Italy is known around the world for its high-quality furniture and materials such as ceramics and stoneware, and Russia is a market where demand for such products is particularly strong.
It’s a promising market for Italian companies. Having felt the strain of economic issues in 2015-16, in 2017, a marked restoration of economic ties was seen by both countries.
Italian exports to Russia increased 11% compared to 2016, according to the Italian statistics department Istat. This growth has continued into 2018, with the first quarter seeing a rise of 25% in Italian imports compared to the same period in 2017.
Alongside Italian companies working in Russia in sectors such as oil and gas, mechanical engineering, pharmaceuticals, and food, Russia has been a key market for Italian companies in the build and interiors sector.
A large number of furniture and textile companies such as Federlegno Arredo have been operating on the market for a number of years, as well as lighting companies (Leucos, Artemide), ceramics manufacturers (Marazzi), household appliance manufacturers (Indesit), and many more besides.
High-quality Italian furniture is much sought after in the Russian premium sector – but it’s not always solely Italian ideas and design. Numerous Russian architects and designers have been working closely with Italian companies to produce new products.
Meralstudio (led by architect Evgeny Polyantsev) has worked for many years designing furniture for Emmemobili and Galimberti Nino. Designer Dmitry Loginov has designed lights for Artemide and Studio Italia Design, and created modular sofas for Artex, and many young Russian designers are showcasing their work in Milan and Paris.
Close ties between the two countries
Links between Italy and Russia run deeper than commercial partnerships. “Despite the distance between our countries, Russia and Italy are not so far apart when it comes to style and taste,” says Roberto Danezi, General Director of Fadex door manufacturer. “This provides a basis for our business on the Russian market, and is seen in fashion, food, and lifestyle in general. When we speak to Russians we don’t feel huge differences in our overall vision of the world.”
Danezi attributes Russian consumers’ interest in Italian manufacturers to historical and cultural ties: “Russians are extremely interested in our history and tradition, numerous architects and artists have been invited to Russia in the past to work on different projects, which has helped bring Italy and Russia together in terms of similar tastes in many areas of life.”
Succeeding on the Russian market
In 2018, 63 Italian companies across a range of sectors exhibited at Russia’s largest international building and finishing materials exhibition MosBuild.
We spoke to exhibitor Anna Sidorenko, Director of Arredo Group in Russia (Exedra furniture factory and Due Effe lighting factory) to find out how international companies can succeed in Russia.
According to Sidorenko, the best solution for the ‘post-crisis’ era is to focus on the regions. “Now it makes more sense to work in the regions as there’s less competition compared to the capital. We promote our lighting in St. Petersburg, in the South of Russia, the Volga region, as well as in Siberia (Tyumen and Krasnoyarsk). Previously, people from the regions would come to Moscow to buy – they didn’t trust their local retailers – but now we can already see people contacting the salons and studios where they live, which speeds up the process and is far cheaper.
“Our success is also due to our pricing and ability to offer tailored projects no matter how complex. Many factories purchase components and only do alterations manually. Exedra does all the manufacturing from wood processing to upholstery. Due Effe can also deliver tailored projects based on the customer’s drawings. Thanks to our full-cycle manufacturing process it works out at a very reasonable price.”
“A lot of the designers we’ve seen at MosBuild require turnkey projects and our products provided the perfect fit,” says Anna Sidorenko. The exhibition attracts a vast number of targeted interior designers and companies looking for quality service and turnkey solutions so exhibitors offering such services are bound to succeed.
Gamma Meccanica factory
Maria Golubeva, Marketing Coordinator at Gamma Meccanica, a leading manufacturer of equipment for producing insulation and recycling plastics, told us, “Russians think in a similar way to Italians, which makes our work much easier. Customers in Russia are very open, well informed, and sophisticated. They follow the release of new technologies and contribute directly to the sector’s development. As manufacturers, this motivates us to move forward as new technological solutions are born out of cooperation with our customers.”
To thrive on the Russian market, Maria Golubeva advises, “overcoming the language barrier and finding Russian-speaking employees. You should also take into account as much feedback as possible to second guess customers’ needs and satisfy their requests.”
Gamma Meccanica considers exhibiting at MosBuild an essential way to meet their target audience and acquire new customers: “MosBuild is an important and prestigious window to showcase our company.”
Italy and Russia are already inextricably linked by business relationships and cooperation. With demand for Italian design and high-quality goods high in Russia, Italian firms are well placed to expand their operations in this vast market.
Interested in expanding your business?
MosBuild 2019 – Russia’s must-attend build and interiors event
For Italian manufacturers and suppliers of building and finishing materials looking to find their feet in this promising market, there is only one event to attend: MosBuild.
In 2018, over 65,000 targeted visitors from across Russia and many other countries met and networked with over 1,200 exhibiting companies.
83% of MosBuild visitors said they intended to make a purchase from the companies they met at the show.
Get your products the exposure they need among a huge dedicated audience of buyers, specifiers, designers, and distributors.