A game changer: Apple thinks different with strategically priced iPhone 12

Topics Apple  | iPhone XR | iPhone SE

According to sources, Apple is planning to roll out Made in India iPhone 12 models from April – within seven months of its launch
The upcoming iPhone 12 line-up from Apple may turn out to be a game changer for the firm that is now betting heavily on India for growth. Backed by attractive offers on its newly launched India Online Store and top-selling iPhone 11 and XR devices, the latest move may place it on a firmer base and boost its market share beyond 2.5 per cent in next two years.

Scheduled to be unveiled on Tuesday, the new flagship series is now estimated to be starting under Rs 60,000 — lowest for any full-size iPhone launched in recent times. According to sources, the iPhone 12 models will start from as low as Rs 59,000, while for iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max the starting price could be less than Rs 80,000.

Further, unlike earlier, this time the company is coming up with four models. Apart from the three full-size (above 6 inch screen size) models, Apple is also expected to launch a smaller iPhone 12 mini (5.4 inch) at Rs 52,000 price range. Citing the success of the new iPhone SE (2020), analysts said the mini would boost Apple’s sales amid an overall economic slowdown.

Since 2017, when Apple finally turned its focus towards the Indian market, it has brought down the launch prices of its flagships. The base model for iPhone XR (launched in 2018) and iPhone 11 (2019) went on sale for Rs 76,900 and Rs 64,900, respectively.

This time, the firm is not only bringing down prices but is also ready with bundled offers and cash-back schemes through its online store to attract consumers. From Saturday, for example, the firm will be offering AirPods (priced Rs 14,900 or above) free with iPhone 11.

Faisal Kawoosa, lead analyst at TechArc, said: “With local assembly, Apple has managed to bring down prices of iPhones in the past two years. To attract local consumers, the SE range has also played a crucial role. Price of iPhone 12 will come down further once the firm begins local assembly next year.”

According to sources, Apple is planning to roll out Made in India iPhone 12 models from April – within seven months of its launch. The company plans to shift 20 per cent of its iPhone production from China to India.

The strategy has worked so far. Since 2019, when it began procuring latest iPhone models locally, its sales have been led by the latest models. Unlike earlier, when top-selling iPhone models used to be the old generation ones, in 2019, iPhone XR became the top-selling model for Apple in India.

While competitively-priced iPhone 11 helped the firm post 78 per cent growth in January-March quarter, in the tough April-June quarter it held on to the top position in the luxury segment (priced above Rs 45,000). The change in tact has propelled Apple’s market share and repositioned it at the top of the segment after losing out to OnePlus in 2018.

According to Navkendar Singh, research director, IDC, now Apple is competing with the reputation and expectations it has built for itself. “There is no real competition for the brand. Consumers, who want to buy iPhones and can afford them, will buy them.” Singh, however, pointed towards the ongoing economic crisis and poor consumer sentiment and said, like any other brand, Apple’s volume sales may not touch last year’s numbers as consumers are sceptical about their financial stability.

A successful launch of iPhone 12, however, will help Apple’s long-term plans here. “India is the second largest market by volume sales and is the only large market that is growing,” said Singh, adding no wonder Apple was looking at India as the growth market for the next decade.

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