Below expectation response for new iPhones in the Indian smartphone market

A customer compares the size of the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max at the Apple Store. Photo: Reuters
After going on sale last Friday, Apple's new iPhones, XS and XS Max witnessed lower sales this year, according to a report by The Economic Times. In addition to that, the retailers, especially owners of exclusive Apple showrooms reportedly said that unlike previous years, less than half of iPhone models (iPhone XS worth Rs 99,900 and iPhone X Max worth Rs 124,000) were sold right after its availability in the Indian market. 

This surely negates with the earlier trends of high sales, especially during the weekends. Senior executives of larger retail showrooms and Apple Premium Reseller (APR)  said 40-45 per cent of the stock was unsold as of Sunday night.

According to a report by ET, Apple had imported about one hundred thousand units of the new iPhones, expanded availability to more stores and more markets to ensure high sales momentum at launch.

Even with muted demand witnessed on initial three days of the sale, ET reported that more than half the demand has been for the pricier iPhone XS Max 256 GB model in gold colour priced Rs 124,900, according to sales managers. Apple launched iPhone XS and XS Max last Friday priced at Rs 99,900 to Rs 1,44,900 against last year’s iPhone X launch price of Rs 89,000 to Rs 102,000. 

“While sale of the new iPhones in the first weekend was certainly more than iPhone 8 of last year, it is still less than iPhone X. It’s a super-premium smartphone and will take some time to sell in India,” said Brian Bade, CEO, Reliance Digital to ET. 

Another prominent retail owner, Subhas Chandra, MD at Bengaluru-based Sangeetha Mobiles, which operates 540 stores, told ET that there has been no growth in same-store sales over last year for the new iPhones and there is still stock left. “However, in absolute terms, we sold more number of units of the new iPhones as compared to last year due to higher stock availability and since we also expanded the number of stores by adding 175 outlets,” he added. 

Analysts observed several factors that might have hindered the sales during the first weekend. Higher prices -- 1 million-plus prices-- coupled with Shradh period and lower priced Android-based flagship smartphones dampened the sales. However, the demand would shoot up in the coming days, especially between the period of October and December, as reported by ET.


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