India, the world’s fastest growing economy, with a GDP of around 7%, is being courted by Apple, the world’s most valuable company. The undoubted presence of growth opportunities in India is dispersed over an obstacle course of impervious rules, inconsistent regulations and deeply seated corruption.
We’ve seen a lot of disruptions in the tech market since Apple’s entry. These changes have been favourable for consumers and the industry, but not so much for Apple. Foreign businesses like Apple need to apprehend the challenges beforehand and while dealing with some of the commercial issues of price sensitivity, and a crowded and competitive market.
A decade since its arrival, almost all the price ranges, except the $100-$200 one, have seen a decline in the competitive and price-sensitive Indian market. The primary area of concern is the $400 and above market. Barring the spike in 2011, the $400 and above market has been on the decline since Apple’s entry in the Indian market.
Now the million dollar question to ask is: What is Apple getting wrong in India?
Android remains the king in India. In a market where buyers prize affordability, Apple has been trying to lower their prices. Even then, iOS with a mere 3% share of the world’s second-largest smartphone market, is not even a patch on Android. Additionally, Android has 97% market shares in India. This means that there is very little motivation for Indian developers to write softwares for the iOS platform.
Although this is not the first time we are hearing about this, the main reason for the decline of sales and revenue rate is the competition from other new inventions and highly advanced products. Meanwhile, the company’s attempts at local manufacturing in India, which could help in considerably reducing the prices, haven’t succeeded.
Besides the very high price tag, one important reason for iPhone’s failure in India is that there is a very weak connection as far as the consumer confidence is concerned. Apple failed to connect with Indian consumers, and that is their biggest mistake.
If this wasn’t enough, Chinese brands are giving tough competition to Apple’s $400 and above section. Especially tailored for Indians, these Chinese phones support several regional languages and have exclusive features like Dual SIM slots. The Chinese smartphones accounted for 46% of the handsets sold in India last year.
If Apple is genuine about entering the India market, it needs to do more than assemble components and open stores. It must develop products and services that are specifically suitable for the Indian market. With over 500 million people connected to the Internet through smartphones, the opportunities are limitless.