iPhone sales in India in 2012 & 2013: Behind the Scenes Story

iPhone sales in India has grown phenomenally fast. Becomes a focus market for Tim Cook from 2013 onwards

Rs 15000/- introduction of iPhone 4 attempt to woo value driven Indian consumer and increase its 2% market share. Increased competition from Nokia, Micromax and Karbonn not to mention the elephant in the room, Samsung


In Jul 2012, Tim Cook had famously said in an earning conference call: “I love India, but I believe Apple has some higher potential in the intermediate term in some other countries. This doesn’t mean we’re not putting emphasis in India. We have a business there and it’s but my own perspective is that, in the intermediate term, there will be larger opportunities outside….”. The blame was on the multi-layered Indian mobile distribution setup.

iPhone sales in India

iPhone sales in India has grown in 2013 compared to 2012

Fast forward to 2014. Apple is expected to cross the magical 1 million units sold in India. It will enter the $1 billion turnover club.

Apple would have ended 2013 with around 800K units sale volume. It had ended 2012 with 300K units.

Behind the scenes of iPhone sales in India

Distribution: Apple has experimented with its distribution structure. Initially it launched with telecom operators. Then it changed its sales model of  to selling iPhones from retail stores by appointing two distributors Ingram Micro and Redington. Sales increased by 55%.  In 2014, it will continue to increase retail presence in more towns.

Launch Timings: Starting with the iPhone 4, Indian launches are now synced with the global launch calendar. This drive sales nos in India. Case in point iPhone 5s was out of stock in India within 24 hrs of launch. Last year’s Dec iPhone 5 launch saw it sales nos zoom to 250K in Q4’13.

iPhone sales in India

Marketing initiatives by Apple has seen increase in sales volumes post launch

 Marketing Campaigns: Apple has become very bullish for the Indian market. This is reflective in the slew of marketing initiatives it is running in India. The iPhone sales in India is directly correlated to the launch of each new initiative. Apple is running television commercials on all major channels projecting its unique brand positioning. This has been supported by major Buy-Back schemes and 0% interest EMIs from all major Indian banks. These tactical moves were started with the iPhone 4. The success of this made Apple replicate across models including iPads.

Value Pricing of iPhone: Apple is going to relaunch the much popular iPhone 4 at a lower price range of around Rs 15000 from the earlier price of Rs 26500 according to ET. Apple hopes that this move will attract aspirants who would love to have an iPhone even if it’s an older model. Before production was stopped in Sep’13, the iPhone4 used to account for almost 15-20% of sales compared with Samsung’s 50% in the Rs15,000- Rs 20,000 segment. Now Samsung has more than 70% share. However this erodes profit margins for Apple in India.

The Apple potential is still unfolding. Samsung and Micromax sells 8 to 10 times the volume of Apple. They are introducing million of users to the Android ecosystem. Apple has a battle royal in front of it to popularize the iOS devices and services. The steps taken till now are in the right direction as Apple has evolved as a key player in Indian OEM scene. Would be great if you can share your views on the same.

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