Apple struggles in India where fewer than a million iPhones were sold in the first half of 2018

Apple struggles in India where fewer than a million iPhones were sold in the first half of 2018
Apple CEO Tim Cook felt strongly that India would be the next China for Apple. The world's largest smartphone market, China is Apple's second largest market after the U.S. But when Chinese sales started to lag, Apple took a long hard look at India; the latter is now the second largest smartphone market globally. Because the Indian economy isn't rewarding most Indians, Apple has focused on selling older models in the country. The Apple iPhone SE and Apple iPhone 6s are manufactured in India as a way to keep consumers there from having to pay import taxes and customs on these two models.

But unlike Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer whose value priced handsets are rocketing off the shelves in India, Apple is having a hard time. According to an estimate from Counterpoint Research, Apple sold less than one million iPhone units in the first half of this year. That puts the company way behind last year's pace when Counterpoint says 3.2 million iPhones were rung up in India for all of 2017. Apple has only a 2% share of smartphone sales in the country.

To make matters worse, a trio of top Apple executives in India allegedly have left the company. According to a report from Bloomberg that cites anonymous Apple insiders, these three are the "national sales and distribution chief, the head of its commercial channels and mid-market business, and the head of telecom carrier sales." In addition, the dispatch says that Apple is in the process of restructuring its sales force in the country.

Counterpoint's Research Director Neil Shah says that Apple's inattention to the Indian market could lead it to lose whatever small market share it has. "It has not put great focus or investments into India because the market is so minuscule," Shah said. "It’s a Catch-22 situation for Apple in India."

source: Bloomberg

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29 Comments

1. maherk

Posts: 6749; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Here comes the fanboys from both camps, one side will defend while crying, the other side will celebrate while dancing. Piyath, apple-rulez, and techie, you can start fighting now.

8. apple-rulz

Posts: 1940; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

I’m glad (I think?) that I’m on your mind all the time, but sorry to disappoint you, I don’t fight. I state facts, and get attacked by butthurt fanboys that can’t accept reality. As for this article, I could care less that Apple isn’t doing well in India.

10. maherk

Posts: 6749; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

1- you wish 2- alternative facts* 3- could careless, yet you clicked on the link to maybe read it, but definitely check the comments section and see if you're favorite brand is getting attacked.

11. darkkjedii

Posts: 30899; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Well said.

15. apple-rulz

Posts: 1940; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

All I know is yours was the first comment, and myself (and two others that occupy your mind) was the most pressing thing you had to write about. Whatever turns you on I guess, I’m not going to judge you.

2. Hollowmost

Posts: 414; Member since: Oct 10, 2017

Selling 750p screen smartphone for 800$ lol what are they expecting ???

6. Humanoid

Posts: 1226; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

You forgot to mention SDR and bad Delta values

3. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Apple will likely never succeed in a place like India. The barrier to entry there is simply too high for them to clear. The first barrier is cost. Apple products cost a lot of money and India’s population isn’t overly wealthy or patently infatuated with luxury brands by default. The people of the nation are practical by their very nature and taught incredible financial fortitude. The second barrier is the sheer number of OEMs that flood the market there with cheap devices. Apple in its current iteration simply cannot compete for customers there on a cost\bargain ratio.

7. DRS1977

Posts: 678; Member since: May 27, 2015

Apple isn't a luxury brand. If you think it is, you must be extremely poor and uneducated. A homeless person can own an Apple product. Apple is sold at Walmart.

9. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

You can disagree all you'd like, but I'll take what actual economic/financial experts say as factual over the opinions of Internet riffraff such as yourself. It still doesn't change the fact most Indian citizens aren't spending that kinda money on a phone.

30. DRS1977

Posts: 678; Member since: May 27, 2015

Who are these "experts" that you speak of? Your imaginary friends? Apple isn't a luxury brand, period. Samsung isn't either and they make even more expensive products than Apple.

14. iushnt

Posts: 3083; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

You should see in the context of India. There, if you are homeless then you can’t think about owning an iPhone.

34. iampun33t

Posts: 134; Member since: Apr 17, 2013

So, a homeless person can afford a $1300 phone or a $1700 laptop? Damn you guys must have some life!

25. BearHug

Posts: 20; Member since: Jan 27, 2017

I don't think there's good reason to be ominous. India is on an upward trajectory, the only problem is that country isn't going up fast enough. Between 2006-2016, India's GDP per capital rose ~215%, China's rose ~400%. At roughly $1700, it simply isn't practical to expect Apple products to fly off the shelves (for comparison, that of the US is $57,400). However, India's population is set to surpass China's in the next 5 years. Apple has to hope that India emulates China's economic growth, as the ducks are almost all in a row. Broadband is inexpensive and phone contracts are a thing (even tho' they aren't popular). With a sufficiently high GDP per capita, they only need to sell to a small sub-section of the population to make substantial revenue, like is the case in China.

26. TheOracle1

Posts: 2151; Member since: May 04, 2015

Agreed on most points you make apart from iphones costing a lot of money. They don't cost a lot they overcharge a lot for average phones. Selling 4 year old models for more than something like a One Plus 6 is arrogant and stupid. They can rejig their salesforce until the cows come home but it won't change the fact that they're putting lipstick on a pig.

5. fyah_king unregistered

That’s why Asians are smart.lol

13. htcisthebest

Posts: 435; Member since: Nov 15, 2011

Well deserve, Apple! Hope the same downward trend will happen in China and Europe as well.

19. Pranav1993

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 15, 2018

Apple should fall in India, I'm not a Android fan boy but still paying Rs. 35000 for olddddd (s**tty )64 gb iPhone 6s that can't even play PUBG game in high graphics doesn't make any sense anyone can get one plus 6 or asus Zenfone 5z for Rs. 30000 with better display to camera to processor.

32. whattab

Posts: 16; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Just a thought to ponder, but have you considered the true power and allure of iMessage? iPhones dominate the USA with certain large demographic groups mainly because of iMessage. iMessage doesn't really have much appeal if you're in a market saturated with Androids. And those markets have their own SMS alternative - specifically WhatsApp. Strictly speaking in regards to the large amount of iPhone sales that are due to the comfort and ease of iMessage in local markets, what is the point of an iPhone in India? Having traveled to more impoverished countries and continents where you can count the number of iPhones you see on one hand per trip, I can tell you personally that if I lived in South America or India and everyone I communicated with was using WhatsApp, I would have absolutely no reason to use an iPhone. Both modern iPhones and Androids have become quite comparable quality-wise. My personal choice to use an iPhone as my daily driver is solely based on the fact that the majority of my contacts use iMessage. Only 7% of people in the USA use WhatsApp. Many on Android here in the USA use FB Messenger as their alternative to WhatsApp and I cannot stand the whole Facebook/Messenger system personally. Thus, I use iPhone. Just something to think about..?

33. TheOracle1

Posts: 2151; Member since: May 04, 2015

That's because iPhone users only know iMessage when in fact Hangouts is actually a much better app. That Apple Kool-aid must be sweet. The rest of the world uses WhatsApp because it's cross-platform and excellent at what it does. IPhone users outside the US use Whatsapp more than iMessage without withdrawal symptoms because that's what everyone else uses.

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