iPhones sale reportedly fell short from 3.2 million in 2017 to 1.7 million in 2018 in India. This drastic fall, if calculated is a 50% difference between the two years. This is reportedly owed to the rise of OnePlus in the competition of the premium smartphone segment. On one hand, Apple lost its credibility over the $400 price band. On the other, OnePlus reached its highest shipments during the end of third quarter of 2018. Another sad thing about Apple is that the latest models, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR are priced very high even for loyal Apple customers in India.
The blame of iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR price hike cannot be completely given to Apple. It is also because of the weak rupee that has relatively hiked the prices of goods. Tarun Pathak, associate director of Counterpoint said, “The $1,000-plus price tag for new (iPhone) models—even after the offers—was too much for the buyers. So, the older generation iPhones which used to drive volume were hit by Android flagships and new ones were costly.”
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple observed on Jan 2 that the market of his company was bleak—especially in China. And therefore—in order to compensate for its weak Chinese market—it is aiming to set a strong foothold in India. Rushabh Doshi, research manager at Singapore-based market research firm a Canalys, in a report on QZ said, “At the beginning of 2019, Apple began reining in distribution to ensure strict price control across all channels. Online retailers were no longer able to subsidise costs of the device heavily to ensure growth in GMV (gross merchandise value), thereby hurting sell-through and demand of the expensive iPhones.”
In order to counter the price hike, Apple intends to make its phones more affordable, the ones which will be manufactured in India. The cost savings would eventually be passed on to customers or used for channel expansion and marketing. 2018 was the year of a less costly iPhone, the iPhone XR, the other two models did not fare well in India in many Asian markets because of it high price. Hopefully with these smartphones being manufactured in India by Foxconn and Apple, the price can come down considerably for them to again become buyable. Otherwise OnePlus has a very strong chance to gain more ground over Apple during 2019.