Most Russian companies managed to adapt to the sanctions and find new suppliers within a year—entrepreneurs surveyed by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs are less likely to report a critical need for replacement of equipment, components and materials. Domestic suppliers managed to replace raw materials, materials, services and software. However, companies preferred to purchase equipment and components from new foreign contractors; some companies managed to arrange supplies from unfriendly countries. The development of domestic production is limited by a lack of competencies and market capacity, and the export capabilities of companies have decreased – both the number of directions of foreign trade and its volumes have decreased. The survey does not record a noticeable reorientation of business to the East.
A new study by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) indicates that companies have successfully adapted to sanctions: compared to last year, the severity of the problem of import substitution has decreased in all categories of products – equipment, components and assemblies, materials, raw materials (the survey was conducted among 150 large and small companies ). If in 2022 about 30% of entrepreneurs reported a critical need for product replacement, then this figure ranges from 3.1% (purchase of raw materials) to 14.8% (purchase of equipment). However, the need for replacement still remains high: it was stated for 13.8% of companies when purchasing raw materials and for 37–38% when purchasing equipment and components.
The main problem of companies when trying to replace imports is the lack of Russian analogues or their noticeably worse quality, said more than half of those surveyed. If the quality is comparable, then the Russian one turns out to be more expensive than the imported one.
Most companies are not ready to replace foreign products on their own: for example, to create a vertically integrated production of components, according to 74% of respondents, there are not enough competencies and scientific and technical base; more than half note insufficient demand from Russian companies to achieve economies of scale. Only a third of respondents have plans to occupy the niches of foreign companies that have left the Russian Federation; only 6.5% of respondents have already occupied them. Manufacturers of import-substituting products naturally announced plans to organize their own production, but the majority (90%) of their customers are not ready to organize such production themselves.
As a result, the share of answers about the success of import substitution using our own resources fluctuates at the level of 1%, for services and software – above 5%. In the domestic market, companies managed to find suppliers of materials (this was reported by 69% of enterprises), raw materials (73%), services (76%) and software (79%). As for equipment, components and assemblies, more than half of entrepreneurs preferred to find new foreign suppliers – already from friendly jurisdictions. About a third of this group switched to purchasing products from Russian manufacturers. A tenth found opportunities to purchase equipment, components and assemblies, materials and software from suppliers from unfriendly countries – using intermediary structures and more complex supply schemes.
Many companies (39%) are developing their own supply chain: to do this, they simplify access to markets for supplying companies (consultations, etc.), provide them with infrastructure and participate in programs for the development of human capital and competencies. On the part of the state, the most in demand for import substitution, according to companies, are the distribution of benefits to manufacturers, stimulation of demand for domestic products, assistance in solving the problem of personnel shortages and the development of incentives for research and development (R&D). At the bottom of the list were the so far non-functional “right to risk”, protectionist measures (customs and tariff policy) and support for the export of import-substituting products.
A separate block of the RSPP study is devoted to the export activities of companies. The share of exports in the revenue of organizations averaged 26% before the start of the military operation, and after that – 20%. Exports decreased for a fifth of companies. The share of companies with an export share of revenue within 5% increased (from 26% to 38%), the share of companies with an indicator of 25–50% decreased (from 26% to 16%). At the same time, about 20% of survey participants reported that their export earnings increased after February 24, 2022. Geographically, companies increased exports to the EAEU countries: before the military operation, 77% of companies carried out foreign trade there, and after that, 90%. Only 20% of respondents continued to work in European markets, previously – 63%. The situation in the markets of the countries of South, South-East and East Asia has not changed: about a third of enterprises supplied and continue to supply there. At the same time, supplies to the markets of the Middle East even decreased slightly – from 28% to 23%, and to the markets of South America – from 28% to 13%. Thus, company data does not yet reveal a reversal of export supplies to new directions.