Despite the looming coronavirus scare, that’s brought the whole industry to a grinding halt, Apple saw a 78 per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth in iPhone sales in Q1, 2020.
Like the iPhone XR, its successor, the iPhone 11 has also become a runaway hit in India. Despite the looming coronavirus scare, that’s brought the whole industry to a grinding halt, Apple saw a 78 per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth in iPhone sales — on the back of the iPhone 11 — in India in the first quarter of 2020, according to data released by analysis firm Counterpoint Research.
Even though the sales numbers mostly represent a point in time when India was not under a nationwide lockdown, they’re very encouraging for Apple, considering how it’s largely seen as a brand for the affluent. Also, this goes to show that Apple’s move to flip the script and launch an “affordable” iPhone is paying rich dividends for Cupertino. The same analysis firm had pegged a 41 per cent YoY growth in iPhone shipments during the fourth quarter of 2019.
Apple isn’t the top smartphone brand in India — far from it. That will be Xiaomi. It’s not even the top smartphone brand in India to have registered the largest growth in the said period. That will be Realme. And yet, a 78% growth in iPhone sales, marks a turning point for the company in question, in India.
Apple is in the midst of perhaps its biggest India push at this point of time with CEO Tim Cook being quite vocal about India as a ‘key’ market for Cupertino’s growth in the future even as it sees sales dip in its home market. It is gearing to launch its first online store in India this year, and its first physical retail store here in 2021. The move will also help Apple bring its hallmark services like Apple Care to India as is so Apple users here would be able to make “more” out of their purchase.
Counterpoint attributes multiple discount offers on iPhones across e-commerce websites like Amazon and Flipkart, during the period, as another reason behind the surge in sales. That in addition to the fact that Apple still enjoys a sizable 55 per cent market share in India’s ultra-premium smartphone segment (meaning phones costing above Rs 45,000.)
That said, it’s a tough road ahead. Apple increased the prices of some of its iPhones in India following proposed changes made to import duty in the Union Budget 2020 — this was in March. And with the GST hike on smartphones and components coming into effect soon after, Apple had to raise the prices of its iPhones again – a second time, in almost a month. The iPhone 11 now starts at Rs 68,300 (up from Rs 64,,900) for the base 64GB variant, going all the way up to Rs 84,100 (up from Rs 79,900) for the top-end 256GB version. The 128GB variant of the iPhone 11 now costs Rs 73,600 (up from Rs 69,900).
With the ‘Made in India’ iPhone production also suspended to comply with the Government’s nationwide coronavirus lockdown, it would be interesting to see how things pan out for Apple during this quarter — and the future. Then again, all of these factors will affect other OEMs as well. Counterpoint data suggests that there could be a 10 per cent decline in smartphone shipments overall in India this year.