I am going to go out on a limb here and declare that there’s no stone Apple cannot un-turn, and not because I am a fan of all things Apple. I have just one thing to say in support of my previous statement: he who conquers the Indian market conquers it all!
The Indian market has always been a predictable one. Companies coming in here see the sheer population of the country as a huge potential for companies, but what they fail to understand is the cultural aspects that impact the purchase behaviour of Indians. If you don’t agree, you only have to be reminded of the epic failure of Dunkin’ Donuts or eBay and you will understand what point I’m trying to make.
Anyway, circling back to Apple’s India performance in Q4 2020. Stats indicate that iPhone business in India generated 2x year-on-year revenue, marking Apple’s overall business growth at 60% in the country. (Research by Counterpoint and CyberMedia). Tim Cook seems to be particularly proud of Apple’s performance in India’s emerging market. He says that the company feels very good about the trajectory and agrees that the conversion rate is relatively low as compared to the size of the opportunity here.
It hasn’t been an easy ride for the tech-giant either. Although the company has been operating in India for more than 20 years, it has not been able to gain the expected traction in terms of revenue generation. The trend of doubled up YOY sales figures has been on for a couple of years now. Even then it amounted to only a tiny 1.5 million shipments this quarter.
Perhaps what did the trick for the fourth quarter of 2020 was finding ways to cap their prices. Apple targeted the Indian audience by rolling out previous versions of the more affordable iPhones, offering lower subscription rates for services as well as manufacturing some hardware domestically. The most popular in the Indian market – iPhone 7, iPhone SE 2020, iPhone XR and iPhone 11 – are assembled locally with the help of partner suppliers. We hear that Apple may soon start doing something similar for iPhone 12 mini too.
Let’s talk about the garnishing on the Indian AppleCake story! The cherry on top was the launch of Apple Store online in September 2020, which worked wonders for brand visibility. It offered financing options, trade-in program, special pricing for students, and reduced rates for accessories and AppleCare+. We may also see an Apple offline store opening pretty soon in India.
Seems Apple’s grasp on the Indian market is strengthening, nice and slow and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for the company!