IDC: Apple iPhone sales see sharp fall in India

“Smartphone maker Apple has seen a sharp fall in its India sales during the first three months of 2013, a trend that analysts say might persist as the California-based company looks to make deeper inroads into world’s third-largest smartphone market,” Indu Nandakumar reports for The Times of India. “Sales in India had soared soon after the November launch of iPhone 5, the latest iteration of Apple’s smartphone… ‘The October-December quarter was an exceptional one for iPhone, but that hasn’t been the case since then,’ said Manasi Yadav, who tracks India’s smartphone market for researcher IDC. According to IDC data, iPhone sales have been on a downward trend after the robust sales in response to the marketing campaign and financing schemes.”

“Between January and March, Apple sold some 120,000 iPhones in India, down from the 230,000 in the October-December quarter of last year, according to IDC,” Nandakumar reports. “That translated into its share falling from 4.7% to 2.1%. In India, Apple faces competition from South Korean rival Samsung as well as local brands such as Micromax and Karbonn, all of which are among the top three in terms of market share.”

Nandakumar reports, “Samsung, which has a 40% share of the smartphone market in India, had responded to Apple’s marketing and sales moves with its own offers of discounts and financing schemes. ”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A lower-cost iPhone would be a boon for Apple in emerging markets. If they can differentiate between the high end iPhone and the low end effectively, that is. Things like fingerprint scanners, Liquidmetal or other case materials (aluminum vs. polycarbonate, for example), sapphire displays, display sizes and quality, camera quality, iOS 7 features, etc. can be effective differentiators.

35 Comments

      1. “A lower-cost iPhone would be a boon for Apple in emerging markets.”

        Bullshit. Statements and beliefs such as this clearly underscores why these people do not work for a 1st tier Fortune 500.

        They would sacrifice Gross Margins (aka profits) to chase a couple hundred thousand unit sales, when Apple is selling 100X the volume with an ASP 3X greater in the rest of the world, and the same iPhone, USED, sells for more on eBay than it does in India.

        Some markets, regardless of population, just aren’t worth entering. I say let Samsung, and all others, fight over this very, very, VERY low profit market.

    1. What’s wrong with plastic? If I remember correctly my first iPhone was plastic. I was very happy with it. And I actually liked the design of my first iPhone better than the next two. I currently have the 4S and don’t particularly care for the square sides. And I don’t care what what it’s made of. Why would I? 99% of the people out there put it in a case anyway! I don’t go around bragging about the material used to make the iPhone. Why would I? Talk about pretentious. So who cares if the cheap iPhone is made of plastic? Consumers don’t buy the iPhone because of the material on the outside. They buy the iPhone for what’s inside. Great hardware. And they buy it for the Apple ecosystem. And you can’t see it! Jeez!

      1. Oh, but they do! Glass is expensive, plastic is cheap, and it is always quite obvious. Even if most people aren’t aware of this, when they look at the iPhone 4 / 4S / 5 side-by-side with iPhone 1, / 3G / 3GS, they will ALWAYS instinctively say that the glass / metal one is classier, more expensive, more elegant, more durable, than the other one with the plastic casing. This isn’t really about bragging; it is just about perception. The reason Samsung looks cheap is not because plastic is a cheap material, but because plastic itself, as material, looks cheap. This is probably because we associate plastic with the cheapest consumer products coming out of China, while we associate glass, brushed steel and aluminium with high-quality designer products that are usually very expensive.

        So, while Samsung’s G4 may retail for as much as the iPhone 5, the iPhone will always look much classier than the Samsung, and plastic will be the reason.

        1. Yeah, I deal with the advertising industry. I think I understand advertising. And perception. What? No jokes about rape today? My perception is that you’re a prick. Anyone who thinks rape is funny and makes a joke of it as you did several days ago, is a prick. It’s a matter of record. So don’t try to weasel your way out of it. How’s that for perception? Prick!

      2. CHEAP plastic. Poorly designed CHEAP plastic. Have you ever picked up a Samsung phone and held it in your hand? You would swear that it already had some case on it. I know that iPhones have been made in plastic – my first one was – but it was high quality. That’s the difference.

        I knew at least one person out there would misunderstand my post.

