Apple dominating India's premium smartphone market

Apple’s attempts to increase its market share in India continue to bear fruit, with iPhones growing 79% year-over-year in the first quarter, while being the leading brand in the ultra-premium smartphone segment.


Apple CEO Tim Cook visits India in 2016

India is an important emerging market for Apple, the iPhone producer making considerable efforts to progress in a market dominated by cheaper competitors. Apple’s work is paying off in a new market analysis, but there is still a long way to go to become one of the most used mobile devices in the country.

According to data from Counterpoint Research, the smartphone market in India grew only 4% year-on-year in the first quarter to just over 31 million units. Global shipments to the country increased each year in January and February thanks to a combination of device launches and aggressive promotions, but a drop of 19% was observed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The slowdown is expected to continue a bit further, the Indian government having locked the country since last week in March, with some restrictions scheduled to be lifted on May 3. “Any signs of recovery will probably only start in the third quarter,” suggests Counterpoint, suggesting that global smartphone shipments “will decrease by 10% for the entire calendar year.”

For Apple, despite the suffering of the industry as a whole at the hands of COVID-19, it managed to see some improvement in India during the quarter. Counterpoint figures suggest that Apple was the third fastest growing brand of the period with growth of 79%, beaten by Realme with 119% and OPPO at 83%.

Strong shipments were seen for the iPhone 11, with multiple discounts on Flipkart, Amazon and other areas that may have boosted sales.

One area in which Apple dominates is the “ultra-premium segment”, estimated at 45,000 rupees ($ 592) or more. The figures suggest that Apple was the leading brand, with a market share of 55%.

Apple’s interest in India led the company to open its first regional Apple Store in Mumbai in 2021, while simultaneously supplying the market with iPhones produced in the country.

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