Russia plans mandate for local tech space in retail stores

Moscow intends to implement a policy mandating both online and physical stores to set aside shelf space specifically for tech manufactured within Russia.

According to Kommersant, relying on information from anonymous industry sources, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has yet to clarify the specific categories of goods. However, the focus is on electronics produced in Russia in ‘substantial quantities.’

Reports of lawmakers from the leading political party United Russia have been working on a bill dubbed the ‘Russian regiment’ which first surfaced in May. This bill proposes that retailers must offer a designated portion of goods made in Russia.

Among the requirements for online marketplaces is the prioritization of Russian and Belarusian goods, such as chemicals and cosmetics, within the first 50 online search results. However, the bill has not yet been passed into law.

The demand for Russian goods surged after the departure of Western vendors following Moscow’s full invasion of Ukraine. Consequently, retailers argue against the necessity of such regulations.

Experts anticipate that the bill will significantly impact online retailers rather than offline ones.

Artyom Sokolov, President of the Association of Internet Trading Companies (which includes Wildberries, Ozon, Yandex Market, etc.), commented, 'If a customer seeks to purchase an iPhone and the first 50 search results offer items meeting legal requirements rather than what matches their request, the customer will likely leave the site.'

Russian technology is most widely represented in home and kitchen appliances like refrigerators, freezers, stoves, and washing machines.

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