“Neil Shah, research director at HongKong-based Counterpoint Research, said on Saturday its channel checks pointed to numbers for the quarter in the range of 700,000 to 800,000 units, down from about a million a year ago,” Reuters reports. “For the whole of 2018, Apple was set to sell about 2 million phones – a drop of about a million from last year, he said, as Indians balk at high prices for the devices, driven by trade tariffs and a weak rupee.”
“‘Sales are set to drop for the first time in four years,’ Shah said. ‘If you look at Q3 – it was 900k last year and this (year) is almost 450k,'” Reuters reports. “Shah said that, while more than half the phones sold this year were older iPhone models, high selling prices meant Apple’s Indian revenue should still be flat or slightly higher than a year ago.”
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MacDailyNews Take: Higher iPhone ASPs will naturally impact unit sales in emerging markets.
The emerging markets that we’re seeing pressure in are markets like Turkey, India, Brazil, Russia. These are markets where currencies have weakened over the recent period. In some cases, that resulted in us raising prices and those markets are not growing the way we would like to see.
To give you a perspective in of some detail, our business in India in Q4 was flat. Obviously, we would like to see that be a huge growth. Brazil was down somewhat compared to the previous year. And so I think, or at least the way that I see these, is each one of the emerging markets has a bit of a different story, and I don’t see it as some sort of issue that is common between those for the most part…
We’ve had really great productive discussions with the Indian government, and I fully expect that at some point, they will agree to allow us to bring our stores into the country. We’ve been in discussions with them, and the discussions are going quite well.
As you point out, there are import duties in some or most of the product categories that we’re in. In some cases, they compound, and this is an area that we’re giving lots of feedback on. We do manufacture some of the entry iPhones in India, and that project has gone well. I am a big believer in India. I am very bullish on the country and the people and our ability to do well there.
The currency weakness has been part of our challenge there, as you can tell from just looking at the currency trends, but I view these as speed bumps along a very long journey, though. And the long term I think is very, very strong there. There’s a huge number of people that will move into the middle class. The government has really focused on reform in a major way and made some very bold moves. And I applaud them for doing that and I can’t wait for the future there. — Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple Q418 Earnings Conference Call, November 1, 2018