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Exporting to the Russian flooring market: what you need to know

How’s the landscape on Russia’s flooring market? Is the country worth exporting to? With annual flooring sales of 265 million sqm and major construction projects underway, imports are very much in demand. Here’s what you’ll need to know about the Russian flooring market and how to sell your products there.

Market breakdown – what kind of flooring do Russians prefer?

Ceramic tiling makes up the largest sector of the Russian flooring market – 38%. In terms of imports, 30% of all ceramic tiles used in Russia are sourced from abroad, with Italian and Spanish tiling popular for its reputation for quality and style. Once widely accessible, the recent financial crisis has shifted such products to the luxury market, with China filling the gap in the low-end market. Price increases don’t seem to have deterred Russian consumers however, who are willing to pay more for high quality and elite tiles. 

Old favourite linoleum is still one of the top choices for Russians, making up 29% of flooring sales. 20% of which is imported – primarily from French, British, Finnish, Belgian, Slovenian, Dutch, Swedish and Swiss companies.

With around 83 million sqm of laminate flooring sold in Russia annually, it accounts for a further 29% of the market. In 2016, the Russian laminate market saw a slight growth of 3%, with further incremental increases expected to push its market share to 30.9% by 2020. With domestic production strengthening in recent year, imports account for 25% of the market. 

Moving on to wood flooring, 65% is imported. European products are again the connoisseur’s choice, particularly German, while Russia’s 30 wood flooring factories mainly cater to the lower end of the market. 

Luxury Vinyl Tile flooring (LVT), which offers a natural-looking finish with added durability, has also put down roots in the flooring sector in Russia. While it’s not going to threaten the big hitters in this list any time soon, there is definitely a buzz surrounding LVT in the Russian DIY community, so its popularity could rise.

Other popular flooring options include carpeting, parquet flooring, marble, and concrete.

Import structure

In 2016, the Russian floor market rose 5.6% and reached 265 million sqm, a further 3.4% is expected by the end of this year. Whilst the majority of flooring sold is domestic production, a good proportion is formed of imports. Key supplier countries are Belgium, Germany, France, Greece, Italy, Austria, Poland, China, Finland, Denmark, and Sweden. Despite slight price increases for imported flooring, European products still enjoy a reputation for high quality, and quality-conscious Russians are prepared to pay a premium for it.
 
Major projects

Major building projects in Russia are providing lucrative opportunities for exporters. Transport infrastructure is being beefed up around Russia, particularly on the Moscow Metro – the city will see at least 78 new stations by 2020. 

Residential construction is another key area. It is expected to rise 18% in 2018. Part of this is driven by plans to reconstruct 4,500 Soviet-era housing blocks in Moscow, and develop the New Moscow district of the city.
 
Distributor profiles – four of the biggest

If you go down the route of using a distributor to get your flooring to Russia, there are plenty to choose from. Moscow-based but with branches in seven other cities, Opus is the largest floor coverings distributor in the country, supplying imported flooring to a huge network of building and interiors retailers.

Another big player on the market is Ortgraf, leader in commercial flooring supply for Russia's big building projects, stocking floor coverings from Dutch, Italian, Germany, Spanish, and British suppliers, alongside many more. With showrooms and offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rostov, and Krasnodar (as well as Astana, Kazakhstan), Ortgraf is a useful partner for exporting to Russia.

Smart Company represents 45 brands of office flooring on the Russian market, and has sourced international products for over 2,500 projects in Russia. Smart Company has offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Krasnodar.

Alongside its own flooring, Gustov Flooring represents international brands including Desso, Gerflor and Armstrong, selling all types of foreign-made flooring.
 
Case study – Amorim 

Portuguese cork company Amorim is one exporter to take advantage of Russia’s love for top-quality international flooring products. “Russia and cork go hand in hand,” Amorim’s sales manager for Eastern Europe, José Leandro, told us. “Considering Russia’s difficult climatic conditions, the warmth and technical properties of cork make it an ideal flooring and wall covering product for the Russian market”. Read José Leandro’s full interview on doing business in Russia here.
 
Breaking into the market
 
Russia’s territory and market can be daunting for the first-time exporter and getting your products in front of the right people can be a tough ask. The WorldBuild Moscow exhibition, the largest building and interiors trade show in Russia, can put your company in touch with tens of thousands of Russian architects, specifiers and government decision makers. Want to meet them? Get in touch today.
 


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Tanya Aleksankina

International Sales Manager - Interiors sectors

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