Apple has stopped selling its cheaper iPhones in India, driving up the price of an “entry-level” iPhone in the process.
Nearly a year after ending direct sales of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S Plus, and SE in most countries, a new report from Economic Times says Apple is phasing out its least expensive models in India, raising the entry price of its flagship product line in a large but notoriously price-conscious market.
Supplies of the aforementioned models reportedly stopped last month. Apple‘s distributors and sales team have informed traders that the new entry model will be the iPhone 6S after the existing stock is sold.
“Cupertino does not want Apple India to chase volumes by discounting at the cost of profit,” a leading trade partner of Apple told ET. “These models which are being phased out will increase the average selling price of iPhones in India and boost both profit and revenue.”
The move will increase the price of the cheapest iPhone in India by almost $117 USD in a country where the median annual income per capita is $616. But the annual iPhone lineup refresh is now less than two months away, and Apple historically pushes old models down in price or out of the lineup
Interestingly, the report says that the larger 6S Plus is one of the handsets on the chopping block. If this turns out to be true, anyone wanting a larger iPhone would have to opt for the iPhone 7.
According to today’s report, Apple’s new strategy focuses on “driving value in India instead of chasing volumes.” The decision was taken after Apple improved its revenue in profit in India in 2018-19. That was despite iPhone volumes taking a hit during that same period.
In the last couple of years, Apple witnessed a dip in sales and market share in the country. As per Counterpoint Research data released in March, Apple shipped 1.7 million iPhones in 2018, compared to 3.2 million in 2017, while the Cupertino company’s market share has gone down to 1.2 percent from 2.4 percent in 2017.
In related news, Apple appears to have begun exporting iPhones that are made in India to a handful of European markets.