Apple eyes top slot in premium smartphone market during festive sales

The new iPhones will be available from September 27 in the country
Consumer technology giant Apple unveiled a range of new iPhones, smart watches and a content platform on Tuesday. 

The three new iPhones, two Apple watches and its upcoming Apple TV plus content platform are expected to improve its business prospects in India. The company has been facing multiple roadblocks in the country during the past year and a half. While it failed to regain the top slot in the premium smartphone market during the last festive season, this year the Cupertino-headquartered firm is leaving no stone unturned to achieve the milestone. 

From competitively-priced new iPhones to slashing prices of its older models — Apple is all set to regain lost ground. 

It is also for the first time Apple has opened up its entire portfolio – starting from new iPhones to its upcoming OTT platform Apple TV plus — to Indian consumers. In 2018, its iPhone sales almost halved to 1.7 million units from 3.2 million units in 2017. Market experts pointed towards the high prices of its devices as a key factor. It had hiked the price of its entry level new iPhone model – iPhone XR, 64GB – last year by 10 per cent to Rs 76,900.

This year, however, the entry level new iPhone model — iPhone 11 — will come at Rs 64,900 or 15.6 per cent less than the XR variant. The model is priced even lower than iPhone X launched at Rs 70,990 two years ago.

Moreover, to capture the country’s shopping bonanza ahead of the festive season, the new iPhones will be available from September 27 in the country, three days ahead of its global market launch. 

According to Navkendar Singh, research director at IDC, the launch date for India could have been advanced to align it with the upcoming Big Billion Day sale by Flipkart (starting September 29) and similar shopping events that are expected to kick off by the last week of September.

Apple has also launched two more iPhone models – iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max – starting from Rs 99,900 and Rs 109,000, respectively. Analysts said, like previous years, the key driver for iPhone sales could be its older models like the iPhone 7 and 8 series and iPhone XR.

According to Counterpoint Research’s estimates, iPhone XR – the base model from last year’s launch – became a top selling model for the brand after Apple cut its price and offered a cash back scheme this April. 

During the April-June quarter, 48 out of 100 iPhones sold in India were iPhone XR. The firm had reduced the effective price of the model to Rs 53,900 from Rs 76,900 in early-April. “Now, with the new iPhones coming to the market, a further price drop on older models will surely help Apple compete with OnePlus, that is currently holding the top slot. Traditionally, the older models drive volume sales for Apple in India,” said Karn Chauhan, research analyst at Counterpoint.

In fact, the firm is already slashing prices of some of its key models. While the price of iPhone 7, 32GB variant is being cut to Rs 29,900 (from Rs 39,900), for iPhone 8, 64GB it is going down to Rs 39,900 (from Rs 59,900). And its current best seller – iPhone XR – will soon be available for Rs 49,900 (down from Rs 59,900).

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