Apple says tweaks in India strategy to tackle sales decline yielding early results

Apple says tweaks in India strategy to tackle sales decline yielding early results
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: VCCircle
1 May, 2019

iPhone maker Apple has made adjustments to its India business over a slowdown in sales in the country and the strategy is showing preliminary results, the company’s chief executive Tim Cook said.

Speaking with investors after the company's quarterly results, Cook said that its actions and results help the company devise better strategies for its future course of action.

Early last month, contract manufacturer Foxconn had started production of high-end iPhones at its Chennai plant. Apple has been making low-end iPhone at Wistron's plant in Bengaluru since 2017.

The slowdown in sales has prompted the company to offer massive discounts and the prices have been reduced by almost 30%. Manufacturing in India helps the company reduce the duties and taxes on the devices, helping the company increase sales in the market.

For now, India accounts for less than 2% of Apple’s overall global revenue. In the recent quarters, OnePlus has emerged as the top brand in the premium category -- above $400 -- in India. While Apple's latest high-end phones could cost anywhere between Rs 70,000 to Rs 1 lakh, the older models are often available in Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000 range.

Cook continued to maintain that while cheaper Android phones dominated the Indian smartphone market, he was hopeful that Apple would gain market share in the challenging region. The establishment of the Apple Maps research and development centre in Hyderabad and accelerator in Bengaluru was a testament to the company's confidence in the world's fastest growing economy.

“India is a very important market in the long-term. It's a challenging market in the short-term. But we're learning a lot. We have started manufacturing there which is very important to be able to serve the market in a reasonable way. And we're growing that capability there,” Cook said adding, “It's not something that's going to be an overnight huge business. But I think the growth potential is phenomenal.”

Apple has been trying to open its own exclusive retail stores in India unsuccessfully for years now. Cook once again said that doing so will help the company expand market share.

“We would like to place retail stores there. And we're working with the government to seek approval to do that,” Cook added.

A couple of quarters ago, Cook had said that the rupee depreciation and import duties have made Apple product imports costlier, resulting in flat sales in India.