Apple is struggling to make the iPhone a success in India after shipping just 800,000 units during the second quarter of 2016, according to data from Strategy Analytics. In the same quarter last year, it shipped 1.2 million units.
That’s a decline of 35 percent. Given that India is now the world’s third-largest smartphone market, this is particularly bad news for Apple.
Like China, India is still seen as a great avenue for growth, with smartphone sales expected to top 139 million units this year. As of the second quarter of 2016, smartphone shipments had grown 19 percent annually to reach 31 million units.
The problem for Apple is that the majority of those devices will be powered by Android, and they’ll cost less than $150. Google’s platform already has a 97 percent share of the market in India, and Apple’s high prices won’t have much of an impact on that.
Even the iPhone SE is considered far too expensive for the vast majority of consumers in India, while the government has rejected Apple’s plan to sell refurbished devices at a more affordable price (though the company hasn’t given up yet).
Apple has always stated that it won’t make “cheap” products, but when it comes to the iPhone, it might be the company’s only option if it wants to carve out a greater footprint for itself in emerging markets, where smartphone sales are soaring.
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently remarked that the company is now “taking a step back to view India more strategically.” The company still has plans to open local Apple Stores, and it has already launched an app accelerator and local facilities focused on Maps.[via The Verge]