Apple believed India would be a decent wellspring of a developing country. There are three reasons why Apple iPhone marketing strategy are not effective in India.
Why the iPhone can’t compete in India?
1. A price sensitive market
The biggest reason for Apple’s struggle in India is that its handsets are priced at the very top of the market, while the vast majority of Indian users buy cheaper devices. Apple’s flagship 256GB iPhone X is priced in India at Rs. 1,08,930, or roughly $1,600, while the average smartphone retails at roughly one-tenth the price.
According to Counterpoint Research, the “premium smartphone market” — phones that cost Rs. 30,000, or roughly $450 — contributes to just 4 percent of the overall smartphone sales in India.
2. The this-is-not-the-USA consideration
Then there are a bunch of other factors that put the iPhone at a disadvantage when compared to the competition. Indians love features like dual-SIM support and expandable storage for the convenience they offer, and the iPhone lacks both.
The average Indian phone consumer also tends to value a spec-sheet over the user experience when making a purchasing decision, which also puts the iPhone at a disadvantage. “An Rs. 1 lakh (roughly $1,450) phone with just 3GB of RAM? I can get twice that for one-fifth the price,” is a statement one hears way too often in India.
While it’s easy to dismiss those points as personal preferences, it’s harder to forgive Apple’s software shortcomings. Apple Maps, for example, does not support navigation in India and lacks even the most basic points of interest in major cities, rendering the app practically useless.
Siri does a better job at understanding Indian accents than it used to, but it’s still nowhere close to Google Assistant’s speech recognition capabilities, and it lacks features like local restaurant and movie information in India. There’s no sign of Apple Pay, even though Samsung Pay has been available in the country for over a year.
3. The way forward
That’s not to suggest Apple will go down the same route as Sony or HTC anytime soon. Globally, the iPhone is doing as well as ever, and with the launch of iPhone 8 and iPhone X, the average selling price has actually gone up, not down. But unless the company suddenly decides to introduce a $300 iPhone, it’s hard to see how Apple can immediately start selling more units in markets like India in a way that will gain them significant market share.