Apple, iPhone

Apple recently published its third quarter results. While the company had a lot of good to report, its sales forecasts for the upcoming quarter, specially for the iPhone, were rather dismal – with CEO Tim Cook blaming India and other emerging markets for the less-than-optimal predictions.

A report from industry research firm Counterpoint seems to affirm Apple’s suspicions. According to the research performed by the firm, iPhone sales are set to see a decline in India, for the first time in four years. Despite the festive season, iPhone sales have remained flat so far, which is disappointing considering the fact that a significant percentage of people wait for this season to make large purchases, due to cultural and economic reasons.

As per Neil Shah of Counterpoint Research, iPhone sales numbers for the quarter stood in the range of 700,000 to 800,000 units, which is a hefty decrease of somewhere between 20-30 percent from a year ago. The Cupertino based tech giant is slated to sell around 2-million devices for the whole of 2018, which is pretty dismal when you consider that it sold almost 1-million devices in the fourth quarter, last year.

Sales are set to drop for the first time in four years. If you look at Q3 – it was 900k last year and this (year) is almost 450k.

India has always been a price conscious market, and as Apple releases progressively more expensive devices, it is easy to see why its sales are dropping. A weakening rupee is also contributing to fall in sale figures.

Apple recently stopped reporting sale numbers. The understanding is that as markets reach saturation, Apple will aim to maintain and increase revenue through auxiliary services, and by releasing more expensive iPhones. Clearly, that strategy does not seem to be working out in India, which with its huge population, can prove to be a very appetizing market if only Apple can penetrate into it.

To me, it seems as if the only solution for Apple is to drop prices, release special, moderately-priced variants for the country, or amp up the hype around, and start selling past models. Whether it takes one of these ways, or comes up with another strategy that can help it capitalize upon India’s massive population, is something that we will have to wait and watch out for.

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