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Sales of so-called 'gray' equipment, electronics in Ukraine in year of pandemic 12% down to UAH 18 bln – study.

KYIV. Nov 24 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The estimate of the total sales of household appliances and electronics imported under so-called "gray" import schemes in 2020 (parallel imports without proper customs procedures and full payment of taxes and fees) fell by 12%, to almost UAH 18 billion, or 16% to the total sales of the studied categories, according to a study by Gfk.

"The share of 'gray' imports decreased from 23%, which we recorded in 2019, to 16% for the season from April 2020 to March 2021. However, there are certain categories that are leaders in the bottom of the ranking. These are accessories and photographic equipment," consultant Tetiana Sytnyk said at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine on Wednesday.

According to the study, the share of "gray" imports of the total sales value of the accessories category grew to 33% compared to 31% in 2019, photographic equipment – to 37% compared to 33% a year earlier. The rest of the categories of goods showed a decrease in the volume of the "gray" market.

"In money, the reduction in the volume of 'gray' imports (in hryvnia) was only 12%," the Gfk consultant said.

According to Sytnyk, the market of household appliances and electronics in the pandemic year showed an increase of 24% in hryvnias, and in kind the growth was 10%. Sales of computers and monitors (75%), laptops (50%) and tablets (45%), as well as household appliances - vacuum cleaners (41%), small household appliances (34-35%) increased the most.

"We evaluated 14 product categories, which account for 80% of total sales of household appliances and electronics," Sytnyk said, adding that the bulk of "gray" imports are smartphones and TVs.

According to her, 71 representatives of importers took part in the survey regarding the share of "gray" imports on the market, and 59 completed the questionnaire.

The trend towards a reduction in "gray" imports is recorded, but there is a bias towards premium goods, Head of the legal department of Samsung Electronics Ukraine Company Yevhen Shkola said.

According to him, the difference in the price of a premium segment TV (from UAH 30,000) between "gray" and legal imports is 30-40%.

As Shkola said, mainly "gray" TV sets are imported to Ukraine from Poland.

In addition, he said that the share of premium mobile phones in the "gray" segment in 2019 was 40%, in 2021 it was already 19%. This reduction was due to restrictions on the movement of people at the border associated with the pandemic.

As Sytnyk explained, the interviewed experts and participants explain the decrease in the share of "gray" imports by restrictions on international movement (33%), as well as by the shortage of goods (26%), and by the actions of manufacturers (25%). However, she said that this state of affairs is situational and temporary, so that there are concerns about the growth of the share of "gray" imports to the level of 2019, together with the recovery in demand.

At the same time, respondents noted weak control by state bodies.

Director General of the Ukrainian Importers of Consumer Electronics Association Sofia Araslanova pointed out the need to strengthen measures in the field of customs control, preserve fiscalization for all business entities without exception.

"The growing share of the scheme of inaccurate declaration means a wide scope of work for the customs authorities," she said.

As reported, the estimated sales of household appliances and electronics imported into Ukraine under "gray" import schemes in 2019 amounted to UAH 20.5 billion ($792 million), or 23% of the total sales of the studied categories.

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