Macs help drive record sales for Apple in India

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on October 31, 2019

The Apple store in Manhattan, New York   -  REUTERS

Apple has been seeing a steady decline in iPhone sales globally and India is no exception. But sharper focus on India market has started to show results in other products-Macs, Apple Watch and Airpods.

“We established new Q4 records in many major developed and emerging markets, including the US, Canada, Germany, France, Korea, Singapore, Brazil, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam,” Tim Cook, CEO, Apple said while announcing the quarterly numbers on Wednesday.

“We generate an all-time revenue record for Mac in the US and in India, and a fourth-quarter rate of revenue record in Japan,” Cook said.

But in the last quarter, Apple finally pulled its socks up and started focussing on the Indian market with special pricing, promotions and e-commerce push. According to Counterpoint Research, Apple sales in India grew 22 per cent in the April-June quarter on the back of this aggressive sales push. The sales grew even faster in the July-September quarter. “During the July-September quarter, Apple announced a back-to-school program for students wherein it was giving flat Rs 30,000 discounts on Apple Mac and MacBooks to drive sales. That has seen a massive uptake and growth in sales is a result of that,” Satyajit Sinha, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research said.

That meant a MacBook Pro that costed Rs 1,49,000 was suddenly down to Rs 1,14,000 or some other models that went down from Rs 80,000 to Rs 50,000.

Mac was already the star product for Apple in India in the March-June quarter as well, driven by EMI offerings. But student discounts in the last quarter came as a big push for sales.

“Mac is something that'll be the key device for Apple in India. With student discounts and availability of older models in India, Macbook Air costs less than 60k in India. Compared to a high end Windows PC, MacBook is turning out to be a premium yet cheaper alternative,” Faisal Kawoosa, founder of techARC, said.

Another trend driving sales for Macs was something to do with delayed purchase decisions from consumers.

“Laptop is becoming a very well though of purchase. People are holding on to their laptops for longer because they are doing most of the things on smartphones. So when they actually go out to buy a laptop, they look at a premium, slimmer and faster laptops. And that’s where they prefer to spend the extra bucks on a Mac rather than a Windows device since Apple still has a massive brand pull in India,” Navkendar Singh, Research Director with IDC India, said.

Apple Watch and Apple’s wireless headphones Airpods were also a big hit during the quarter.

“AirPod along with Apple Watch 3 and 4 have done exceedingly well in last 6 months. Apple AirPod really make sense for someone who has an iPhone. On the other hand, Apple Watch 3 and 4 prices have been dropped sharply, making it a lot more affordable than ever and therefore helping sales in India,” Singh said.

In the previous quarter, ended in June, Apple had said that it has bounced back to growth in India. “In emerging markets, we returned to growth in mainland China, grew strong double digits in India and in Brazil, and we set new Q3 records in Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines," Cook had said during the earnings call after the third quarter.

Apple’s India revenues have been choppy since the time of the launch of iPhone X as existing iPhone users delayed purchases and new ones found it hard to pay the high price of the new devices. Sales of iPhones have declined over 50 per cent in the past year. But during the July-September quarter, even iPhone sales increased and Apple after a long time came in the top 10 mobile phone brands in India, in terms of unit sales.

However, it will take Apple to get back to the pole position in premium smartphone sales in India, a segment dominated by OnePlus and Samsung at the moment.

Early sales of iPhone 11Pro in India are however promising, as per analysts and if Apple is able to get aggressive with iPhone sales the way it did with Mac, India could turn into a promising market for Apple.

Published on October 31, 2019

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