The Apple India online store has been off to a great start and that has helped Apple increase its market share significantly in India. It turns out that the Apple iPhone 12, Apple iPhone 11 and the iPhone XR have been the most popular phones in India during the winter months, which means Apple has doubled its bite on the Indian smartphone market to 4%. Apple also clocked at 60% year on year growth in India while the festive quarter, which saw the Apple India online store go Live just ahead of the Dussehra and Diwali festivals, registered 100% year on year growth. This significant increase in market share, as well as the warm reception of the Apple India online store coincides with the increased India focus from Apple in 2020.
The numbers from research firm CyberMedia Research (CMR) also suggest that the iPad category clocked at 25% growth compared with the previous year in Q4. “Apple continues its stellar run in the India smartphone market, gaining strength on the back of increased local manufacturing and strong marketing initiatives during the festive season," Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG) at CMR, told IANS. It was in H2 2020 that India finally joined the list of 37 other countries, as the virtual doors opened for the Apple India Online Store. This was just ahead of the Diwali festive shopping season. India has joined the list that includes the US and UK. For the first time in India, Apple has been able to take charge of what it covets the most—the experience.
India focus didn’t just mean launching an online store. For Apple, the localizations went deeper. There is the Shopping Assistance option that allows customers to connect with Apple Specialists and communicate with them in English and Hindi. These specialists will be able to help with support and pre-purchase guidance. Support for more Indian languages is being added. Apple also has gifting options as well as the ability to engrave text or emojis on Apple AirPods, Apple iPad and the Apple Pencil. Engraving is available in English as well as multiple Indian languages including Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu for the Apple AirPods, and English for the Apple iPad and Apple Pencil.
This year also proved to be big for Apple’s Make in India push. Mind you, Apple has been manufacturing the iPhone SE (first generation), iPhone 6s series, the iPhone 7 series and the iPhone XR, and also added the iPhone 11 to list earlier this year. It was reported that the iPhone 12 will also be manufactured in India beginning early 2021, at Wistron’s facilities in Bengaluru. That could help Apple price the iPhone 12 phones more aggressively, something we saw with the iPhone XR and the iPhone 11 once the manufacturing in India started.
Through the summer and heading into the festive season, the government of India rolled out the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) offer to push for local manufacturing and make India a manufacturing as well as export hub. In June, the government rolled out a PLI offer extending incentives of around Rs 41,000 crore for meeting local manufacturing targets. Apple and Apple’s manufacturing partners in India including Foxconn and Wistron announced their participation in the scheme.
Apple has had one of its best years in India, so far, and the numbers back that up too. According to research firm Canalys, nearly 8,00,000 iPhones were sold in India in the July to September quarter. At the same time, Counterpoint Research noted that Apple had led the premium smartphone segment sales with the iPhone SE (2020) and the iPhone 11 series. Mind you, these numbers came before the launch of the iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which helped Apple in the winter quarter.