Apple’s iPhone strategy fails in India as sales fall flat

iPhone X
Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash

There’s a new report out about Apple’s struggles in India, no surprise given how expensive the iPhone is in the nation. Turns out, selling handsets for a lakh isn’t great for business, especially in a country where mid-range devices are king.

The Wall Street Journal (via 9to5Mac) dug deep to find out just how things went so very wrong for Apple. It highlights the story of one particular seller, Amit Rajput, who apparently used to sell 80 iPhones a day back in 2013. Now he says it’s lucky if he manages to sell one iPhone. To make things worse, his co-workers sell more than 10 Samsung, Nokia, and Oppo smartphones daily.

Apple VS Samsung VS OnePlus

This sudden dip is reflected in market numbers as well. Sales have dropped by over 40% in 2018 as compared to 2017. Apple’s market share in India has fallen from 2% to a mere 1%. Rivals like OnePlus and Samsung have claimed a bigger piece of the pie with more competitive prices and specs.

The report thinks part of the problem is Apple’s reluctance to change its strategy for the Indian market. Instead of adjusting rates so people can actually buy iPhones without causing a huge dent in their bank balance, the brand has continued to sell the handsets at a huge premium.

This might be great for revenue, but it’s bad for sales. Apple is even seeing declining sales in the US, hence the sudden leap to offer big trade-in discounts for the iPhone XS and iPhone XR. The company’s not doing anything like that in India, in spite of its struggles.

Also Read: Apple slashes iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 7, iPhone 6S price in India

Another key problem highlighted by the report is how limited Apple is in terms of range. It sells a couple of handsets at a high rate. This is fine in the US where carriers bundle deals and spread the cost over 24 months. But countries like India directly pay for iPhones. Sure, there are low-cost EMI options, but then you’d end up paying interest for an already expensive device.

Apple is still waiting for the Indian government to give it the green signal so it can open its own stores. It’s not clear how this would change things since iPhones will still be too pricey for consumers, whether they’re from a reseller or an official store. Maybe a Made in India iPhone SE 2 would turn things around, but that seems like wishful thinking at this point.