Indians are buying (a lot) less iPhones in 2019, here is Why

Take a guess! What is the five letter word you see in all answers that starts with P and ends with an E? One that you cannot ignore from this conversation?

What was that?

Pence? Pence?! What?! Why would I talk about Pen.. Ok never mind. It’s price. Yes, I know…shocker.

Apple sees worst performance since 2014 in India; iPhone sales dip up to 50%

As of January 2019 reports, the market share of Apple has dropped from 2.71% in Nov 2017 to 1.16% in Nov 2018. While I am not able to relate this effectively to the number of new users added during this time, this is by no means a coincidence.

‘Perceived value’ is the name of the game. Anyone who knows anything about technology can fathom that Apple was not exactly giving cost effective or value for money devices. Heck Apple does not even compete at the lower end of the spectrum, they simply don’t give a f*ck.

We all know that the prices were way to high than what Apple took to manufacture. But customers loved the product. They lapped it up because they still loved the deal — quality, cutting edge design and brand value for what they pay. People in India even took loans to get these phones. This means a lot of them could not even afford it. They wanted it so badly that they borrowed cold hard cash to get it.

Cue all the kidney jokes.

But now, Apple was testing the limit to which Indians were willing to go to get a piece of the bitten Apple and as ever they never thought of a strategy for the price sensitive market. They simply thought Indians were OK with the price. They thought their brand would sell itself just like it did everywhere else(except China). This meant they didn’t research the market enough. Just because they made sales doesn’t mean they had a solid strategy.

How about a short story?

So lets say you have a jewelry store. Folks come in buy your jewelry for festivities every year. You think ‘OK these guys love to spend’ and you increase the prices. You do introduce new designs. Besides your quality and brand value are known, so people still flock to your store.

Now one year you decide, ‘OK let me double the prices from 4 years ago’. Suddenly nobody shows up. You don’t understand why. They were anyway spending a lot, why not do it now?

What you didn’t realize was that they were already scraping beyond the top of their budgets. You miscalculated how much money they wanted to throw away. Not only that, since you have no good model at their regular price, they no longer even consider you. Also, now that they know that many people don’t buy your jewelry, they too have an excuse to retain their older Jewelry.

When Apple announced the X at a whopping $1000,they had already capped out the maximum amount Indians were willing to pay for their phones.

Notice how Indians spent above the INR 30K bracket. Most of the share is with Oneplus which is just over 30K and Samsung hits a close second, with prices of around 50K.

When Apple went one step beyond and pushed all their models to the price bracket above that $1000 threshold, they were already talking a language most Indians didn’t understand.

Why you ask?

1 Lakh is a good budget for a 150+cc bike.

With a 1 lakh Investment under 80C,you can save more than 10k in taxes

1 lakh is a delicious budget for a top end laptop — Gram, Macbook, xps. A super-long term investment.

I know a lot of you reading this have much more effective ways to spend 100000 rupees.

A lot of the answers making fun of Indians being cheap are incredibly baseless. Indians love the brand value of Apple. They love toting their bitten apple logos. It is not that they do not appreciate the quality of Apple. It is just that Apple’s regular devices have now gone beyond their reach for them to afford the bling factor associated with it.

After all, when was anyone just paying for the functionality of the device? It was almost always for the bling factor. Apple’s caption should read

‘Come for the bling, stay for the quality’

Except, No. Not at 100000 rupees.

Redirect Notice : Statista

Redirect Notice : Economic times




Product manager, builds human-centric products for …humans

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Vijay Balasubramanian

Vijay Balasubramanian

Product manager, builds human-centric products for …humans

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