Apple has been sharply tracking Samsung in the Indian market after the release of iPhone 5 in November 2012. Even the Cupertino-based tech giant has started selling its iDevices range via online stores and retailers in the country instead of just depending on network providers. Moreover, Apple has flooded the market with bunch of offers to make the iPhones much more affordable, expecting a flying sales in 2013.
While iPhone 5 is available at a down-payment of Rs 16,500 and the balance in EMIs, its predecessor iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 are available on drastic discount price starting from Rs 26,500. To counter this strategy, Samsung discounted the whole Galaxy range by 10% to 20%. Also, the company started offering $15% cash back with EMI offers in order to make them more affordable for consumers.
But, Apple has come up with a new breakthrough strategy where existing smartphone users could grab iPhone 4 at the cost of mere Rs 16,500 under the exchange scheme. Apple is promising to offer minimum Rs 7,000 of discount on its iPhone 4 in exchange of any smartphone in working condition. However, if you already have little modest smartphone you could also expect Rs.10,000 exchange bonus to grab iPhone 4 at Rs 16,500.
Soon after the announcement of the exchange offer for iPhone 4, the sales of the older generation smartphone has trebled, surpassing the demand for the iPhone 5. The consumers seem to be highly interested in buying the iPhone 4 from the new buyback scheme, claim some industry experts.
Are you planning to exchange your used smartphone and get an iPhone 4? Hold on! Apple is actually trying to push the three year old smartphone, which has lost its lure in several markets with the launch of iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 to the consumers. Moreover, it has to be noted that the tech enthusiasts are waiting to witness the launch of the iPhone 5S rumoured to come in different color options and at a cheaper price.
Some analysts suggest the Cupertino based company has decided to end the iPhone 4 and hence, it is in an aggressive rage to push the older model in India in the sub Rs 20,000 price range, where other brands including Samsung, Sony and Nokia are competing with each other for market dominance.
According to IDC India senior market analyst Manasi Yadav, "Aggressive consumer promotional schemes are led directly by Apple, which wants to improve its sell-through and volume market share in India."
Further, Himanshu Chakrawarti, CEO of the Essar Group-owned The Mobile Store, India's largest cellphone retailer, said in a report that Apple has never chased volume market share as aggressively in India as it is doing now. "And with Samsung almost simultaneously launching its scheme, it will further energise the market," he said.
Moreover, IDC statistics claim that Apple is losing out in emerging markets for lack of a cheaper iPhone. Both Apple and Samsung are being outsold in the Indian smartphone market by several local competitors.
Although Samsung still ships the most units in India overall, several local handset makers are making rapid gains with Micromax being in the second position Karbonn in the fifth position. Besides having the advantage of cheaper phone prices, Micromax and Karbonn are also following the local convention of subsidizing monthly data plans.
According to Gartner statistics nearly 75% of the mobile phones used by Indians cost less than about $46 (approx. Rs 2,500). And, hence, the Apple and Samsung offerings could be very expensive for them to buy. However, the EMI scheme and exchange scheme might help Apple to reach a significant position in the market gaining some volume in the number of units shipped.
But, it has to be noted that by the name of exchange scheme Apple is considering India as a market wherein it can wasteyard the outdated smartphones at competitive price point, when other brands are aggressively positioning their new devices.