Russia — AliExpress Future is Bleak

  • A list circulated on how to find counterfeit items on AliExpress.
  • The Russian government implemented import tariffs on AliExpress items.
  • AliExpress will not be able to compete for Russian customers much longer.

The e-commerce wholesale platforms continue to grow. In 2020, online retailers saw a sharp increase in sales. The Coronavirus pandemic that spread around the world contributed to a change in shopping preferences for consumers. However, China has been one of the largest contributors of counterfeit products’ sales and manufacturing.

The knock off Jacquemus Bag listed on Aliexpress marketplace.

China blatantly disregards the copyright laws. Recently, a list surfaced in Russia, supposedly compiled on behalf of AliExpress paid reviewers in Russia on how to search for counterfeit brand name products on the platform.

Apparently, it aids AliExpress to circumvent liability for knowingly selling counterfeit products.

The list is used by the buyers to purchase the knockoffs at a low price, and afterward, re-list the items, claiming that they are authentic on Amazon and eBay platforms. The list is extensive.

The brand name list and corresponding codes for some of the brands:

  1. Adidas (Adi)
  2. Armani (Armaniingly)
  3. Bvlgari (Bvl jewelry)
  4. Calvin Klein (Calvin Boxers)
  5. Converse (Chuck shoes)
  6. Dior (Di*r)
  7. Gucci (GG brand)
  8. Louis Vuitton (Louis Bag)

Moreover, there are already pre-made links circulated with counterfeit MAC and Kylie Jenner beauty products to purchase on AliExpress. Nevertheless, many consumers in Russia are getting tired of being duped by the counterfeit products and there is a culture emerging amongst millennials that steers away from counterfeit products.

AliExpress’ official policy prohibits the sale of counterfeit products. However, it is just that, a policy, that is not enforced by Alibaba. In reality, counterfeit sellers continue to thrive on the platform.

Unsuspecting customers who do not have a desire to purchase the fake products do not have much protection. AliExpress rarely acknowledges the fact that the item received is actually counterfeit.

The Russian government listened to the complaints from Russian consumers and businesses, and in the beginning of this year, the laws have been changed. Going forward, the goods from AliExpress would have to include significant import taxes. The first €50 are not subject to the new import taxes into Russia.

The Jacquemus knock off bag.

In 2022, the import tariffs would have to be paid on everything over €20. The tariffs are going to be at 15% on top of the Russian taxes.

Therefore, AliExpress slowly would have to be phased out from the Russian market. The demand from the Russian populous would decrease significantly.

The same sentiment would be felt from the Russian wholesale buyers, who purchase their inventory from the AliExpress marketplace.

Therefore, it could be a good opportunity for the smaller and new marketplaces to enter the Russian e-commerce market. There are possibilities to gauge Russian consumers to purchase from reputable wholesale sites that are transparent and guarantee the authenticity of the products.

According to Reuters, e-commerce penetration in Russia has increased from 7% of total retail sales in 2019 to about 11% in 2020, though that is still less than in the United States, where penetration is about 19%.

Overall, it is clear, regardless of the close trade relationship between Russia and China, that AliExpress’ business practices are turning off the Russian consumers and the Russian government.

Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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