India, an increasingly important and focused market for Apple has started showing positive growth. After a record September quarter, the Cupertino giant has doubled its business in October - December 2020 quarter (also referred as Apple's Q1 2021) in India. "This is particularly the case in some of the emerging markets where we're proud of how we've done... If you take India for example, we doubled our business last quarter compared to a year ago but our absolute level of business there is still quite low relative to the size of the opportunity," says Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Over the last few years, Apple has been aggressive in the country and has been bringing most of its global launches either on the same day or within a week of its global launch. iPhones bring in a big chunk of the sales for Apple worldwide as well as in India.
According to Counterpoint Research's India Smartphone Market Analysis Q4 2020, Apple had captured the sixth spot in the said quarter with 171 per cent YoY growth in Q4 and 93 per cent YoY growth in 2020. Apple, for the first time, had crossed 1.5 million shipments in a single quarter in the country. This growth has been driven by many factors. The launch of the iPhone 12, aggressive offers on the iPhone SE 2020 and iPhone 11, worked in favour of Apple. Affordability offers such as no-cost EMI and bank cashback across the category of products too have helped fuel Apple's hardware sales in India. After a long wait, even Apple's online store went live in the country on September 23, 2020. The store offered a full range of Apple's hardware along with a range of affordability options with financing and trade-in program. The company even offered special students pricing for Mac or iPad and discounts on accessories and AppleCare+.
"We are doing a number of things in the area, we put the online store there for example, and last quarter was the full first quarter of the online store and that has gotten a great reaction to it and has helped us achieve the results that we got to last quarter," adds Cook. Reason being, online sales for Apple have been already strong in the country with almost 30 per cent contributed through online channels such as Flipkart, Amazon and other ecommerce platforms. And as online sales have increased to over 40 per cent in first half of 2020, it only made sense for Apple to push its online store in the country.
Apple has been operational in the country for over 20 years and has been selling products through authorised sellers in offline and online retail. India being a key important market, Apple is expanding its operations in India. Continuing with the growth momentum, Apple will be focused on developing its channel as well. "We are also going in there with retail stores in the future and so we look to that to be another great initiative, and we continue to develop the channel as well," adds Cook. Apple plans to open its offline store at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai.
The company has been assembling its most popular models - iPhone 7, iPhone SE 2020, iPhone XR and iPhone 11 - locally, and intends to start assembly for iPhone 12 mini soon.