Apple has been very tight-lipped about its India plans. Many have wanted to know what the best selling consumer electronics company in the world is planning to tackle the entry barrier it faces in the country. Apple products, especially the iPhone are not sold in India by the company directly and are made available by third party distribution outlets.
There are many fans for Apple products in the country but the cost of these products in legal as well as the grey market channels are very prohibitive. Apple had partnered with Ingram Micro and Reddington India to supply its phone to all the licensed retailers across India last year in September. This led to some speculation over whether Apple is looking at a bigger plan for the country. The India Real Time blog from Wall Street journal is reporting that the sales of Apple’s iPhones had increased significantly by the end of 2012. This new data comes from Singapore based research firm, Canalys. The last quarter of 2012 saw Apple shipping 252,000 iPhones to the country, a figure which the firm says is three times the shipments in the previous quarter. The appointment of specialized distributors seems to be paying off because Apple’s new strategy seems to be to widen the range of its distribution by reaching smaller towns and cities.The sales it will make in these places is still questionable given its steep prices.
To this end, the company should do something about the costs. The model they explored earlier was tying up with mobile network operators like Aircel, Airtel and making iPhones available bundled with the operator’s services. This did not work well for Apple and hence they changed their distribution strategy. The Indian mobile market has been captured by Samsung and Apple faces the loss of a big opportunity if something is not done soon. We heard reports of a cheaper iPhone recently but this has not yet been confirmed by the company. This is actually one of the very few routes left for the company to go ahead and gain significant traction in the country. The company also opened up its iTunes digital store in India recently and this might signify that the company is seriously looking at the country and trying to get into it, even though they are being extremely tight-lipped about the India question. The coming months will be interesting!
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