Apple, which did not care much for the Indian market under Steve Jobs, has suddenly become aggressive in recent months with its marketing and advertising.
From EMI schemes to sales networks that now include local retailer…ET takes you through reasons why Apple has experienced a surge in India:
Quick launch of iPhone 5
India has traditionally not been a high-priority market for the Steve Jobs-founded company and it used to take months for a new Apple product to make its way to the country. In late 2011, the company began to expand its India team and introduce new models closer to their global launch.
Apple’s decision to quickly launch the iPhone 5 in India, almost simultaneously with the global launch, together with local billing of apps in Indian rupees have also helped the brand gain traction.
In September 2012, the company changed its sales model by appointing two retail distributors, began an advertising blitzkrieg, and launched an EMI scheme for smartphones.
In November 2012, Apple moved away from its global model of selling phones bundled with talktime only through mobile operators in India. It appointed retail distributors and started selling iPhones directly to consumers, who in turn could opt for any GSM operator.
Experts attribute Apple’s new-found aggression in the last six months to slowing demand in the US and Europe, as well as rising awareness in the Cupertino-based company about India’s huge demand potential.
Surging sales of iPhones and iPads here, combined with the growing inroads of Samsung in its traditional US market and elsewhere, have prompted Apple to take a serious look at India as it searches for new growth markets.
Analysts attribute the sudden jump in Apple’s market share to a critical decision the company took last quarter to push sales in electronic stores through two retail distributors, Ingram Micro and Redington, instead of just relying on outlets of telecom operators.
Research firm Gartner’s principal research analyst Anshul Gupta said the appointment of the two distributors, which together have more than 10,000 stores, suddenly increased the retail footprint of iPhones in India.
ET reported on April 11 that iPhone 4 sales recently surpassed the demand for the iPhone5 in India, as customers rushed to avail of the recently launched buyback scheme.
Apple is offering a discount of at least Rs 7,000 on the iPhone4 in exchange for any smartphone. The iPhone4 costs Rs 26,500 in India, and the exchange scheme allows an existing smartphone user to buy the Apple model for less than Rs 20,000.
Sanjay Kaul: The former director of channel sales at BlackBerry India, has transformed the way iPhone is sold in India since he took over as head (telecom business) at Apple India 15 months ago. Just like BlackBerry, he localised iPhone distribution, making it available at small local retail shops instead of betting only on mobile operators.
Maneesh Dhir: As the country manager for India of Steve Jobs’ Apple Inc, Maneesh Dhir is one of the most successful corporate leaders in the country in recent times, helping his firm increase its revenues three-fold in FY12. In three years since he took charge, Dhir has built a strong base for Apple and re-energised the brand here to change its US headquarters’ approach to the country.
Buoyed by the success of the iPhone in India, Apple has decided to scale up its presence in the country and plans to triple its exclusive stores to around 200 by 2015.