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Apple’s iPhone strategy isn’t working in India

Published Dec 18th, 2018 11:30PM EST
iPhone Sales In India
Image: Zach Epstein for BGR

In a best case scenario, iPhone sales are seemingly stagnant. In a worse case scenario, iPhone sales are still trending downward. Just last quarter, for example, year-over-year iPhone sales remained unchanged. And though Apple still managed to boost iPhone-based revenue by an impressive 29%, the emerging narrative has been that we’ve reached peak iPhone.

Compounding matters is that once promising markets abroad haven’t exactly provided a cushion from declining sales elsewhere. So while iPhone sales in places like China have remained somewhat robust, the same can’t be said of India. Boasting a population of nearly 1.3 billion people, Apple has long eyed the Indian market with big eyes. Alas, a new report from The Wall Street Journal relays that the iPhone simply isn’t selling in a meaningful way in the country.

As for specifics, the Journal relays that iPhone-based revenue in the country is about half of what Apple initially anticipated. And part of the problem, not surprisingly, is that Apple’s product line now consists of high-end premium devices with limited quantities of a low-cost model now that the iPhone SE has been discontinued.

The Journal reports:

At the heart of the issue is Apple’s reluctance to change its traditional business model for selling the iPhone. Rather than make a range of handsets, it has prioritized a limited number of coveted products, sold at high prices—a strategy that revived the company after near bankruptcy in 1997 and helped make it the first U.S. public company to reach a $1 trillion valuation.

The lack of a low-cost option in Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup is peculiar and suggests that Apple is either willfully or naively ignoring the fact that most smartphones available in India are priced relatively low. It also suggests that Apple is wholly unaware that its current pricing matrix for iPhone models is far higher than what most Indian consumers can realistically afford.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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