Apple maybe done chasing volumes in India, even as it looks at driving value – and in turn, profit – in the world’s second largest smartphone market – a market that it has failed to crack so far. According to a new ET report, Apple has stopped selling the iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6S Plus entry-level iPhone models in India. This means, the iPhone 6S is now the most affordable iPhone that you can buy in India – which costs around Rs 8,000 more than the previous most affordable iPhone model, aka the iPhone SE.
Apple has had an improved 2018-19 in terms of revenue and profit despite the fact that iPhone sale have tanked. Apple’s sales in the April-June quarter have been particularly encouraging for Cupertino after the company unexpectedly slashed the pricing of the iPhone XR in India. Apple had never slashed the price of its next-generation iPhones prior to this - even in a market like India which is infamous for being the most expensive market to buy an iPhone.
The report suggests that not only is Apple looking to focus even less on moving large volumes, going forward, buyers in India should also not expect further discounts – even as Apple tries to make profit off every high-end iPhone it manages to sell in the country.
“Cupertino does not want Apple India to chase volumes by discounting at the cost of profit. These models which are being phased out will increase the average selling price of iPhones in India and boost both profit and revenue,” a leading trade partner of Apple was quoted as saying in the report.
Apple has been making the iPhone SE and iPhone 6 in India. Now that both these iPhone models have seemingly been discontinued, Apple can use the idle capacity to assemble other, more expensive iPhones.
Apple could start selling made in India iPhone XS and iPhone XR models in the country starting August. This means, buying a high-end iPhone may not be a distant dream for many, come August, as local assembly should give way to lowering of prices. That said, clearly, the move also comes at a cost. Now that the iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6S Plus are out of the picture, the only ones who would want to opt for a more expensive iPhone like the iPhone 6S or more flagship iPhones like the iPhone XS is if they really want to invest into the Apple ecosystem.
India is the world’s second largest smartphone market, but Apple has been unable to make the most of it – the company has a meagre 1 per cent market share in the country. And while making in India should help it to some degree, it would be interesting to see how this new-found strategy of being a premiere-only brand pans out for Apple in the days to come.