        1. Apple are always pushing the boundaries of engineering, thats how the first iPhone came into being. If it were not for antenna problems, the first iPhone would have probably been made of an alloy of some type. Just like the 1st gen iPod Touch, but fatter.
          Apple are finding new ways of manufacturing with the best materials taking into account environmental impacts, opting for aluminium and glass for all the Macs. Plastic would be a step backward in my opinion, at least for the new flagship device. One of the differentiators of the Apple brand is the build quality – GM you are missing the point I’ve tried to make to you for a long time now – people do care what the iPhone is made of. Apple hardware engineering is the finest in the world and must reflect such in it’s products. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQSyqoziHvU

  1. reported 11% decline in Europe (hope not) almost wipe out in Russia if not careful and now India figures despite heavy marketing and discount. If all turn out to be true then why the hell didn’t Apple see this coming when it was clear that big end high priced single product stream was going to be a serious problem once the opposition got its act together. An additional mid market phone with a different upgrade timebase and different qualities was required at least a year ago. Did they learn nothing from the iPod. Trouble is all this sort of news will now be used to back up all the contrived fud we normally get. Apple used to be nimble now its looking far too much like a laggard and its not all misrepresentation. All the good work now has to be redone to regain a positive image, at least outside of North America.

    As an example on a very important gadget show here the iPhone was described as probably not even in the top 5 now when 18 months ago invariably they topped their guides, true or not after a while perception sticks under this sort of commentary.

    1. What? Smart phone saturation is upon us? And the sun will come up tomorrow morning. Had to happen. Anyone in the business world understands this. It won’t just happen to some smart phones it will happen to all. No exceptions. Those companies who have planned for this will survive. But they all knew it was coming. All of them. Companies who do not rely heavily on hardware sales will do the best. Obviously. The cheaper iPhone (which will have good margins) will help Apple near term. Apple could have used it a year ago. The larger iPhone will do quite well also. It truly should have been here a year ago. These two phones will increase marketshare and revenue tremendously. Which yes, does matter. Margins on these phones should be very good. But these too will become saturated eventually. The I watch and wearable computing could be very profitable going forward. But all hardware eventually will become saturated. Apple’s future lies in not just hardware but services. Services is where the real money will be made. Services will be a recurring revenue stream. Saturation will not apply the same as in hardware sales. Owning the living room will be a potential gold mine for Apple. But it’s services, not hardware that will bring in the big bucks through the living room. And also monetizing all those credit card/iTunes accounts that Apple has. Unlike Microsoft, Google and Samsung, Apple currently is hardware dependent. But you can bet your ass that they are scrambling hard to change that. The future is not in hardware sales it’s in services. Apple understands this.

  2. MDN and others your takes are laughable. You’re the same idiots that have been repeating Jobs for years: it’s not about marketshare.

    So if Apple isn’t about marketshare, but rather, about making the best products they know how… then they should NOT make cheap products just to get more marketshare.

    You people are no better than the companies you chastise making cheap products. Thank god you’re not running Apple because it would soon be spitting out cheap plastic junk to people with no money getting them crap margins.

    1. Timid Cook said he would take a salary cut to prove he could put value into Apple. There is no way possible he can do that without increasing iPhone market share. Wall Street won’t have it any other way. As long as the iPhone continues to lose market share, the company will continue to lose shareholder value. Timid Cook has no choice but to build cheap iPhones. Apple can hold on to its goals of making great products, but no shareholder wants to own Apple stock at $300 a share. Wall Street has Apple over a barrel and is taking a paddle to Apple’s ass. That’s reality.

      1. It’s not Wall Street that is buying or not buying smart phones. It’s consumers. Smartphone sales now are greater than non-smart phone sales. Saturation is coming soon. That has nothing to do with Wall Street. Nothing. Consumers decide which phone they want to buy. And consumers are picking smart phones. Apple can continue to make great products. And I’m certain that they will. And they won’t have the biggest market share in smart phones unless they introduce other versions of the iPhone. That’s pretty simple to see. Margins. Margins matter. Margin is your profit. Marketshare matters also. You need both. At least to maintain such a large corporation as Apple and if you really expect to see the share price increase from this level. C’mon, it’s just common sense. Business sense. I realize very few here are in business but still, you should be able to grasp the industry. Quit blaming Wall Street.

        1. I’ve got no problem with wanting to please shareholders and gaining market share. The problem is when you do things that contradict your companies values, strategy, and vision. When you break from these latter, provided that they’re valid, you cease to become the company you were. You risk becoming just another business ran by Wallstreet spitting out junk with razor thin margins.

