Tag Archives: #Apple

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.

Indian Smartphone Market: Where David is Goliath

Indian Smartphone market 1

India is ready for Apps. 5% of the handset base is smartphone. Are international developers even looking?

There are certain preconceived notions about the Indian smart phone market as seen by international app developers (iOS, Android). These has come across during my many interactions with international companies. The main fallout of these misconceptions is that India is not on the priority list of the markets the international app developers want to target.

Indian Smartphone market is negligible in size. They make up only a puny 5% of the handset base compared to developed countries. International biggies of the app world continue to focus on the north American, European and certain south-east Asian economies. This is only sensible logical thing for you to do as a savvy marketer. Put your money where your mouth is. Why customize for low priority markets? Why invest resources in a low smartphone penetration market. WRONG !

The problem is we are looking at the Indian smartphone market through the wrong lenses. There are very strong reasons why international developers should focus on India. Let me explain.

indian smartphone market

Singapore is considered a key market by International developers. Indian market is more lucrative.

1. Larger than Singapore: Singapore is considered the role model when it comes to describing target markets by app developers. All south-east Asian developers are focused on this market. There is a lot of M&A activity happening on the App front in this country. If this is an ideal market then India defeats it hands down. Singapore has 8 mn subscribers (includes all types of mobile phones)Singapore IDA Report. The puny 5% penetration of India mobile market translates into a Goliath 45 mn smartphones. The Indian smartphone market is more than 5 times larger than the Singapore mobile market. Even with lower ARPU, the total revenue outstrips the Singapore market. This in itself is reason enough to start locating the country on the map and find local go to market partners.

indian smartphone market

22 Official languages, ~2000 mother tongues. But all smartphones users know English

2. Tower of Babel: There are 22 official languages recognized by the Constitution of India. There are almost 2000 mother tongues. Unlike Philippines whose script is the English Alphabet, each of them have the Indian languages have their own scripts. As a result, many companies believe that only a small “English educated” percentage of the 43 mn smartphone users can use the apps. So the Indian market is not worth targeting as real user base will be much smaller. However thanks to the British, anyone who can afford to buy a smartphone today in India, knows enough English to use apps and services on it. Obviously there is a for higher usage or engagement if vernacular scripts are used, but it is not a show stopper if a developer wants to target India. Indian smartphone users are English “aware”.

indian smartphone market

25 Bn App downloads in India in 2012. The exponential growth will continue as smartphone growth is estimated at 100%

3. Growth rate: There are 2 growth rates which as a developer should make you jump of the fence if you are still undecided. Last year 25 Bn apps were downloaded in India. The rate of download is only accelerating thanks to the growth rate of smartphones. In 2012, 15.2 mn smartphones were sold by Apple, Samsung, Nokia, LG, Micromax, Sony along with others. That is a huge 20.8% growth rate over 2011. It is estimated that the Indian smartphone market will sell 44 mn units in 2013 which comes to a whopping 100% growth. It will be driven by sub $200 smartphones and these will in turn lead to exponential app download growth. The market has forced Apple to revamp its distribution while existing market leaders Samsung and Nokia push smartphones to even smaller and smaller towns.

So what are you waiting for? Be the early movers before the market becomes totally cluttered and you fight to find space for your amazing apps!