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Does iPhone 7's high price seal its doom in India?

Indian Mavens discuss the $900 phone
Does iPhone 7's high price seal its doom in India?
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Android currently enjoys a market share of 97% in India, with its dominance increasing year-on-year.

Market intelligence outfit IDC predicts that there will be more than 204 million smartphones in use in India by the end of 2016, and yet it's a market in which Apple barely has a foothold.

The recently-announced iPhone 7 will retail at Rs 60,000 - worth $895.25 - in India, and takes the controversial decision to remove the traditional headphone jack.

A new pair of proprietary AirPods alone will cost Rs 15,400 ($229.78), rounding off an expensive package for Indian consumers.

In light of this, we asked our Indian Mavens:

  • With Android already enjoying 97% market share in India, does the iPhone 7 risk pushing iOS further onto the fringes of affordability?
  • What would it take for Apple to increase its share of the Indian market?
Laxmi  Desai-Khanolkar

Laxmi Desai-Khanolkar

CEO and co-founder at Apar Games

I think the iPhone 7, due to the price point, may not increase its share, but it will not decrease either.

In my opinion, the iPhone users might upgrade their devices. Once you are an iPhone user, it is difficult to change to any other phone.

Ankush Madad

Ankush Madad

Co-Founder and Creative Head at Dropout Games

I believe most would skip this generation of iPhone and wait for iPhone 8.

iPhone 7 was a disappointment on many levels.

Srinivasan Veeraraghavan

Srinivasan Veeraraghavan

Co-founder

iPhones in India can never compete with the mass market (< $150) Android devices which offer great value to the consumer.

“iPhones will remain aspirational for Indian consumers.”
Srinivasan Veeraraghavan

India is not yet a high net value spending nation, and hence iPhones will remain aspirational for Indian consumers.

As far as iPhone 7 goes, I think its main competitor are the high-end Galaxy devices in India which are also pricey. iPhone 7 might give Samsung a run for its money come this Diwali when it officially launches.

Apple’s last launch, the iPhone 6, enjoyed very good sales here, and it was maybe $150 more expensive than its US price listings.

So if Apple can figure out to bridge this price gap, then it would really start looking attractive.

Hrishi Oberoi

Hrishi Oberoi

Founder at Photon Tadpole

Apple is doing worse than it was some time ago.

They used to have about 5%, but it’s dropped to 3% market share this year. Their strategy in India has to be slightly different than the rest of the world and they have been trying to do so.

The iPhone 4 and 4s sold in India a lot longer than it sold in the rest of the world and they are going to need to continue to do that if they want to gather any additional market share.

But even after all that, I don’t think they are going to manage to compete with the Android smartphone market, which has devices lower than $50, full price.

And now with Reliance launching their LYF Android phones to go with their JIO 4G service with 'free calling’ (on VoLTE), it’ll seem next to impossible to penetrate further.

The Reliance LYF range starts at Rs 2,999 - that's $44.75
The Reliance LYF range starts at Rs 2,999 - that's $44.75

Specifically, the iPhone 7 will not manage to dent the Indian market or change the current market share split considering that it belongs in the ultra high-end segment of smartphones in India.

“The revenue split for app developers in India is still about 40% Apple and 60% Android.”
Hrishi Oberoi

Apple is already trying a few things by delaying the closure of sale of their older handsets, trying to create their 'official’ retail presence in India and looking to sell refurbished devices, but they are going to have to do a whole lot more if they want to capture the market.

In India, the majority of the smartphone market is the low-end market, and not the high-end or ultra high-end where Apple sits today.

Having said all of that, the news for game developers doesn’t change since it’s still this high-end and ultra high-end who end up paying through the stores.

And even today, with this current market share split, the revenue split for app developers in India between Apple and Android is still about 40% Apple and 60% Android.

Cartic P

Cartic P

Business Development Manager at Juego Studio Private Limited

Rs 60,000 for a iPhone will definitely not help Apple in gaining its market share here. I feel even the AirPods are going to be costly.

Pricey AirPods are a sticking point
Pricey AirPods are a sticking point

Maybe it's time for Apple to re-think its tactics again. A strategic partnership with Reliance JIO should help them slash the price with some good offers.

With Galaxy Note 7's fire issues, Apple definitely has the leverage to pocket the premier customers in India during Diwali.

Vaibhav Chavan

Vaibhav Chavan

CEO and Founder at underDOGS Gaming Studio

It definitely looks like a risk from Apple by pushing the pricing, but I think they are not really trying to compete with Android for market share - as they know they can never.

Agree with Srini that they are surely giving a run for Samsung with high end devices and the Apple users are still going to use iPhones irrespective of the pricing increase.

I really don't think Apple is in a race to increase their market share of the Indian market.

They have their set of consumers, and can't convince a low-end Android device user - of which there are many - to use Apple with their current strategies.