India has become one of the fastest growing markets for Apple’s iconic iPhone handsets beyond China, helped by a tweaking of its sales strategy to make the smartphone affordable in the world’s third largest market for such devices.
During the quarter through December, Apple sold about 8,00,000 iPhones in India, a 60% increase in unit sales compared to a year earlier, says Tarun Pathak, senior analyst for mobile devices and ecosystems at Counterpoint Research.
“India is now one of the high potential markets in APAC (Asia Pacific) region beyond China for Apple, not only in terms of volume but also the massive scale and opportunity that lie ahead,” Pathak says.
Better sales were helped by Apple’s move to allow retailers and distributors to tweak prices and offer discounts, price cut for its iPhone 5S model, and expansion of its distribution network during the quarter after the launch of its iPhone 6 plus did not have the desired take off due to high pricing in a cost-sensitive market. “Since last year, Apple has expanded distribution with five distributors in all, and today, has more reach in India,”he said.
The latest quarter numbers, comes after a stupendous fiscal year for Apple, as it shipped 55% more iPhones, or 1.7 million units, compared a year earlier. The Cupertino-based company follows a October to September financial year. Apple is scheduled to announce its latest quarter numbers later today.
In its earnings, Apple reports financials and sales for five regions – Americas, Europe, Greater China, Japan and Rest of Asia Pacific. The U.S.-based company categorises India as part of its European region for its operations and reporting of its earnings.
During its last fiscal, Apple’s home-market, the America’s grew 17% from a year earlier, while Europe grew 14% and Greater China rose 84%. Japan and Asia Pacific grew 3% and 34% respectively, according to the company’s filings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Sales contribution from the American region contracted to 40% from 44% a year earlier, while Europe also narrowed to 22% from 24% on-year. Greater China’s contribution came in higher at 25% from 17%, Japan fell to 7% from 8%, and Asia Pacific stood flat at 6%, Apple’s filing showed.
The better sales in India comes at a time when analysts and investors are worried about returns on their investments into Apple’s stocks, after many of the component suppliers had reported cut down in orders from the company.