Apple Raises Russia IPhone Price 25% After Ruble Drops

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Apple Inc. risks losing market share in Russia after increasing prices for iPhones there by about a quarter one day after Samsung Electronics Co. cut the cost of its smartphones.

The price of an iPhone 6 with 16 gigabytes of storage was raised to 39,990 rubles ($847) today from 31,990 rubles, according to Apple’s online store in the country. That’s 60 percent higher than the 24,990-ruble pricetag on a Galaxy S5 smartphone after Samsung introduced an 11 percent reduction yesterday.

Until now, Apple refrained from raising prices even as the U.S. dollar rose by about a quarter against the ruble since Sept. 1. As a result, the Russian price for an iPhone has been Europe’s lowest at about $700, prompting tourists from other countries to buy iPhones in Moscow.

“Apple sales would probably slow in Russia after that sharp a price increase,” said Eldar Murtazin, an analyst at Mobile Research Group in Moscow. “Android-phone producers, including Samsung, may be trying to use momentum to gain market share in Russia.”

Earlier this month, Apple started advertising iPhones on Russian television to promote sales during the peak season.

Apple, the biggest seller of smartphones in the country by revenue, had $1.32 billion in sales from that segment in the first nine months of this year compared with Samsung’s $1.19 billion, according to researcher IDC.

Still, downloading a Lady Gaga hit from Apple’s Russian iTunes store costs no more now than it did in January. Russians are still paying 19 rubles per song, the equivalent of 41 cents, compared with 58 cents at the start of the year.