Despite the apparent repositioning, the top 5 premium brands in Russia remains fairly stable. According to Anush Gasparyan, these are Max Mara, Marc Cain, Luisa Cerano, ESCADA, HUGO BOSS. Oksana Bondarenko calls HUGO BOSS, Michael Kors, Furla, Patrizia Pepe, Max Mara. In the outerwear segment, Igor Frolov talks about Canada Coose, Moncler and not too common in Russia Fjällräven, Quartz Nature, Woolrich, Helly Hansen, etc. According to Colliers International in Russia, in 2015–2016, most stores in Russia closed democratic brands and brands of the middle price segment, while among the new brands that opened monobrand boutiques, operators of the premium» and medium plus segments predominate. "Stockmann, New Look, Gerry Weber have left," lists Stanislava Nazhmitdinova, Director of Fashion Collaboration Development. – Announced their desire to develop in the Russian market Harvey Nichols, House of Fraser, Blue Inc., Galeries Lafayette, The Kooples, White House / Black Market, Abercrombie & Fitch, Disney Store, Cortefiel, Lefties, Cos, DeFacto». So, in "Crocus City Mall" at the end of May, the first single-brand boutique in Russia, John Varvatos, was opened in a big way. In the first stage of the Metropolis, Elisabetta Franchi stores and the first mono-brand boutique of L. K. Bennet, a British clothing and footwear brand, are to open in the near future. "To date, we can say that two segments continue to remain stable: luxury, which showed a 10% increase, and, of course, mass market, which will soon occupy 60% of 70% of the market share," says Yuri Ananin from Campione. Unfortunately, this situation affects the middle segment and premium segment the most. Unfortunately, they are still falling. Price is a key factor in making a purchase decision for both buyers and the end user. We will no longer be able to return to the pre-crisis level of profit and income of the population, so most brands will have to adjust their promotion strategies and pricing policy in order to compete in the modern realities of the Russian market.
The Russians have come
Due to the events of the last two years, Russian brands have received an unprecedented chance in the premium segment for the first time. However, for most buyers, Russian clothing is still not associated with the premium segment. "Vassa has such problems, which, despite the high quality and appropriate prices (quite competitive, however, on the regular market), does not have such a wide loyal audience to remain stable in a crisis, because a lot of buyers still think in stereotypes that the Russian premium brand is overpriced the price », – is convinced by Daria Nuclear.
However, in general, for this group of brands (Russian industrial designers of the medium plus and premium segment), according to Y Consulting, there is an increase, and quite noticeable - their market share has almost doubled (from 1.3% to 2.5%). Experts note a tendency to strengthen the positions of designers who were actually unknown five years ago. "However, designers who have been implementing industrial collections for a long time, in fact, lose in competition just as much as foreign brands (this is the story of Vassa)," sighs Daria Nuclear."
According to FCG analysts, Russian designers, on the one hand, remain committed to their own style, on the other hand, they sensitively monitor changes in the taste preferences of their customers. "They often try to solve the problems of buyers at the expense of their margin, "they try to offer the consumer the most friendly prices," says Anush Gasparyan. "The fashion represented by network brands is quite unified, and in this sense, Russian niche handwriting fashion brands are becoming more and more interesting to the consumer." In addition, domestic designers traditionally benefit due to a more subtle knowledge of the mentality of buyers. For example, the Elena Shipilova brand, well aware that Russian clients, unlike Italians or Frenchwomen, do not like to open their full hands, makes summer clothes with a small sleeve or bolero.
In turn, Mikhail Gorshikhin from SmartUP CG is convinced that Russian designers still do not use the full potential of development. "Premium Russian brands consist of several categories: the first is those that large-scale foreign PR agencies are working on promoting, for example, Carla Otto, who is responsible for Ulyana Sergeenko," the expert lists. And now we see her dresses on Ornella Muti, Renata Litvinova and Adriana Lima. For Russian consumers, such a brand becomes valuable, and they are ready to pay for it, because in the minds of the brand stands in line with foreign premium ones. The second category mainly functions due to close friendship with Russian it-girls, this is the same Alexander Terekhov. Those who could really benefit from the crisis, – “piece ” designers of the medium and medium plus categories. That is, those whose price is comparable to ZARA. The development of this part of the price segment is very slow and, as a rule, does not satisfy a sufficiently high demand: despite the development of high-quality clothing models, designers' problems begin where the topic of tailoring and sale of collections appears.
In turn, at Knight Frank, the situation with Russian designers is still inclined to be considered "rather a big experiment". "We are glad that our designers have entered the market, there are a lot of them, and they are trying to actively develop, but it is too early to say that this is an absolute replacement for international brands," Evgenia Khakberdieva, head of the department of Knight Frank shopping centers, is convinced.
As a result, investors are not ready to invest in Russian premium massively, according to market participants. "They are looking at what will happen to Russia in general," explains Alexander Seregin from Metropolis. "The situation is extremely unstable."
According to JLL analysts, it is not yet possible to transfer the production of some premium brands to Russia, at least until the modernization of production bases. "Now buyers of premium brands are more likely to expect traditional made in Italy from them," says Anna Panyukova. "Everything made in Russia meets the fashion trend of import substitution, meets the interests of a narrow target audience, but for premium brands, if price and quality do not match, this label will rather repel the buyer."
Meanwhile, designer clothing rental services are gaining momentum in Russia (about 15 projects in Moscow, including a concept with images for every day) and fashion is returning to the atelier. "Thanks to the crisis, we have more customers," says Maria Is Ready, owner of The Finery Atelier. – Many preferred individual tailoring to buying ready-made things. This can be called a reasonable economy, considering it more profitable to invest in an exclusive thing of excellent quality with a perfect fit on the figure than to buy ready-made clothes, albeit premium. Custom tailoring is booming now."
In addition, for the first time in the history of the Russian market, luxury commission and premium second-hand shops, as well as specialized groups in social networks and aggregators of private ads are becoming competitors to traditional premium retail.
Author: Ekaterina Reutskaya