopped issuing. This is very similar to how at the end of the 90s people lost the accumulated money in their bank accounts, receiving 10 rubles instead of 10 thousand. At the same time, the brand does not matter here. Any other company could have been in the place of Samsung.
Let's do it again. Should you buy a smartphone to save money? No, not worth it, because in this way you not only will not save them, but in the long run you will simply lose them. Another thing is that if you just want a brand new device, because they have been planning to upgrade for a long time. In this case, the purchase can be considered justified, but not for the full price. After all, even if you are afraid of gray retailers, the store you visit is likely to have loyalty programs or other discounts that can be obtained, for example, by subscribing to a newsletter or writing off bonus points. In general, the main thing is not to overpay and not consider a smartphone as an investment.