iPhone reportedly just enjoyed its best ever quarter in India

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iPhone 12 Pro parts cost shockingly little
Apple's iPhone market share doubled in India in the last quarter.
Photo: Cult of Mac

With its population of more than 1.3 billion people, India is the only country on Earth with a population that rivals China’s. (By comparison, the United States’ is a paltry 328 million.) It’s no wonder, then, that Apple has been hungrily eying the market for quite some time.

To date, success has been a bit disappointing, however. That may be changing, though, with a new report claiming that Apple doubled its market share in India during the last quarter, based on research from Counterpoint and CyberMedia.

According to TechCrunch, which reported the news:

“Apple shipped more than 1.5 million iPhone units in India in the quarter that ended in December, up 100% year-on-year, making this its best quarter in the world’s largest smartphone market to date … Thanks to the improved sales of older generation iPhone 11, iPhone XR, iPhone 12 and the newer iPhone SE, Apple doubled its market share in India to 4% in the quarter, the research firms said.”

Of course, it’s important to note that, out of a population of 1.3 billion people, shipping 1.5 million iPhones in three months isn’t a massive number. Overall in the year, Apple supposedly shipped 3.2 million iPhones in total to India. Again, to compare it to the U.S., that’s a tiny fraction of the units Apple ships. It’s most likely less than a tenth of what Apple sells in the U.S. in a single quarter, in a market that’s 4x bigger.

A growing market for Apple

But the growth is extremely promising. Counterpoint puts it at 60% year-on-year, which could lead to some big things if it continues. India is such a vast country that even a few percentage points of increase mean big numbers for Apple.

The challenge for Apple is that it makes expensive handsets in a market where the overwhelming majority of the market is for phones that cost under $200. The average per capita income is under $2,000. That’s changing, but it’s going to take time until the national average reaches levels seen in, for instance, the U.S.

In the meantime, Apple has been taking steps to grow its brand in India. It is gearing up to open its first Apple Store in India. In 2020, it also opened its Apple Online Store in India. Beyond this, Apple has been increasingly leaning on India as a country to carry out its manufacturing.

Provided TechCrunch‘s report is accurate, expect to hear a lot of talk about India when Apple reports its Q1 2021 earnings later today.