Apple rebuilding India strategy after weak iPhone sales

Apple iPhone X

Apple India is going through some major changes. The ball first started rolling with the arrival of a new India head, Michel Coulomb. He decided to put an end to deep iPhone discounts in the country last month and has now doubled down on that strategy while letting go of key executives from the brand’s leadership team.

Four senior industry executives told the Economic Times that Apple is going to blacklist retailers who buy stock from wholesalers who are offering goods at a discount. Anyone who tries risks getting their supply stopped. They won’t be able to offer officially-sanctioned EMIs or cashbacks either.

No iPhone Discounts

Since the retailers won’t be getting a discount, consumers probably won’t be getting one either. Apple’s previous India head had favored gaining sales through cuts and rapid expansion, but this wasn’t really working out in its favor since its market share had remained stagnant at 2 – 3% for 5 years.

In fact, Bloomberg reports that Apple sold less than a million iPhones in India in the first half of 2018, as calculated by Counterpoint Research. This is clearly a big cause for concern, but the sales team still seems to be direction-less since the company appears to have difficulties understanding the nation.

One of the biggest challenges facing Apple is the price of its iPhones. High taxes and custom duties translate to rates which are out of reach of most consumers. This might be the way the firm wants it though, since it apparently doesn’t like the fact that its premium status has gotten diluted with endless markdowns.

Also Read: Made in India iPhone 6S going up for sale soon

Another way Apple’s going to climb back to its premium glory is by ditching smaller neighborhood stores and focusing on franchisee-owned exclusive Apple Premium Resellers and large retail chains to provide a complete sales experience. It’s planning on opening up 1000 smaller exclusive stores to make this possible.

All these changes are happening in the middle of a major restructuring of Apple’s sales team. 3 high-level executives handling things like national sales, distribution, and telecom carrier sales have left. Many more are expected to go, replaced by a fresh team on-board with the brand’s new strategy.