Apple registers record iPhone sales in India - It may be the new start it was expecting

A report from analytics firms Counterpoint Research and CyberMedia Research (CMR) suggest that Apple may have doubled its year-on-year iPhone sales in India in the company's fourth quarter of 2020.

Apple shipped more than 1.5 million iPhone units in India in the quarter that ended in December, up 100% on its year-on-year performance.

Apple best ever quarter in India comes on the back of strong sales of older models like iPhone 11, iPhone XR and iPhone SE coupled with high interest in the new iPhone 12.

Overall, the tech giant had 4% of the market in quarter four, while cumulative 2020 sales soared 60% at more than 3.2 million units.

The Apple iPad category saw 25% growth (performance-wise) in Q4 and for the full year 2020, it logged 17% growth.

For the calendar year 2020, Apple's total India smartphone share was about 2.4%, which is a significant rise.

Apple changing its India strategy

The news agency IANS has quoted  Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, as saying: "Apple continues its stellar run in the India smartphone market, gaining strength on the back of increased local manufacturing and strong marketing initiatives during the festive season." 

The relatively lesser market share of Apple in India is understandable as it has pegged itself in the premium segment and also due to the fact that the company kind of treated the Indian market with a disinterest that puzzled analysts, both here and elsewhere.

But Apple may be looking to change its ways. 

Already, last year, Apple launched its online store in the country and offered customers a bouquet of financing and upgrade options, AppleCare+, and freebies like AirPods with the purchase of iPhone 11. 

As Prabhu Ram said, "Apple is on track to grow further and gain strength in the year ahead, as it unveils its new India initiatives on the back of its new online store, and upcoming flagship retail stores."

Apple phone manufacturing in India itself is also moving into a higher gear. Despite the problems in one of its assembling units, Wistron, Apple is looking to increase its production in India through Foxconn and Pegatron, two other contract manufacturers of the tech giant.

5G demand to help Apple in India

Further, the expected spike in demand for 5G phones in India is also expected to help Apple.

Counterpoint Research predicts that India's 5G smartphone shipments could grow more than nine-fold in 2021 to 38 million units, up from an estimated 4 million last year. Apple can tap into this massive jump by aggressively plugging its iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini. The latter's price is not all that too distant from the competing brand products in the segment.

Rumours have it that Apple may put 5G connectivity into its entry-level iPhone SE this year. It is also said that iPhone SE could rock the same A14 Bionic processor that powers the iPhone 12, and it could be launched in the second half of the year. This can make Apple even more competitive in India in the years to come.

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