I have often talked about the importance of India to Apple's future growth. In fact, I would go as far as saying that India is critical to Apple's future growth (in the iPhone segment) especially now that the Chinese market seems to be slowing down as saturation could be nearing in that country.
However, India is at the nascent stage of smart-phone growth and its 1.3 billion population makes it even more important for Apple to start providing a smartphone that is more affordable to the consumers in India.
Here's a couple of points from Kantar's latest report/survey:
"Over the next 12 months, 51% of current mobile phone owners in India say they intend to upgrade their devices. For current smartphone owners, that number is 52%. Samsung is the top brand preferred in India at 26%, followed by Apple at 15%. All of this bodes well for Apple, especially if it can begin to manufacture iPhones in India in the coming months."
Regarding growth in the premium segment in India, Kantar said the following in its report earlier this month, "purchases over $300 remain a small fraction of the market, but this is where Apple and Samsung dominate. For Apple and Samsung, opportunities in India may not be immediate, but over the next few years we believe that consumers will become more engaged in services, 4G infrastructure will be stronger, and by all predictions ? people will want more premium phones."
Samsung is at the top only due to the fact that it has many smartphone offerings in the sub-$300 per unit price point versus Apple that currently has none. The iPhone SE sells for around $350 per unit in India.
Says Kantor, "rapidly expanding 4G infrastructure and low-cost 4G data services introduced by India telecom leader Reliance Jio have led to increased competition in India and stimulated higher demand for 4G-capable devices."
With Apple already looking at expanding facilities (along with OEM partner Wistron) that are already assembling iPhones in Bengaluru in India, it looks like Apple is moving full speed ahead to bring to market as many locally assembled phones as possible, as quickly as possible.
If Apple manages to break into the sub-$300/at $300 per unit segment, it will make rapid market share gains versus Samsung pretty quickly as the iPhone remains the aspirational choice of most consumers in India. Once that price barrier is penetrated Apple iPhone sales in India will surge like it did in the early stages in China.
Words to the wise.
Apple shares closed at $153.61 per share on Friday, May 26 2017, up $0.55 per share for the week.
Finally, with Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) just around the corner, it will be interesting to see whether Apple is able to announce a new product (Siri speaker system ala the Echo, maybe?) or will it be the usual product/OS refreshes?
We shall find out in a week or so.
(Long aapl, long and short aapl options)