A new report by The Wall Street Journal has revealed that Apple has so far had little success in finding new growth in India, the world’s largest untapped smartphone market, with the number of iPhones shipped in the region falling 40% so far this year. Research firm Canalys has estimated that Apple’s market share in India has dropped to 1% from about 2%.
According to a person familiar with its targets, the iPhone maker’s $1.8 billion revenue in India for this fiscal year is less than 50% of what its executives had once hoped for. “It’s been a rout,” said Ishan Dutt, an analyst at research firm Canalys. Even in China, Apple’s market share is now 8%, down from its peak of 12.5% in 2015.
Experts highlight the unique challenges presented by the Indian market which Apple continues to ignore. While competitors have tweaked their phones to address local consumer concerns, such as better battery life and offering less expensive models, Apple has stayed firm on its pricing and products.
Meanwhile, competitors like China’s OnePlus, Xiaomi Corp. —sometimes called “the Apple of China”—and BBK Electronics Corp.’s Oppo and Vivo flooded India with smartphones, many of which cost less than $200. Some signed on Bollywood and cricket stars, among India’s biggest celebrities, to promote their products.
One cost advantage competitors have over Apple is the ability to manufacture their devices in India. Doing so helps them avoid a tariff that adds 20% to the already high price of iPhones imported from China.
Apple recently announced that it would stop reporting data on unit sales, a move analysts believe is an acknowledgment the iPhone’s best years have passed.