- Four years after the crisis following a sharp decline in energy prices which led to a significant decline in construction activity, the Russian market for natural stone now seems to have stabilised, though at a much lower level of demand.
- In the new economic environment where the local currency, the rubble, is now much more weaker than before, the local industry has received a significant boost. Local stone being much cheaper now, has substituted imported stone in many applications. However, there seems to be shortage of processed local stone and import of semi-processed and processed stone and even blocks has increased in comparative terms.
- The biggest application currently is in demand for kerbstones, this increase in demand coming mainly due to the government policy named ”My Street” by which tens of thousands of kerbstones are being laid in Moscow and other cities of the vast country. As a consequence some local manufacturers of kerbstones have more than doubled their production capacities.
- Investment in production enhancing machinery for slabs and tiles is no longer taking place. However, there seems to be some revival in investment in CNC and other machines used by stonemasons. The major Russian stone companies are doing much better than before, and also doing better than the smaller stone companies.
- Russia has now become a price sensitive market when observed by outsiders, unlike the period before 2014 when price was a minor criteria in making decisions on use of natural stone. For the end consumers price, except in the luxury segment, price is now the main determining factor.
- The stonemasons and other stone suppliers have observed that the design element has become much more simple now. Before there used to be many more colours of marble and granite in demand, of mosaics and incrustations, columns etc. Now, it is more of minimalism, white, grey, brown, book-matching, simple lines and clean slabs on walls.
- Currently 5 new metro stations are in the construction stage in Moscow where both imported and local stone is expected to be used. More metro stations are planned in the future.
- The increased demand for natural stone is now not as much in Moscow as in other cities of the country.
- Imported stone continues to show a modest improvement in demand, though it is nowhere comparable to the pre-2014 period.
- Artificial stone imported from other countries still holds a very small market share but its sales are increasing steadily.
- For the foreign stone exporters getting consignment through customs remains a major handicap, especially for European manufacturers.
Note: Our thanks to Anna Ivanova and Mikhael Selezniov for the information provided.