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Half of Apple’s India smartphone shipments are iPhone 15

Canalys’ quarterly report revealed the iPhone 15 and its numerous versions made up more than half of Apple’s almost 2.8 million Q4 smartphone shipments in India. Apple promoted the latest models during seasonal sales in India, which occur across online and offline channels during Diwali in the last quarter of the year and give discounts and deals to entice buyers.

According to the Hindu calendar, Diwali was in November last year, giving Apple time to promote the iPhone 15 amid festival sales, Canalys senior analyst Sanyam Chaurasia told Eltrys.

Apple announced the iPhone 15 series, featuring USB-C, the capsule-shaped Dynamic Island, and matte back finishes on all models. This has attracted new and existing iPhone consumers in India, where Android has over 95% market penetration.

Chaurasia noted that, in addition to design upgrades, simple financing, a better consumer environment, and increased retail presence, the iPhone 15 series was more enticing to Indian buyers than its predecessors.

September saw the first iPhone 15 series sales in India. Apple, like other smartphone makers, considers the South Asian nation its global manufacturing base and has extended its local production footprint. The first iPhone batch sold in the country was locally produced.

According to Canalys, Apple’s fourth-quarter share in the world’s second-largest smartphone market was 7%.

Chaurasia told Eltrys Apple’s fourth-quarter shipments increased by 32%.

Samsung and Xiaomi led the Indian smartphone market in the fourth quarter with 21% and 17% shares, respectively. Vivo ranked second in full-year shipments after Samsung, shipping 26.1 million smartphone units in 2023 with a 3% annual growth and a share of 18%, just 1% less than Samsung, which shipped 28.4 million units and saw a 1% drop.

High iPhone prices in India, where price-sensitive purchasers are common, are the main reason Apple has not been a dominant smartphone producer in terms of shipments. Despite local assembly, India’s iPhone prices are far higher than in the U.S. The iPhone 15, which costs $799 in the U.S., costs 79,900 rupees ($961). The average smartphone price in India is $250, compared to $790 in the U.S.

Apple is quickly becoming a household name in the Indian smartphone industry. Per Counterpoint, the third quarter witnessed the largest iPhone shipments in the country, with 2.5 million handsets supplied between July and September. Last year, Apple launched two physical locations in India to increase marketing and attract more customers.

After a five-quarter slide, Indian smartphone shipments rose 20% year-over-year to roughly 39 million devices in the fourth quarter, Canalys said. Despite a 2% annual reduction, the country delivered 148.6 million smartphones in 2023.

Chaurasia reported that “in 2023, growing investment in the mainline retail space proved beneficial not only for vendors but also allowed the overall market to stabilize.” Affordable 5G and the epidemic replacement cycle will fuel mid-single-digit growth in the Indian smartphone market in 2024, according to Canalys. Vendors will struggle most this year to control escalating material costs.

Juliet P.
Author: Juliet P.

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