For mobile phone manufacturers, India is a gold market to be investigated.
On the roads of New Delhi, the shops that are connected by blue and green characters are particularly eye-catching. This is the offline store of vivo and OPPO in India. Even this year, the mobile phone industry is not very well-off, but in New Delhi, there are still 8,000 stores with OV titles, and these stores can sell at least 100 mobile phones a day.
▲ OPPO and vivo stores in India. Image from: Economictimes
And the contest with Xiaomi is also planning to open 5000 stores in India in 2019 and gradually spread from the city to the countryside.
In October this year, the market research company Counterpoint announced the share of the 3rd quarter stake in the Indian smartphone market in 2018. Xiaomi is ranked first on the Indian market, followed by Samsung, vivo and OPPO.
▲ 2018 Q3 India market share ranking
But unlike the "global delivery rank", in this statistic we did not see Apple.
From ambitious to losing trust
Do not think that the low market share means that Apple has no plans to enter the Indian market. Instead, Apple has tried to sell iPhone to India.
On the streets of New Delhi, we can sometimes see iPhone ads, and even Apple's counter can be seen in offline stores. Obviously, Apple has advertising in India. But even Indian consumers seem less interested in iPhone.
Amit Rajput, a salesman selling iPhones in an electronics store in New Delhi, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal:
In 2013, he sold 80 iPhones a day, but today most Indian consumers do not want to pay more than $ 300 for mobile phones and 300 dollars are just the price of new iPhones today. A small part.
Between 2011 and 2015, Apple's annual sales share in the Indian market increased from $ 100 million to $ 1 billion. Annual sales have increased 10 times in 4 years, giving Apple confidence in the Indian market and setting a $ 5 billion five-year plan for annual sales by 2020.
▲ 201 visited Cook India. Image from: Indian Newspaper / Associated Press
The following year, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited India and met India's Prime Minister Modi. Apple's emphasis on new markets and support from Indian politicians are all optimistic about Apple's prospects in India.
But Apple also has its own concerns about this new market – the price of iPhone is not acceptable to all, even less in India, where the rich and the poor are different. Wall Street Journal said that a person familiar with the case said that during Cook's visit he said that "India is different from other countries and we have to treat it differently."
This is similar to what Cook said in his interview with Ai Faner, "I learned to add dual-card dual standby on the iPhone XS Max in China."
▲ In 2016, Cook and India's Prime Minister Modi. Image from: India Press and Information Bureau
But unlike the increase or decrease of mobile phone features, Apple focuses on models and prices sold in the region. Under India's high tax rate, if Apple wants to control the price of iPhone in India, it will inevitably need to control the cost of iPhone to enter India.
It may seem simple, but it is obviously more complicated than adding or removing mobile phones.
Last year, Apple and the producer Wistron opened a collection line for iPhone SE in Karnataka, India. The main purpose of the company was only two: let iPhone SE meet the consumption level of the Indian people and avoid the high imports of the Indian government. tariffs.
▲ Image from: Digital trends
But with the constant update of the iPhone, iPhone SE, which has been around for many years, seems to have lost its appeal in India. Whether it's price or product, it just seems to be a phone that is no longer common. This year, the global smartphone market contract contracted, making Apple's share in the Indian market close to zero.
According to Canalys, Apple's total deliveries of the second quarter in India are the lowest in the last three years, approximately 300,000 units. Even though the fourth quarter was the highest this year, about 500,000 units, but still less than last year's Q1. The minimum level of 600,000 units per quarter. However, the number of employees at Apple's factory in India has reached record highs.
▲ Apple India supplies (left-hand side) / conference call called "India" times (top right) / Apple India's factory worker (below). Image from: Canalys
On the other hand, Apple has gradually lost confidence in the Indian market. According to another Canalys statistics, the keyword "India" has become less frequent at each conference call.
Contrary to Cook's 2016 conference call, iPhone sales in India increased by 56%, "contrary to Cook's report 2018 Q4 results last month:
The Chinese market developed strongly during the quarter, but the Indian market was flat.
