Even while Asian smartphone makers (predominantly from China) continue to hold control of the booming Indian smartphone market and grow rapidly, Apple is losing its grip over the space. The Apple iPhone range isn’t quite as popular today as it was even a few years ago, and as a result Apple has been seeing reducing success from the Indian market. A WSJ report highlights how the expensive Apple iPhone range can’t quite compete against more affordable and capable devices from brands such as Samsung, Xiaomi and Oppo in India.
The report particularly highlighted a counter salesperson who stated that a single iPhone sale in a day was considered lucky, as compared to 2013 when around 80 iPhones could be sold in a single day. Apart from dropping demand for the expensive devices, some of this can also be down to the wider availability of Android devices with similar capabilities at much lower prices, as well as a shift to online buying.
This year, Apple launched the iPhone XR alongside the flagship iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, and has positioned it as the ‘budget’ iPhone, although its Rs 76,900 price tag is anything but budget. The Apple devices that do sell in India are largely the older-generation options such as the Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone SE, which can be bought at around Rs 20,000. More expensive options are finding fewer takers, even as premium brands such as OnePlus and Samsung continue to build up a user base and strong sales.
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The WSJ report further speaks about how Apple’s premium and high-margin approach might be what makes it successful and profitable in developed markets, but isn’t getting it anywhere in India. The lack of low-budget options, and the idea of spending Rs 20,000 on a smartphone that was launched four years ago aren’t helping Apple. If Apple hopes to capture more market share in places like India, it would need to change its strategy and approach considerably.