By Nishant Arora
New Delhi: Apple which has had a successful 2020 in India riding on the popularity of iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 and price drop on other key models like XR, will focus on cementing its position further in 2021 with wooing mid-premium range consumers in the price-conscious smartphone market, leading industry experts said on Saturday.
According to the leading market research firm IDC, the premium segment ($500-$700) in India witnessed multifold growth in the month of October with high shipments of the iPhone XR and 11 driven by affordability schemes/offers.
The premium segment registered 16 percent (on-year) growth in October, with Apple leading the market in 49 of the top 50 cities in the country.
According to Navkendar Singh, Research Director, Client Devices & IPDS, IDC India, Apple has had a good past couple of years in the country.
“With the launch of iPhone 11 and 12, followed by subsequent price drops of last year models (11, X, XR etc), launch of SE 2 at a very aggressive price point and price aggression by the online platforms has really helped Apple,” Singh said.
“This indicates the importance of India for Apple and this should continue for the next few years as Apple further tries to find volumes and get more users in the iOS fold,” Singh added.
Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed in September that the company set its quarter record in India this year in Q3, also partly due to the launch of Apple Store Online that went live in the country on September 23.
Third-party data from market research firm Canalys earlier reported that Apple shipped over 8 million units in the July-September period in the country, registering double-digit growth.
Driven by strong demand for its affordable premium iPhone SE 2020 and iPhone 11, Apple maintained the lead in the premium segment in Q3 on the back of attractive discounts and cashback offers in India, according to Counterpoint Research.
“Apple grew 38 percent (on-year) in Q3 2020. For the overall shipments till Q3, the growth is 15 percent compared to last year. This growth is driven by strong shipments of iPhone SE 2020 and iPhone 11 series,” said senior research analyst Prachir Singh.
“The discounts on online sales and pent-up demand during the festive season also drove up the volumes for these models,” he said.
Apple India online store certainly pulled some volumes from the other online channels.
“We believe that the shipment share for Apple India online store will grow in 2021,” Prachir noted.
In addition to retaining the loyal Apple base every alternate year or so with the new launches, Apple will possibly focus on mid-premium range consumers to upgrade from Android to iPhone with affordability priced models or last-generation models.
“Subsequently, Apple will try to cross-sell the expanding range of Watch, Air Pods and Services to ring-fence these consumers in the Apple ecosystem,” Navkendar said.
“This is important in an Android-dominated country like India, where consumer has dozens of options to chose from across product categories, at every price point,” Navkendar elaborated.
In 2021, Apple will be aggressive in the channel strategy, leveraging its online store as well as other online platforms.
“Also, this year, we have seen highest-ever launch events for Apple globally and this will translate in India opportunities at one point of time,” Prachir said.
Apple has always been an aspirational brand for the Indian consumers.
Other big opportunity for Apple is the refurbished market as the tech giant has been a market leader in the refurbished smartphone segment, the analysts noted.