It can be seen that although the factory is established locally and the low cost strategy is assumed with cheap models, iPhone sales in India are still not as good as Apple's wishes.
Indian market clamped using power and the Internet
India's communications industry is much more complex than we think.
IPhone's weak sales in India have made Apple an unprecedented challenge. Why is not the iPhone that of the Indians as one of the most popular smartphones in the world?
Certainly, objectively analyze the Indian consumer market, we can probably understand the reasons.
Unlike the Chinese market, where consumption levels have increased in recent years, India's development in smartphones remains. Consumer spending for smartphones is still in the acceptance period "less than $ 300", although iPhone 7 was a few years ago, the price in India is still beyond the acceptable range of public (approximately 550 USD).
For Apple, who has been on the right track, it wants to meet India's expenses. Only iPhone SE has taken a cheap route.
According to eMarketer statistics quoted by The Wall Street Journal, 95% of Indians have an ideal purchase cost of less than $ 500 (approximately 3447 yuan), and 75% of the person's ideal cost is $ 250.
- High import duties / duties are weakened
In February this year, the Indian government once again adjusted the duty on imported mobile phones, from 15% to 20%, to promote the development of India's manufacturing industry in "Made in India".
However, although the Indian iPhone SE has been sold locally, models such as the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 still need to be imported separately, and the price increases naturally. For this reason, Apple can only sell iPhone SE to helpless at a lower price in India to protect its market share.
Earlier, Apple had filed an application with the Indian government to set up the Apple Store, but the condition for the Indian Foreign Investment Agency was that 30% of the iPhone parts would be purchased in India.
Obviously, this condition is unreasonable for Apple, which has already put production lines in China, and as a result, Apple's plan to open an Apple store in India is still deadlocked.
Additionally, people's lack of interest in iPhone features is also one of the reasons why mobile phone sales in India are affected. The Wall Street Journal believes that although Apple has implemented a well-established communications ecosystem for iPhone, such as iMessage and AirDrop, these features are not appealing to consumers in emerging markets such as India.
- Competitors from China
IPhone SE produced in India is priced in line with the consumption level of most Indians, but the aircraft still has a sales situation in India. In fact, a large part of the reason is due to the effects of Chinese brands.
Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun's "Are you okay" brushed hot spot in Ghost Farm, in addition to laughing at domestic netizens, the term "Hello India Mi fan" also means this once called Chinese companies with "price slaughterers" have entered Indian scene.
In 2016, Xiaomi launched Red Rice Note 3 in India, priced at 9999 rupees, about 142 US dollars. This low model model with a price of 100 yuan in China quickly became a popular hit in India.
By 2017, Xiaoma's annual shipments reached 90 million units, of which the overseas market generated annual sales of 32.1 billion yuan, ranked first in the total supply of the Indian market. Although Samsung exceeded Xiaomi in the second quarter of this year, it has reached 27% in the third quarter, and it has returned to the top.
▲ Mi rabbit and Indian "rice flour". Image from: Visual China
Immediately thereafter, OPPO also launched the overseas submarine Realme in May this year for the Indian market. OPPO placed brand models in the range of 10,000 rupees to 20,000 rupees, about 900 yuan to 1900 yuan, and through online sales cooperation through Amazon and other channels.
In addition, OPPO's first foreign R & D center has recently been implemented in India, which will help OPPO further locate its business.
It can be seen that the iPhone, under the influence of Chinese rivals like Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo, is much less attractive in India than the cheap and affordable midnights.
▲ 2018 Q3 India's advanced mobile phone sales data, a victory over Samsung. Image from: Counterpoint
Analysts believe that India's complex economic system is an obstacle to selling intermediate products to advanced products like Apple and Huawei. But since India's mobile coverage is still less than half of China, the country with a population of over 1.3 billion still has great potential for smartphone companies.
It is reported that Apple, in response to the current Indian sales situation, will transform its advanced strategy and target the Middle East consumer groups and high income in India. But if this will save Apple's market share in India it is still unclear.