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iPhone is status symbol for desi users, but how can it become the apple of India’s eye?

November 1, 2021
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Tech giant Apple is carving a niche in India’s thriving smartphone market, even amid Android’s high popularity in the country. And the key to its success lies mainly in the large urban cities, where the iPhone has become a fully fledged status symbol for many desi customers.

Owning iPhone is a status symbol

Multifaceted may be the best word to describe India’s current operating system (OS) landscape, as noted by a recent ENV Media research on mobile devices: Android is the market leader with 74.65 percent market share, including desktop and tablet devices; Windows places second with 16.17 percent overall share, while iOS and OS X have a combined 3.6 percent market share. KaiOS and “Unknown” OS round up the list with 0.76 percent and 3.91 percent, respectively.

The numbers, however, are changing—as Apple is poised to take in $3 billion in revenue in India for the fiscal year ending September, a growth attributed to the release of iPhone 12 in 2020. There is growing demand for Apple products in the country in recent years, particularly among consumers in highly urbanized states and territories. Proprietary data from SevenJackpots’ casino comparison site showed that Apple is the premium smartphone brand in the country although competitors like OnePlus are slowly catching up.

“The iPhone remains a status symbol for most desi consumers, whether they possess one or have never seen one. Apple sales may be promoted by individual influencers with following in Delhi and Mumbai, for example, those already affluent and those wishing to look prosperous,” according to ENV Media analysts.

Apple iPhone’s popularity in India is further explained in a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which found that owning the smartphone in the country is indicative of belonging to a “high-income” group with a probability of 69.1 percent: “Across all years in our data, no individual brand is as predictive of being high-income as owning an Apple iPhone.”

Apple wants to ‘Make (it) in India’

To fully penetrate the price-conscious mobile market in India, Apple has to make a consistent effort to target consumers—not just by offering software and value for money, but also ensuring it has actual presence in the country via actual stores, along with improved service coverage and better price offers than its competitors.

Recently, the U.S. tech giant has been making strategic plays to boost its presence in the country: aside from the release of the 5G-enabled iPhone 12, Apple is also preparing to open its first official store in India, following the launch of the dedicated Apple India store in late 2020. It is also joining the “Make in India” initiative of the central government, by transitioning its facilities in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Shifting the manufacturing to local facilities will help Apple avoid the import tariffs that have heavily impacted the price of iPhones and other Apple devices. With this approach, it is expected that Apple may be able to lower the price range of its devices and essentially give the “value for money” that many Indian consumers are looking for.

Tech giant Apple is carving a niche in India’s thriving smartphone market, even amid Android’s high popularity in the country. And the key to its success lies mainly in the large urban cities, where the iPhone has become a fully fledged status symbol for many desi customers.

Owning iPhone is a status symbol

Multifaceted may be the best word to describe India’s current operating system (OS) landscape, as noted by a recent ENV Media research on mobile devices: Android is the market leader with 74.65 percent market share, including desktop and tablet devices; Windows places second with 16.17 percent overall share, while iOS and OS X have a combined 3.6 percent market share. KaiOS and “Unknown” OS round up the list with 0.76 percent and 3.91 percent, respectively.

The numbers, however, are changing—as Apple is poised to take in $3 billion in revenue in India for the fiscal year ending September, a growth attributed to the release of iPhone 12 in 2020. There is growing demand for Apple products in the country in recent years, particularly among consumers in highly urbanized states and territories. Proprietary data from SevenJackpots’ casino comparison site showed that Apple is the premium smartphone brand in the country although competitors like OnePlus are slowly catching up.

“The iPhone remains a status symbol for most desi consumers, whether they possess one or have never seen one. Apple sales may be promoted by individual influencers with following in Delhi and Mumbai, for example, those already affluent and those wishing to look prosperous,” according to ENV Media analysts.

Apple iPhone’s popularity in India is further explained in a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which found that owning the smartphone in the country is indicative of belonging to a “high-income” group with a probability of 69.1 percent: “Across all years in our data, no individual brand is as predictive of being high-income as owning an Apple iPhone.”

Apple wants to ‘Make (it) in India’

To fully penetrate the price-conscious mobile market in India, Apple has to make a consistent effort to target consumers—not just by offering software and value for money, but also ensuring it has actual presence in the country via actual stores, along with improved service coverage and better price offers than its competitors.

Recently, the U.S. tech giant has been making strategic plays to boost its presence in the country: aside from the release of the 5G-enabled iPhone 12, Apple is also preparing to open its first official store in India, following the launch of the dedicated Apple India store in late 2020. It is also joining the “Make in India” initiative of the central government, by transitioning its facilities in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Shifting the manufacturing to local facilities will help Apple avoid the import tariffs that have heavily impacted the price of iPhones and other Apple devices. With this approach, it is expected that Apple may be able to lower the price range of its devices and essentially give the “value for money” that many Indian consumers are looking for.

“Most Chinese brands (and Samsung) have been manufactured locally for years. The “Make in India’ initiative of the Central government has provided a series of incentives and regulatory facilitations for those producers; now, even Apple is joining the industrial transition with facilities and suppliers on Indian turf,” ENV Media analysts said. “The latter approach will help iPhones avoid the heavy import tariffs that have prevented them from lowering the price somewhat.”

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Uzair Jan

Website Developer, For The Kashmir Monitor

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