Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed a bill introducing compulsory labeling with an RFID chip of all shoes on the domestic market starting from July 1, 2019. The decision is intended to wipe counterfeit products from the store shelves.
With a special application on their mobile devices, customers will be able to scan the shoes in order to obtain information about the product. A similar system has already proved its value in other segments such as the sale of alcoholic beverages. The government estimates that the new control measure would not affect the average price of shoes in the domestic market.
In addition, the Russian Federal Parliament is currently considering a bill tightening the liabilities charged for importing or distributing counterfeit products on the Russian market. Among other measures, the lawmakers are considering the implementation of higher fines for suppliers of fake products. The money from these fines would be used to destroy the counterfeit products.
Earlier this year, Russian authorities reported that inspections made in the last months of 2017 showed that almost every second batch of light industry products imported into the country, including shoes and clothing, was counterfeit.
Between 25 and 35 percent of all the shoes sold on the Russian market are fake, according to a Russian consulting agency, the Fashion Consulting Group, which estimates the size of the total Russian shoe market at the equivalent of $10.9 billion in 2017. Most of those shoes are being imported from China, Singapore and India, the agency says, but there is some evidence that some of the counterfeit shoes that were previously imported are now produced in Russia because of the devaluation of the ruble and rising labor costs in Asia.
A study conducted three years ago by another consulting agency, BusinesStat, showed that counterfeit products were accounting then for 47.6 percent of the shoes sold in the country. A survey conducted last March by another Russian consultancy, Brand Monitor, indicates that nearly 86 percent of the country's consumers across all its regions tend to buy fake shoes because of their attractive prices. The highest levels of tolerance were found in the Far East and the North Caucasus, and the lowest level in Moscow.