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Mobile Sales in Russian Plummet 14 Percent as Phones Get Pricier

The increase in average price meant that in value terms the Russian mobile market in January-August grew by 5 percent year-on-year to 162 billion rubles ($2.5 billion), the data showed.

Figures published Monday showed that the number of mobile phones sold in Russia plunged 14 percent in the first eight months of the year compared to the same period in 2014, as a recession and currency devaluation hit consumer spending.

Over January-August Russians bought 23 million mobile phones — 4 million fewer than in January-August last year — according to research by retail chain Yevroset.

The key reason for the decline in sales was price rises caused by the fall of Russia's ruble currency, which has made imported technology more expensive. Yevroset found that the average mobile phone price was 22 percent higher this year than in 2014, at 6,900 rubles ($105).

The increase in average price meant that in value terms the Russian mobile market in January-August grew by 5 percent year-on-year to 162 billion rubles ($2.5 billion), the data showed.

Overall retail spending in Russia has fallen sharply this year as inflation — spurred by the weaker ruble — has overtaken wage growth. Russia's economy is expected to shrink by around 4 percent this year.

Faced with the grim economic outlook, Yevroset said that the market had likely not yet hit the bottom and the decline in sales would continue.

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