Apple has lost a trio of major executives in India as the company struggles to boost iPhone sales in one of the fastest growing and major smartphone markets of the world.
The high-profile executives that have left Apple in recent weeks include its national sales and distribution chief, the head of commercial channels and mid-market business, and the head of telecom carrier sales. Post the departure of such key executives, Apple’s sales team in India is now undergoing a restructuring.
Despite Apple’s CEO Tim Cook being very bullish about the Indian smartphone market, Apple has failed to make inroads into the market. The company is estimated to have sold only 3.2 million iPhones in 2017 for a total of 2 percent of the market share. For 2018, things are looking even worse as the company has sold less than 1 million units in the first half of the year.
“iPhone India sales were weak in the first half of 2018 and, even if they show a big jump in the traditionally strong second half, Apple will still fall short of last year,” said Neil Shah, a research director with Counterpoint.
Apple’s business operations in India are being led by Michel Coulomb who took the role in December 2017 after previous head Sanjay Kaul quit. However, as per the report from Bloomberg, his team has been slowing in expanding Apple’s business relationship in the market. Additionally, the company has trouble understanding the Indian smartphone market which has left its sales team “direction-less.”
The Indian smartphone market is very price sensitive, and its a market which is dominated by cheap Android smartphones. This is why Apple focuses on selling older iPhones in the country at a discounted price. To ensure it is able to offer an attractive price for the iPhone SE, which despite its age is selling very well in India, the company even set up a factory in Bengaluru thereby allowing it to avoid various import duties on the handset.
However, with budget Android smartphones getting better, older iPhones are rapidly losing favor among Indian smartphone buyers. The company recently started making the iPhone 6s in India, though it is yet to announce a major price cut for the handset.