Apple has received a big jolt to its efforts to capture a dignified share in the Indian smartphone market.

As reported, the Indian government has rejected Apple’s plans to sell refurbished iPhones in India.

Now, selling old iPhone – Apple may see that as a viable strategy, and the company sells refurbished iPhones in some markets including the US

But it was never a good idea to try it in India.

Especially after the fact that Apple has goofed up badly on its India strategy.

And the most direct way to say it is – Apple has not treated India as a dignified market so far.

India, the third largest smartphone market, that would overtake next year Apple’s home market in US, that is now almost saturated, is a priority market for everyone – not just in the telecom segment.

The market with over 1000 million mobile connections but with just 225 million smartphone users is a market with an enormous potential to tap. And it has not happened in a day.

What India is today for telecom players (including cellphone manufactures), China was five years ago. And companies with a major presence in India saw that and have invested significantly here, creating their base.

None of them have undermined India – unlike Apple.

And now Apple is paying the price. Or to say, it is the beginning of the bad phase for the largest corporation of the world.

The US has no growth prospects for iPhone as it has already an absolute domination there. We will see an increasingly hostile China as Chinese companies go global with their smartphone ambitions. In fact, as per the latest data on global shipment of smartphones, three companies out of top five are Chinese – Huawei, Oppo and Vivo – at 3,4, and 5.

That growing realization has forced Apple to now look for a wider presence in India.

But the million dollar question is – can Apple raise its share to a dignified level, from the current 2% – in a market that it thought was not smart enough to appreciate its globe-trotting iPhone?

Apart from a few, majority of the consumers don’t view iPhone positively. For them, buying an iPhone has never been a value proposition, especially when Indian customers see that Apple launches iPhone in India in the last tranche of its shipments, after catering to every other market; especially when they see the same iPhone has been priced much higher in India; and especially when they see other elite smartphones priced much lower and launched at the same time in India as the other markets.

In fact, many who can afford iPhone don’t go for it because its bloated price from them is a sheer waste of money.

Apple intended to establish iPhone as the most premium smartphone brand in India and deliberately kept it out of reach of majority by maintaining price barriers. That sent a message that Apple was never in sync with Indian sensitivities and overlooked the Indian customer.

And Apple cannot replenish its fortunes by sustaining with that strategy.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –

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