The year 2019 saw a complete turnaround in Apple’s market share and presence in India. Attractive price drops on previous-generation iPhone models, affordable newer flagship models, and attractive schemes fuelled this turnaround. Not only older and new-generation models but also Apple Watches, AirPods Pro and Mac desktops witnessed great adoption. Going forward, thrust on manufacturing high-end iPhones locally along with the first-ever flagship retail store would give Apple a booster in the price-sensitive smartphone market in 2020, say, industry experts.
“Apple recovered in the Indian market in 2019 after a sharp decline in 2018. 2020 is going to be important, as this is the year when the company has the strongest-ever portfolio. This includes the iPhone XR, iPhone 11 and iPhone 8. It will be very relevant to the growth of the company in India. There is also a lot of speculation about iPhone SE2 coming this year,” Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research, told IANS. To recall, Apple supplier Wistron assembled low-end iPhone SE (now discontinued) and is now assembling iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 at its Bengaluru facility.
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The highest-selling iPhone XR is now being manufactured at Apple supplier Foxconn’s facility in Sriperumbudur, Chennai. Media reports say that the Cupertino-based tech giant may launch two iPhone SE 2 models with 5.5-inch and 6.1-inch displays. Famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also hinted at a second iPhone SE2 model in the first half of 2021. Another Eureka moment for Apple could be its flagship store in India.
Apple Retail presence to be the key
Apple is expanding its retail footprint and India appeared on its global map last year in August. The company said it looks forward to welcoming customers at its first branded retail store in India soon. Apple added, “We appreciate the support and hard work by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team to make this possible and we look forward to one day welcoming customers to India’s first Apple retail store.” It welcomed the decision to ease the 30 percent local sourcing norm in single-brand retail.
Pathak said that a revamped channel strategy and local manufacturing will ensure duty benefits and much-streamlined operations. According to Upasana Joshi, Associate Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India, for the coming quarters, the company should continue to focus more on the $700-$850 (Rs 50,000- Rs 61,000) segment. “That is the sweet spot for iPhones in India with added attractive offers for making the new model lineup a little more affordable, however, continuing to focus on older generation portfolio for volume growth,” she elaborated.
Apple topped the premium smartphone segment with a massive 51.3 percent share in the above Rs 35,000 in Q3. Apple also regained the top position in the premium segment in India in Q2 with a 41.2 percent share. Mac desktops helped Apple register record growth in the India market in the July-September period, according to the company. “2020 is likely to be a strong year for the company in India,” Pathak said. Beyond the retail presence and strong adoption rate, the gradual price increase of all smartphones will also help Apple.
With inputs from IANS