At the time when India is labelled as to be one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the world, Apple’s grip on the market seems to be slipping. This has been the company’s weakest year since 2015, with the sales of iPhone in India dropping around 40% in Q1 2019 as compared to the same time last year.
It seems not only Samsung and Google, but Apple is also facing the dilemma of decline in sales all over the globe which has once again brought India in the limelight. Not more than two years ago, the Apple CEO, Tim Cook committed that they will be working with India for 1,000 years. For the last few years, however, the sales of iPhone in India has only been plunging.
The CounterPoint Technology Market Research – a Hong-Kong based research company – has estimated that iPhone sales in India would hover 1.65 million units of iPhone in 2019, posting a 10%-17% YoY drop and over 50% decline from the peak of iPhone sales in 2017.
Not a long time ago, Apple could easily count on the people & long queue for buying it. However, with the high pricing – approx INR 1,09,000 for the top of line iPhone – and not very noticeable or compelling features added to the phones, the buyers are not attracted to exchange them for their old devices.
April might be considered as the silver lining as the shipments of iPhone in India rose to 200,000 units which were fuelled by discounts and price cuts on selected devices.
Since Apple is currently paying 20% tax on every imported handset in the country, it makes the products costlier in comparison. Local manufacturing seems to be the only way for Apple to make the iPhone more pocket-friendly in a country known for price sensitivity.
“Local manufacturing will help them bring down the price. But they need to understand that the definition of premium has changed in India after the arrival of OnePlus. Even if they manage to bring down the price, their phones will be available in the leagues of premium smartphones by Samsung and Google, and that market is less than 1%,” said Kawoosa.
The scenario for Apple in India looks quite disappointing. Instead of strengthening ground in India, Apple is fast losing to newbies like OnePlus and Samsung. From selling 1.8 million in 2016 to less than 1.7 million in 2019, Apple iPhone seems to losing the mojo much faster than expected earlier.