Apple has plans for boosting iPhone sales in world’s second biggest market


India iPhone sales
Apple is planning to stop selling its cheapest iPhones in India.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is trying a new strategy to boost struggling iPhone sales in India, the world’s second largest country by population. Unfortunately, it’s one that’s going to make the base model iPhones even more expensive for the local population.

According to a new report, Apple plans to stop selling the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in India. These are currently Apple’s cheapest iPhones. Pushing users to instead buy the iPhone 6s would raise the entry level price by more than Rs 5,000 ($72).

The Economic Times notes that Apple has been gradually ramping up the price for entry level iPhones in India, much as it has elsewhere. By stopping selling cheaper devices like the iPhone 6 and iPhone SE, Apple supposedly wants to ditch the “discounted brand” tag it has earned.

“It wants to reinforce the brand’s ‘premiumness’ in the Indian market and increase average selling prices,” an unnamed executive is quoted as saying. “Apple has no plans to immediately drop prices of iPhone 6s, which is locally manufactured.”

The next best thing to Apple Stores

This isn’t Apple’s only change, either. It has also reportedly told smaller stores, which sell fewer than 35 phones per month, that they will no longer be able to stock iPhones. This is because sales promotions and fixtures for such outlets are not cost effective.

Instead, Apple will be aiming to expand the number of large Apple Authorised Resellers in the country. It also wants trade partners to own multiple such stores.

“Apple wants fewer trade partners in India, and to deepen the relationship with them,” an executive is quoted as saying. “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’s struggles in India

Given the sizable population of potential customers, Apple has been keen to expand into India. Unfortunately, it’s struggled to make much headway. At present, the iPhone accounts for only around 2 percent of the local marketshare. During the first half of 2018, Apple supposedly sold fewer than 1 million iPhones in the country. It has also been unsuccessful in its push to open official Apple stores in India.

Last summer, Apple parted ways with three members of its executive team in India. From January, it installed Ashish Chowdhary as its new head of India operations. Chowdhary, who was previously part of the Nokia’s global leadership team, has been touring the country meeting with key trade partners.

In the meantime, more and more Apple suppliers have been focusing on India as a manufacturing location.

Source: Economic Times