Trends and Figures: Recent History of Russian Air-conditioning Trade

JARN recently published an overview of Russian AC consumption trends, based on a review of "Climate World 2006" held in Moscow last March, and which compensates for previous lack of information on the subject. The historical summary starts around 1998, when LG Samsung introduced relatively cheap window AC units prompting high demand in Southern Russia and in the large Northern urban middle class. The sudden sales boom, which followed a period of stagnation, was soon followed by the economic crisis in August the same year. Interestingly, even potential buyers who could still afford AC opted out of AC purchases and contracts. The first years of the XXIst century are remarkable because of sufficiently important and sudden changes in the temperature to cause major swings in sales. However, sales to corporations tend to follow steadier growth trends. Russian household consumers are increasingly inclined to consider AC as a necessity rather than a luxury good. Most AC sold in Russia is imported from Japan, Korea, China and certain European countries. As far as refrigerants are concerned, R-22 is imported at competitive prices from China where it is not yet banned. The use of ozone-safe equipment is growing steadily, while there is an increasing reluctance to buy R-407C equipment and split ACs using HFCs accounted for 28% of the market in 2004 and are expected to have an almost 40% share of the market in 2006.