For the last two years, Apple has witnessed the iPhone sales slump in the United States. Along with Apple, Samsung has also experienced a decline in the sales of its premium devices. Anybody can guess that there is saturation in the smartphone market. This has inspired Apple to explore third-world markets to increase unit sales of iPhones.
India is the second largest smartphone market after China. Apple has already reduced the prices of iPhone XR in China and witnessed the growth of unit sales. Following this, Apple made some changes in its India strategy. The first major decision is to stop the sales of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Apple Plans to Discontinue iPhone 6/6 Plus in India to Bolster Its Premium Position
Unlike in China, sales growth is not the only target Apple wants to achieve in India. The tech giant wants to reinforce its premium positioning in India and wishes to increase the entry price of iPhones by more than Rs.5000/- with iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
GADGETSNOW has quoted three senior industry executives as saying, “The iPhone maker had offered the iPhone 6 (32 GB) – introduced in 2014 – at about Rs.24,900/-. The equivalent iPhone 6s version costs Rs.29,900/-. Apple has progressively increased the entry-level pricing in India from Rs.21,000/- last year for the iPhone SE, which it took off brick-and-mortar shelves to shed the discounted brand’ tag”.
One of the executives shared information that Apple has no plans to drop prices of iPhone 6s. The company has a dual purpose of reinforcing its premium brand image and increasing average selling prices.
Apple has sent clear instructions to its distributors to “exit outlets that are less than 350-400 square feet,” and that sell less than 35 phones every month.
iPhone maker has plans to add some Apple-exclusive stores, which might be called Apple Authorized Resellers.
An executive said, “Apple wants fewer trade partners in India, and to deepen the relationship with them. This is to improve the selling experience and ensure compliance of the store as per its terms. The larger Apple Premium Reseller stores, too, are a big focus area”.
Apple is going to terminate its distribution partnership with RP Tech for iPhones from April. The company will strengthen its bond with Ingram Micro and Redington. Notably, Apple had five distributors in India last year. Apple has already cut ties with Brightstar and HCL Infosystems.
These decisions are said to be taken by Ashish Chowdhary, who has taken charge as operation head of Apple India in January.
Retailers believe that iPhone sales face a continuous decline in India because of import duties and consumers’ preference for affordable premium devices like OnePlus and Samsung.
Apple has pinned some hopes on Wistron, a contract manufacturer for the company. The government of India has recently approved Wistron’s Rs.5000-crore plan to manufacture high-end iPhone models in the country.
Apple wants to retain its brand image as a premium phone maker; at the same time, the company does not want to lose Asia’s second-biggest smartphone market – India. This decision is taken to sell iPhone 6s and 6s Plus with heftier price tags.
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