The recent price cuts from Apple in India have now created a new paradigm. Something that has never happened before — the iPhone 5S in India has become the cheapest iPhone in the world! On the other hand, the Indian iPhone 6S Plus holds the distinction of being the costliest iPhone in the world!
The price difference is startling. Costing nearly six figures, the big brother of all iPhones is currently almost as dear as a second hand Tata Nano!
Meanwhile, the Space Grey, 16 GB variant of the iPhone 5S is available for as little as INR 20,399! If you thought you would never live to see the day when the OnePlus Two would be more expensive than the iPhone, well then, open your eyes!!
The trouble with India is that we have very high import duties, especially on “non-essentials/luxury items”. As a result, iPhones end up being more expensive here than in other parts of the world. And in a price sensitive market like India, high prices and high sales will always be inversely proportional.
To make things worse, earlier Samsung was the only noticeable competition, but now Apple also has to compete with the likes of Yu and OnePlus in the mid bracket range. It turned into a do-or-die for Apple. That’s why in the last quarter (Oct-Dec 2015) alone, Apple slashed the price of 5S as many as three times. And we loved it!
“Indian consumers are very price-conscious, unlike in the US where price elasticity is very small and sales are steady and continuous,” Neil Shah, Director at Counterpoint Research, told Mashable. “In India, there is peak and trough in sales so Apple is unable to maintain its steady pricing.”
The 5S is definitely not the best smartphone out there, but it is the most successful iPhone in India. Having sold over 12 lakh units, it accounts for almost half of the the total iPhone sales here, which hover around the 35 lakh mark. After all, with its price bracket now considerably reduced, it gives a whole new target audience a peek into the Apple ecosystem.
By letting more people experience “Brand Apple”, it’s clear that Apple is sacrificing short-term profits with the view of building a stable consumer base. Users, once they’re hooked to the platform, will not hesitate to spend on other devices to enhance their experience further.
On the other end of the spectrum, Apple seems to be in no mood to let go of its snob value among Indian rich. Therefore, the latest iPhones were launched at the highest cost in India. Yes, the prices for 6S models have also started to tumble but that’s mainly for the base models. Top of the line iPhones still are a novelty and are likely to remain that way.
Whatever be the case, for now we are just happy that Apple is making a conscious effort at making a place for itself in the Indian market. We would love to see more competitive pricing from Apple among its other products, especially the MacBook and the iPad line-up.
Will it actually happen is a tale only time will tell. For now, we are keeping our hopes high, and our savings account healthy.