Kaul has been reportedly replaced by Michel Coulomb, who will now be the head of India sales. Coulomb is an Apple veteran having spent over 15 years in the company. In his last stint, he led the company’s sales team in South Asia, and has led teams in other countries in Middle East, Turkey and Africa. His experience from all these markets is set to help him tackle the obstacles in India.
Speaking of obstacles, Apple recently recorded its worst quarter in India in over five years. In 2016-17 fiscal year, Apple India’s sales touched $1.8 billion (Rs 11,600 crore), which is an increase of around 17 percent. This growth rate is however significantly lower than the average 40 percent growth it had been clocking until 2017.
The slow growth rate has been attributed to low demand for Apple’s new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models, as well as the impact of demonetization. Besides, the Indian government’s decision to increase import duties saw Apple marginally hiking the price of the iPhone range. All iPhones, except iPhone SE, have seen their price go up by an average of 3.1 percent.
Apple CEO Tim Cook though has continued to remain bullish about the Indian market. During the Q4 earnings call early November, Cook revealed that revenues in India had doubled year-on-year. He was also quoted as saying, “I feel like we’re making good progress there [in India] and are gaining understanding of the market, but we still have a long way to go, which I sort of see as an opportunity instead of a problem. And I do feel great about the growth rate.”