iPhones become the latest casualty of demonetization
Apple's revenue and sales targets for India are in jeopardy as iPhone sales have plummeted since the demonetization. Apple had seen a spurt in iPhone sales from October to November 2016, but iPhone sales have gone down considerably since then. Apple, which is on the verge of setting up a manufacturing plant in Bangalore, currently has only 2% of the smartphone market in India.
Huge pressure on Apple India
"There is huge pressure on driving sales numbers, which is why there has been a never-before-seen flurry to launch consumer offers to push iPhone sales - be it bundling, cashback or buyback," said one senior industry executive.
Why the sudden decline in iPhone sales?
Since the demonetization, smartphone sales in India fell by 30-35%. Apple's growth rate, as a result, slowed down by almost 50%. Although Apple declined to comment on this development, it is widely understood that almost 80% of iPhone sales in India have mainly been cash-driven purchases from unaccounted money, and thus, as a result of the demonetization, iPhone sales plummeted.
Good days are still far away
"After the government eases up the cash withdrawal limit in March, it will take a few more months for the situation to be back to pre-demonetization days. And then Samsung's next flagship will be launched, which will further impact iPhone sales," said the same executive.
Apple's targets for India
In 2013-2014, Apple India launched its ambitious 'Project Everest' to sell 10 million iPhones in India by 2016-2017. In 2016, Apple CEO Tim Cook set a sales target of 3million iPhones and a revenue target of $3 billion for India during its fiscal year (October 2016-September 2017). The sales target is ambitious at best, and the revenue target has been revised to $2 billion.
Apple needs a two pronged approach
"Apple has realized that if it has to grow in India like in China, it would require both refurbished handsets since it can price them aggressively...and also its own Apple Stores to redefine the entire selling and brand experience," said another senior industry executive.