          There’s an old saying in business, “There’s always business, just not always the business you want.” India isn’t the business Apple wants if it has to contradict its DNA and spit out cheap plastic stuff with low margins. EVERYBODY is doing this latter and nobody but Samsung ( who actually has decent phones) is making any money.

          I’m not totally against cheaper products from Apple (E.g. The iBook vs. the PowerBook), but a smartphone is risky because it’s on contract subsidized. How many scammers and spammers and generally poor people in India will flake out on their bills? I think this whole thing is incredibly complex and takes Apple down roads that may just not be right for their business.

          The strategy that Apple has followed of building the best products they know how and not giving a shit about Wallstreet and pundits… the strategy and vision Jobs laid down, worked better than anything. If they break from this it may, in the long term, break the company. Apple needs a strong leader who’s all about tech and design. A real product guy. I’m still not convinced Tim Cook is the guy.

          1. You do understand that Mercedes-Benz makes fine automobiles don’t you? At different price levels. If they only made one car at one price (premium) they would be a very small company. And not very competitive. Running a business is not like posting on a website. There is a difference. Apple understands business. But just like all businesses and people, they are not perfect. The cheap iPhone and a larger iPhone should have been here by now. Both with good margins. Obviously. Clearly, they would have sold by the millions and would have helped Apple’s revenue/margins greatly in the last nine months. They weren’t here and I believe that was a misstep by Apple. The cheap iPhone should be here before long and hopefully the larger iPhone is coming soon. They will both help Apple and its bottom line. And that’s what matters, the bottom line.

            1. So let me get this straight. Some guy named GM on an Internet forum calls Apple out for misstepping in the mobile industry because they didn’t:

              1. Release a larger iPhone.
              2. Release a cheap iPhone.

              And, these products will, “Clearly, they would have sold by the millions and would have helped Apple’s revenue/margins greatly in the last nine months.”

              Or, the alternate scenario is that:

              1. With a larger iPhone, Apple would be fragmenting iOS because of another screen size. Regardless of pixels, App developers like us look at designing UIs that fill a screen. The way you do Apps changes based on the size of a screen a user has to work with and its specific aspect ratio. And the way this fragments iOS is that we’d have to deal with the new, specific aspect ratio and increased screen size. Apple simply can’t make the iPhone any taller anymore, they must go wider, so there you go: the size and aspect ratio changes again. And the iPod Touches would be a mess because they aren’t of the new screen. So to avoid further fragmentation, Apple must update the iPod Touch to the new screen size too.

              2. By releasing a cheaper iPhone it is NOT clear in anyway that it would be good for Apple. What may happen is that the cheaper phone significantly cuts into the flagship iPhone model’s sales dumping Apple’s margins.

              So right back at you buddy: it’s easy to think you know what the fuck you’re talking about online but what have you done? Where do you work?

              I run my own Mac/iOS software shop and have to deal with this shit everyday.

            2. Sure, we all understand aspect ratio. Anyone who reads this website understands that. So you’re an app developer? Where? What apps have you developed? What’s the name of your company?

              The larger iPhone won’t fragment anything. It’s called progress. The cheap iPhone won’t hurt the flagship iPhone model. It will however increase sales which increases revenue and margins.

            3. Yes, I’m an App developer. I want to remain anonymous.

              So the larger iPhone won’t fragment anything? Well, yes it will, and if you deny this you deny facts and reality. A larger iPhone is NOT the same screen size as the iPod Touch, so you have fragmentation right there because it’s an additional screen size to develop for. And Apple WILL NOT do this unless they update the iPod Touches. If you run the numbers, it’s hard to settle on a screen size at this point that isn’t just an extra band of icons… because the screen is going to get wider.

              Second, a cheaper iPhone will increase revenue and margins? No, it is NOT clear in anyway that this will happen. Your arrogance is just stupidity which is why you’re not running anything but that toilet in the basement you live in.

  3. Sounds like they are comparing the results to the holiday quarter sales figures, which is certainly understandable that its lower in sales volume. The fall to year end quarter is always the largest selling in terms of sales.

    1. I think you’re right. I did the math based on that reporter’s own numbers: 120,000 iPhones sold represent 2.1% market share. That works out to 5.7 million phones in a quarter FOR THE WHOLE COUNTRY. Third-largest market? It’s risible…

  4. I don’t get India. It’s such a big market but it seems to be so many hurdles for outside companies and highly unpredictable. There is 1.2 billion ppl there but it does not act like its growing.

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