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Apple's iPhone dominated India's premium smartphone segment in Q4 2019

Apple's iPhone dominated India's premium smartphone segment in Q4 2019
Apple has struggled to compete in the Indian smartphone market for years and things only got worse in 2019. However, strategy changes in recent months appear to have sparked a drastic turnaround for the Cupertino giant.

The iPhone 11 and price cuts helped Apple

According to a report (via Gadget360) by the International Data Corporation (IDC), Apple captured a massive 75.6% of the premium smartphone segment in India between October and December. The latter is growing rapidly (29% year-on-year, according to Counterpoint Research) and includes all devices priced above $500.

Nevertheless, it still only accounts for a tiny portion of Indian smartphone sales each year – Apple's overall market share was 2%. That’s because the average annual income is less than $1,900, which means an iPhone purchase could cost somebody the equivalent of several monthly salaries.

Apple experienced growth in India during the second half of the year, according to IDC India Research Director Navkendar Singh, thanks to “price drops on previous-generation iPhone models” such as the iPhone 7, iPhone 8, and iPhone XR.

Additional promotions such as cashbacks and monthly installment plans through online retail platforms contributed massively too, especially during the Diwali festive season in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Helping further improve Apple’s situation was the iPhone 11. It launched at a lower price point than its predecessor, the iPhone XR, and Indian consumers have so far reacted extremely positively to the change.

This momentum is expected to continue over the coming months and should help Apple keep up with Samsung and OnePlus, which occupied the second and first place positions in the premium market respectively last year.

The iPhone 9 could be a crucial device for Apple

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Plus will hopefully continue this trajectory when they debut in September, but before that Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 9 which could drastically boost demand for iPhones in India.

Rumor has it the smartphone is going to feature an outdated design because it’s based on the iPhone 8, which is expected to be discontinued alongside the iPhone 8 Plus. However, the new device should be cheaper than the latter and feature a decent specs bump which will make it a more attractive option.

Expected on the inside is the A13 Bionic chipset, also found in the iPhone 11, alongside 3GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Apple will undoubtedly pre-install iOS 13 but is probably going to use a tiny 1,821mAh battery.

The iPhone 9 is on track to be announced in late March alongside the 2020 iPad Pro series. Apple has reportedly ordered an impressive 30 million units of the smartphone, suggesting it’s preparing for strong launch demand across the globe.

Apple Watch and AirPods performed well too

Although the iPhone remains Apple’s main focus in India, Navkendar Singh revealed the company has also experienced strong growth in the wearables segment recently thanks to the Apple Watch and AirPods lines.

The Apple Watch Series 3 has proven extremely popular among consumers thanks to significant price reductions upon the debut of the Series 5 models. Apple’s most recent smartwatch, on the other hand, has also sold quite well because of promotional discounts.

IDC didn’t provide detailed data on the performance of Apple’s AirPods line or the recent AirPods Pro launch in India, but Apple is struggling to keep up with demand globally and this may also be the case in India.

Lastly, it's claimed the 2018 iPad helped further consolidate the Silicon Valley-based company's position at the top of the local tablet market. 


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