Billionaires Suffer from Consumer Discomfort
RIA Novosti, by Yana Yukova) — Analysts believe about 16,000-20,000
dollar multi-millionaires live in Russia today.
although run-of-the-mill millionaires are very happy with their
lives, the organizers of a new cross-marketing project called
Vladenie think the superrich are experiencing some discomfort.
The project takes its name from a Russian word, "vladenie,"
which has a broad meaning stretching from property to a manor,
and involves producers, designers and distributors of items costing
$1 million and upwards (aircraft, yachts, real estate, vintage
project organizers believe that it is hard for wealthy people
in Russia to find their bearings and use their millions wisely.
The problem is that the Russian market is mainly oriented to either
the poor or middle class. In such circumstances, billionaires
are hard put to satisfy their needs. The Vladenie project was
launched as an attempt to find a niche that could satisfy the
needs of the superrich. Now, if you are looking for a yacht, you
can pick up the phone and dial the number of the project’s call-center,
place an order and wait a while.
working in the raw materials sector, industry, and other exporters
and importers, are the main buyers of elite goods. According to
them, Russia’s macroeconomic stability and high oil prices have
substantially increased the Russian elite’s welfare. As a result,
the demand for deluxe goods and services has risen by over 200%
in the past three years. Today, the luxury goods market is worth
about $4 billion. Indeed, 2004 alone saw twice as many yachts
sold for over $1 million as in 2003. Forty-five percent more business
class aircraft were sold. The project’s marketing experts believe
their scheme will help increase aggregate sales of such goods
by $100 million this year.
Vladenie team is continuing to expand the range of services on
offer. For example, its catalogue includes Abyssinianmares, islands,
and, perhaps, stars. Each client will receive a bonus card. For
example, after totting up enough points, a billionaire can receive
a personal birthday greetings from a famous actor or musician.
all appearances, Russian society’s stratification is becoming
increasingly obvious, and the gulf between the rich and the poor
is rapidly widening. According to the Federal Statistics Service,
10% of the wealthiest people in Russia shared 29.8% of the total
incomes in 2004, and 10% of Russians with low incomes received
only 2%. The average income of the poorest people in Russia (1.9%)
did not even reach $30 a month per capita.
39 million Russians live in poverty. The minimum subsistence level
declared by legislators for the whole country is absurd: about
$60 per month per capita, and $45 for a pensioner, while average
monthly incomes are only about $130.
at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of the Population’s
Socio-Economic Problems say rich Russians today account for 3%
of the nation, the middle class 20%, people with low incomes 40%,
people with incomes below the subsistence level 20%, and the poorest
people (who can barely afford to eat properly) 7%, while social
outcasts make up 10%, or nearly 14 million people.