A customer views an Apple Inc. iPhone XS during a sales launch at a store in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. (Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

iPhone Sales In India Likely To Fall For The First Time This Year

Apple Inc.’s iPhone sales in India are likely to decline for the first time this year due to higher prices of its models and competition from Chinese smartphone makers.

Sales of the Cupertino-based company may drop by one-fourth to 2-2.5 million units in the world’s fastest growing smartphone market, according to Counterpoint Research.

Increasing competition from OnePlus and Samsung in the premium segment with “aggressive marketing campaigns” may lead to the decline in iPhone sales, Pavel Naiya, senior analyst-devices and ecosystem at Counterpoint Research, told BloombergQuint in an email. “This is a result of offering a stronger value proposition by Chinese original equipment manufacturers, while Apple is selling older devices in this price segment.”

Apple’s newly launched iPhone XS, and XR models are priced at Rs 99,900 and Rs 76,900, respectively, owing to higher tariffs. Because of this the iPhone maker started to locally assemble some of its older models in India in 2017.

“It needs to do more, as many of the other smartphones aren’t assembled in India,” Naiya said.

Also, the iPhone-maker is at a disadvantage in India due to its inability to produce smartphones and owning stores, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook had said during an analysts’ call. A weaker rupee has only added to its woes. There is still no clarity on when Apple can open its own stores in India and so prices of iPhones aren’t consistent across channels. “It needs to streamline its supply chain to provide standard prices, that also creates a bad impression among customers,” Cook had said.

Yet, he’s bullish. “Currency weakness has been ‘part of our challenge’ in India,” he said. These, he said, are “speed bumps” along a very long journey.

Globally, iPhone sales barely grew to 46.89 million in the quarter ended September from 46.67 million a year ago, even though new models were launched during the period. The revenue missed estimates, putting Apple’s $1-trillion market value at risk, according to a Bloomberg report.

Apple also said it will stop reporting unit sales of its iPhones, iPads and Macs beginning in fiscal 2019.

Also read: Weak Rupee Part Of Apple’s Growth Challenge In India, CEO Tim Cook Says