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By Petr Kramerius, Regional Manager at Infosource


The Russian economy has been facing mounting pressure due to Western sanctions imposed in response to the invasion of Ukraine. These sanctions have targeted key figures responsible for the invasion, weakening Russia’s ability to finance the war. While the sanctions have not primarily targeted Russian society, they have left a significant impact on various sectors. In this article, we will explore the transformation of the Russian market in the face of these challenges, with a particular focus on the printing industry.


The Russian economy has been grappling with the consequences of Western sanctions, which have created a currency famine and a decline in the value of the rouble. Imports have surged, and military spending has increased, leading to growing pressure on the Russian economy. However, it’s important to note that certain sectors such as food, agriculture, health, and pharmaceuticals have been excluded from these restrictive measures.


One often overlooked aspect of the sanctions imposed on Russia is their impact on Western European companies operating in the country. While some firms have swiftly exited the Russian market, others continue to operate despite the challenges. The decision to withdraw from Russia is not solely based on moral or ethical considerations, but rather a complex problem with various factors at play.

Western companies seeking to leave Russia initially looked for buyers for their assets. However, this process is not straightforward, as the Russian government has made it difficult for foreign companies to withdraw capital. The government’s actions include direct bans on investor withdrawals in strategic industries, stringent requirements for repatriating profits, and demanding a “voluntary contribution” to the Russian budget. Additionally, Western companies have been forced to sell their shares in Russian assets at a discount and pay a “voluntary exit tax.”

Despite these challenges, some companies have chosen to remain in Russia, often citing humanitarian grounds as their justification. For example, pharmaceutical companies like Roche and Novartis continue their operations, as medicines are exempt from sanctions. However, companies that have stayed are also facing an increasingly uncertain business environment.


The Russian printing market, once the largest in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), has been experiencing a significant decline in recent years. In H1 2023, it continued to register unprecedented decreases, ceding its position as the No. 1 market to Poland. Notably, the Russian printing market features a strong parallel imports market alongside the official one.

The total toner-based MFP (Multi-Function Printer) market in Russia  (graph below) decreased by 24% in H1, with approximately 291,000 units sold. In H1 2021, the total market was 490,000 units, and in H1 2022, 383,000 units.


The personal MFP category registered a decline of 19%, as did the BW personal MFP market, which represented a 98% share of the total personal category. During the same period, the personal color market decreased 8% to only 7,000 units. In the total personal MFP market, the Chinese brand Pantum took the leading market position with an 88,5% share, followed by the Russian Katusha with a 5% share and the Chinese brand Huawei with 2.9%.  In H1 2023, HP, Canon and Xerox had already exited the Russian personal MFP market.

The total office market sales were down 77% to just about 8,000 units and represented only a 3% share of the total MFP market. The BW office MFPs represented a 69% share of the total office market, and its sales decreased by 80%, while the color office market dropped 67%. The number one brand within the total office market was the South Korean Sindoh, followed by the Russian brand Katusha.

The total toner-based single-function page printer market (for comparison, proportionally 42% of the total toner-based MFP market) registered a decrease of 32%, the BW SFP market decreased by 32% and represented a 97% share of the total SFP sales. The color SFP category registered a decrease of 42%. In terms of brands, Pantum retained the top position on the SFP market with an 87% share, followed by the Chinese brands Cactus and Hiper.

As for the Russian inkjet market, officially, it contracted from approximately 158,000 to 8,000 units, enhancing the EEU inkjet market movement into a downward spiral. The disappearance of the Russian total inkjet market was mainly created when the inkjet brands left the market, and the new MFP and SFP brands are mostly toner/laser-based. However, it is possible to buy some inkjet devices due to unofficial parallel import.


The total Large format printer market in Russia was down 63% in H1 2023 to only 820 units. Solvent became the main ink type category instead of the water-based segment.

Regarding the Document scanners, this market has decreased by 4% in H1 2023. However, it remained at the level of approximately 14,000 units. As for the Consumer scanners, this category increased by 66%. Avision, the No. 1 brand both in both the  Document scanners category with a 62.2% share and the Consumer scanners category with a 51.6% share, registered a 65% increase in unit sales for Document scanners and a 66% for Consumer scanners.


China, India and Turkey are now the primary buyers of Russian oil, and some of their imports have been “re-blended” and sold to countries with sanctions in place. Despite the challenges, the Russian economy got a better-than-expected start into 2023. Real GDP growth accelerated in quarter-on-quarter terms in Q1, and monthly activity data suggest that the economic recovery continued in Q2. Russia’s fiscal deficit should widen in 2023 due to rising military spending and declining energy export revenues. Russia’s foreign exchange (FX) reserves have recovered since September 2022, and experts expect the Russian economy from this perspective to be able to cope with Western sanctions in 2023 and beyond.

The Russian economy has not collapsed, as many in the West had predicted.


The Russian market, including the printing industry, has undergone significant changes in response to Western sanctions and economic challenges. Many Western companies have faced obstacles when attempting to withdraw from the Russian market, while others have chosen to continue operations under complex conditions. As the Russian economy navigates these challenges, businesses operating in the country must adapt and strategise to thrive in an increasingly uncertain environment.


For further inquiries or discussions on how to navigate the evolving Russian market, please contact Boris Kusche, Regional Manager on [email protected]

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