At hefty premium, Russian resellers hawk Apple Vision Pro goggles

By Thomson Reuters Feb 21, 2024 | 9:42 AM

(Reuters) – Russia’s top consumer electronics chain M.Video-Eldorado has begun sales of Apple’s brand-new Vision Pro headset in its stores, despite Apple halting exports of its products to Russia nearly two years ago.

Apple officially released the device on Feb. 2 in the United States. M.Video did not say how it managed to obtain the devices in Russia.

“M.Video-Eldorado continues to introduce Russians to the latest innovations in the world of gadgets,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday. “Store visitors will be able to personally test the new product and learn about its capabilities.”

Apple did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Retailing at $3,500 in the U.S. market, Apple’s Vision Pro mixed-reality headset allows users to browse the web, chat and even watch movies at a high resolution.

M.Video, which is offering the version with 256 GB memory for 579,999 roubles ($6,276), said it had opened product testing spaces in stores in six Russian cities, including its two flagship stores in Moscow.

Another reseller, re:Store, was offering the same version for 579,990 roubles, according to its website. It had also opened test-drive spaces in Moscow and was planning more in other Russian cities.

Apple paused all its product sales in Russia in March 2022 in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine while Western-imposed sanctions sought to curb technology exports to Russia.

A Russian tech blogger told CNBC that his team had pre-ordered the devices in New York and flew with them to Moscow.

“Through New York, Istanbul, Moscow, we brought Vision very quickly,” Sergey Romantsev, who blogs under the name “Romance768” told CNBC.

Russians have responded to the exodus of foreign brands with small-scale imports and online sellers helping to keep the goods flowing, particularly consumer items that are not subject to sanctions.

($1 = 92.4180 roubles)

(Reporting by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Alexander Marrow and Tomasz Janowski)