It took long, but India has finally made it to the first list of countries where the new iPhone 13 series will go on sale from September 24. From being touted as an emerging market for Apple, over time India has become a key strategic market for the company. The early launch of iPhone 13 series, right in time for the upcoming festive season, corroborates the same and is likely to help Apple register record sales and an even stronger year-on-year (YoY) growth.
"In FY21, our estimates pointed to Apple's India revenue touching $3 billion+. Apple is on course for its best-ever performance in India. We anticipate Apple to grow over 40 per cent year-on-year, helping it achieve close to 3 per cent market share in 2021. For the entire year, Apple's iPhone shipment can potentially touch the 5 million mark," says Prabhu Ram, Head - Industry Intelligence Group at CMR.
While Apple has recorded a strong growth on the back of iPhone SE 2020, iPhone 11 and other older generation models, including iPhone XR, last year's iPhone 12 series too contributed to this success. "1 per cent of the global iPhone 12 were sold in India," says Tarun Pathak, Research Director Mobile Devices and Ecosystems, Counterpoint Research.
"Apple is growing fast in the premium segment in the country and the sheer size of the market makes it impossible to ignore. India continues to be a strategic market for Apple," Pathak adds. The uptick is due to the faster availability of new models in India and more users who are willing to trade in older iPhone devices.
Apple continues to go aggressive on trade-ins as well. Also, with the early launch of new iPhone 13 series at the same price point as last year's, iPhone 12 range has witnessed a price cut for the existing models. On Apple online store, the iPhone 12 mini is already retailing starting at Rs 59,900 and iPhone 12 for Rs 65,900.
Earlier this year, after a stellar January-March quarter, the Cupertino-based giant registered a double-digit revenue growth in India in its quarter ending June 26, 2021. While the company did not disclose the actual numbers, it highlighted India to be one of the emerging markets with strong growth.
During its earnings call on July 27, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, "Apple is reporting a very strong quarter with double-digit revenue growth across our product and services categories and in every geographic segment. We set a new June quarter revenue record of $81.4 billion, up 36 per cent from last year, and the vast majority of markets we tracked grew double digits, with especially strong growth in emerging markets, including India, Latin America and Vietnam."
This growth came at a time when according to Canalys, the Indian smartphone market fell 13 per cent sequentially in the said quarter amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. India was taken by surprise by the second wave of the pandemic, with many states imposing lockdowns for close to two months in April-May. While offline stores were shut, e-commerce platforms continued to sell and delivered products.
Over the last few years, Apple has also expanded its domestic manufacturing. Other than iPhone SE, iPhone 11 and iPhone XR, Apple also started manufacturing iPhone 12 in the country earlier this year. Apple's contract manufacturing suppliers Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron are also making investments under the government's production linked incentive (PLI) scheme.
Industry sources say given the past, it is highly likely that manufacturing for iPhone 13 might commence in the country towards the end of this year or early next year. Along with increased domestic manufacturing and aggressive marketing initiatives, including online retail store, Apple is now best placed to record strong growth going forward.
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