What you need to know
- Apple's iPhone fortunes in India have finally turned around.
- Shipments were up 6% in 2019, compared to a 43% decline the year before.
- Apple's decision to discount the iPhone XR by $250 made it the best selling iPhone in the country.
Apple's iPhone shipments in India grew by 6% in 2019, compared to a 43% decline the year prior.
According to Bloomberg:
Apple Inc.'s iPhone shipments in India grew 6% in 2019 compared with a 43% decline in the previous year, stabilizing its position in a rare market that still exhibits growth in smartphone demand. Discounting the iPhone XR by $250 in the middle of the year made it Apple's best-selling phone in the country, according to Counterpoint Technology Market Research. The fall introduction of the iPhone 11, with a reduced starting price, "helped to gain share during the festive season and in its launch quarter in India," the researchers added.
The report notes that Apple's premium pricing hasn't been competitive in India's market. By comparison, Android rival devices, which have much lower average prices, have shipped roughly 158 million units last year, compared to Apple's meager 2 million.
Another reason for Apple's growth last year was its decision to push the latest models, not older-generation phones in the country. The report notes that the iPhone 11 was made available just one month after launch, a "significant acceleration on previous years."
The Counterpoint data also seems to suggest that India's Premium smartphone segment is growing much faster than the local smartphone market as a whole. iPhone sales have also been buoyed by the implementation of its iPhone Upgrade Program, which offers zero-interest monthly installments.
Whilst Apple may have stopped the bleeding of 2018 when its iPhone shipments fell by 43%, there's still a long way to go before it returns to the success it enjoyed in 2016.
Apple's first-ever store in the country is expected to open in September of this year and will be located in Mumbai's Maker Maxity Mall. Apple and its supply chain partners have doubled down on efforts to increase their manufacturing base in the country.