Forget China: India Is Apple's Most Disappointing Market
In early January, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) warned that its revenue would fall 5% year over year during the first quarter of fiscal 2019, compared to a prior forecast for 1% to 5% growth, due to soft sales of iPhones -- particularly in China. The shocking guidance cut sent bulls scrambling, since the Greater China region generated nearly a fifth of Apple's revenue last year.
Investors have paid less attention to India. Apple once considered India to be its next major growth market. After all, the number of smartphone shipments in India surged from 80 million in 2014 to 150 million in 2018, according to Counterpoint Technology Market Research, and rising income levels in the country should have boosted demand for iPhones. Yet demand for Apple's products has hit a brick wall in India, according to Counterpoint.
投资者对印度的关注较少。苹果曾将印度视为下一个主要增长市场。Counterpoint Technology 市场研究的数据显示，印度智能手机出货量从2014年的8000万部飙升至2018年的1.5亿部，而该国收入水平的上升本应提振对iphone的需求。然而Counterpoint表示，对苹果产品的需求在印度遭遇了瓶颈。
The firm reported that Apple's iPhone shipments in India more than doubled from 1.5 million in 2014 to 3.2 million in 2017, but plunged roughly 50% to just 1.6 million to 1.7 million units in 2018 -- or about 1% of India's smartphone market. Counterpoint attributed the drop-off primarily to the high prices of Apple's latest models and tougher competition. Discounts on older iPhones, zero-down-payment offers, and cash-back plans also failed to attract new buyers.
A market ruled by cheap Android devices
Indian smartphone users clearly favor cheaper Android devices over iPhones, so Chinese OEMs like Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo; Indian OEM Micromax, and South Korea's Samsung rule the market. Here's how their market shares shifted between the third quarters of 2017 and 2018:
Apple is stuck in the shrinking "others" category as these Android OEMs carve up the market. It also faces tough competition within the fragmented market of underdogs -- Counterpoint recently reported that Chinese premium Android device maker OnePlus shipped 500,000 units in India during the fourth quarter, while Apple shipped just 400,000 units.
Apple's dismal performance in India shouldn't have come as a surprise, since the average Indian consumer has less purchasing power than the average Chinese consumer. Microsoft and Alphabet have already been struggling with that fact.
Before Microsoft shuttered most of its mobile hardware business, its India strategy was focused on selling its cheapest Lumia devices and cheap "smart feature phones" there. Google launched its Android One initiative to set unified standards for low-end Android devices in emerging markets, and invested in the popular KaiOS operating system for smart feature phones. Neither company saw a bright future for premium phones in India.
Apple's launch of the "cheaper" iPhone 5c in 2013 seemed to mirror those strategies, but with its small screen and a nearly $600 debut price, its appeal was limited. Apple likely made the same mistake with the iPhone XR, a less-expensive variant of the iPhone X family that was still far too pricey to lure customers away from mid-range Android devices.
苹果在2013年推出的“更为便宜”的iPhone 5c似乎也反映了这些策略，但由于屏幕较小，首发价格接近600美元，其吸引力有限。苹果可能在iPhone XR上也犯了同样的错误。XR是iPhone X系列中价格较低的型号，但仍然过于昂贵，无法吸引消费者远离中端安卓设备。
The cheapest iPhone XR still cost over $1,000 when it launched in India -- about 40% more than its price in the U.S. That price could fall slightly as Apple moves some iPhone production to India, but the move may have more to do with avoiding tariffs than selling iPhones at lower prices.
Can Apple still grow in India?
Apple generally doesn't break out its sales figures for India separately. However, CEO Tim Cook stated during last quarter's conference call that sales were flat in India for that quarter. Yet he also said that he was still a "big believer" in India and "very bullish" on the country's growth prospects. Cook also thinks that opening Apple Stores across India could attract more customers to the company's products.
Yet Apple's options in India seem limited at this point. It probably won't launch significantly cheaper devices in an effort to gain market share from its Android rivals, since that would tarnish its brand. Therefore, Apple needs to get ahead of the tech curve and impress the high-end niche market -- but that won't be easy with its rivals launching head-turning devices this year, including Samsung's foldable Galaxy phones and notchless full-screen devices like Xiaomi's Mi Mix 3.
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/46906.html 译者：Jessica.Wu
India8 hours ago
No point in buying flagship phones anymore, they are priced over $600. A $200 Android phone can deliver 80% performance, speed, quality and functionality of any flagship phone. This high performance low price is going to keep decreasing every year. Apple can never sell their phones in India where majority of people want more performance than status.
Mark4 hours ago
Right because for a fraction of the cost Mi is just as good and innovative as Apple. I love Xiaomi products.
Stupid Flanders3 hours ago
Phones of this kind are INSANELY over-priced. Also, even though India has the "richest man in Asia"...there's really NOT a lot of distribution of wealth (a caste system tends to do that). If you have 50 guys that can afford to buy a thousand phones, they are each only going to buy one or two. What about the REST of the people? Can THEY afford it? If they can't then I don't understand how there could ever be a market for them.
Gustavo4 hours ago
Apple: over rated, over priced.....
hiyosilver1 hour ago
India also has a more open market for phones than US. E.g. Huawei not prohibited and high quality Sony phones are assembled in India, thus cheap.
CaptainKKK8 hours ago
haha. Korea and China takeover. Unify East Asia and takeover the world baby.
robertl7 hours ago
There are lots of poor Indians in India. They simply cannot afford the phones. It is the truth.
D P6 hours ago
Oh Apple has backdoor espionage harder & software to spy & steal consumer data. Sounds familiar?
Flash1 hour ago
Also the fact is, India is too poor to be a big Apple market. Apple goods are not cheap.
John5 hours ago
Indians are not materialistic people. They don’t value luxury brands like they do in China. It also doesn’t help that there GDP is $2,000 per person vs $10,000 in China.
RipeMango3 hours ago
I make more money than 98% of India population and I can not really afford 1200 to 2000 usd iPhone if I was being fiscal responsible. I dont know how the other 98% are suppose to afford it.
Anonymous6 hours ago
i love to have an iPhone but they are way to expensive
GJ8 hours ago
Tell me this, Apple thinks it can sell a lot of their pricey phones in India where 60% of population subsist under $1 a day. Are they day dreaming? India is very poor country, Apple can't sell their wares there unless they discount them by 80% and eat their losses!
larry8 hours ago
Well it looks like the people there have enough sense not to pay $1000 for a friggin phone!
Ryan4 hours ago
When Steve Jobs died so did the innovative spirit of Apple. Turns out releasing the same freaking phone over and over again and charging a month’s paycheck isn’t a great business model.
Seby4 hours ago
Indians barely have enough food to eat and you expect them to buy Apple products. It is common sense to not have expectations.
TeaRose4 hours ago
India is still by far a very poor country. Half the country is still uneducated and highly poor. What are they going to do with an I Phone? Absolutely nothing. Plenty of materialistic people in India, they just fall into the "RICH" category among many others. They can afford such luxuries.
Shyerrylittle7 hours ago
Lol,you wana sell $1000 phone in India where 770 million dot heads are toiletless and about 800 million Street squatters live off buck a day!!!!
DOUG6 hours ago
Apple is arrogant with their overpriced phones. They must be making over 90% gross margin. Make and phone for $50 and sell if for $500. Sit back apple and let the world pass you by like Sears. Change to die
Flash1 hour ago
India has been a freeloader all the time. That’s why Trump treats Modi like a garbage. If our economic and political interest are not serve then why do we care about India.
William3 hours ago
Because they are too damn expensive!