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Why Apple failed in India miserably- 6 reasons

Apple iPhone – the world’s best and the world’s largest premium mobile brand is failing in India? Unbelievable but it is true. The company, which is the torchbearer in smartphone and technology couldn’t do well in India like it’s foreign counterparts.

Rising disposable income, growing internet penetration, and decreasing data costs are contributing to the fast-paced adoption of smartphones in the country. This increasing demand has attracted new players from both within and outside the country, to offer consumers a number of options and choice.

According to Statista, the number of smartphone users in India was estimated to reach over 760 million in 2021, with the number of smartphone users worldwide forecasted to exceed 3.8 billion users in 2021.

Then why is Apple not able to penetrate into the Indian markets with only a market share of 11%.?

Let’s take a look at the reasons behind why the 2 trillion-dollar company failed to make an impact in India, which is one of the largest markets in the world.? What apple got wrong with India?

Even though India’s economy is bursting with potential, it is still a relatively poor and developing country where the GDP per capita is slightly over a thousand dollars. This creates a market environment where expensive, or overpriced gadgets are just not welcome. However, the GDP numbers are of the reasons why Apple is failing in India quite spectacularly.

Though Apple products managed to be the darlings of the elite class which turned out to be a symbol of classiness and pride.  This makes the Apple iPhone and other products a rich man’s toy. Resulting in apple products reaching only into the hands of few people.

Apple has shipped 10.6 percent fewer iPhones year-on-year in the third quarter of 2020, meaning that it has been overtaken by Xiaomi for the first time, according to new data shared by IDC. So apple failed to penetrate into the entry-level and mid-range segment which enjoys a  lion’s share of India’s smartphone market.

Even when they started manufacturing iPhones in India, iPhone’s didn’t get any cheaper. In addition, Apple manufactures its iPhones and other products using imported materials sourced from. more than 150 countries, making it a distant dream for the common man.

# Mistake number 2: No value for money

Even though  Apple’s handsets typically offer very good performance, with a seamless ecosystem that all Apple devices work can together. They provide state of the art technology in every iPhone. Unfortunately, The iPhone no longer stands out as it once did from its competition. Chinese and domestic smartphones boasting capabilities similar to those of the iPhone are now available for a fraction of the iPhone’s cost. Samsung’s high-end phones have far more advanced features making the iPhone feel the heat.

Does apple offer value for money

For example, if you compare the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s 6.9-inch display with iPhone, it offers a higher resolution and a peak refresh rate that’s double the 6.5-inch panel inside the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Thus,  new-gen iPhones lag behind android devices in many aspects.

Secondly, older iPhones lose a significant amount of value once the brand new iPhone is released. The 2019 phone depreciation study conducted by Decluttr, a seller of refurbished phones has found that handsets could lose 30% of their value within  24 hours of the Apple keynote in September. According to the study, the value of older generation iPhones depreciates by at least 40 percent in the first month after the latest model is launched.

The pricing trends observed by Decluttr reveal that the value of iPhones stabilizes thereafter, losing one percent of its original value every month, leaving iPhones with no value for money. This raised the eyebrows of the Indian consumers who look for good value for money with a price. As a result, even existing customers of iPhones move to cheaper android alternatives.

# Reason number 3: Lack of features that the Indian consumers need

Although while you call iPhone the best device ever, you might miss certain basic features on an iPhone. Apple has the ability to bring such features but does not want to do it. You might wonder that you cannot do simple stuff in a more than $1000 smartphone. Like USB Type-C charging ports or expandable memory. in addition, Apple provides limited Customization, widgets, and skins. you can’t decide the way your iPhone should look.

These factors make Indian consumers reluctant to iPhones. Apple failed to meet the needs of the typical Indian customers.

# Reason number 4: No heterogeneity in design

One of the features for which Apple is known is consistency in design. But consumers in India, prefer to have a different look when they buy a new phone, which iPhones don’t provide, plus many android counterparts are copy-cats of iPhone’s design.  Obviously, they are not a good choice for anyone who wants a phone with a distinctive look to stand out in the crowd.

# Reason number 5: Limited number of(free) apps5

iPhones are known for their simplicity and ease of use. But iPhones let down users with a limited number of apps. From the very beginning, Apple has been extremely (and, for developers, frustratingly) selective about the apps that are allowed on the Apple App Store. The reason for being so selective was basically for quality assurance. Sure enough, iOS apps have surely gained a reputation for working well and being quite polished.

While there’s something to be said for making sure your users get only the best-quality apps, there’s certainly a downside. For app developers, there much less risk that you’ll spend thousands and thousands of hours on app development just to have your app denied for inclusion on the Google Play Store. This has also led to a much more vibrant development community for Android apps.

To some degree, the higher price of iOS apps is a statement of how much harder it is for developers to get their apps on the Apple App Store versus the more laid-back Google Play Store. So many users resort to the illegal) practice of jailbreaking their iPhones to access free apps thereby putting their security at risk.

# Reason number 6: Apple maps are not as good as Google maps

Maps have come a long way since the days of charting locations on a piece of paper. Navigation tools have made physical maps obsolete and have completely transformed the way we travel, explore, and share directions. Today, Google Maps has become synonymous with the word ‘map’, even more so than an actual map. At WWDC 2020, Apple Maps got quite a few upgrades to take on its main Android counterpart.


apple map vs google map

Because Apple Maps uses vector graphics, Apple’s satellite view has a more photographic, conceptual look, while Google’s satellite view looks more realistic. But apple maps are simply no match for google maps.

The final notes

Undoubtedly Apple iPhone is the most revolutionary device the tech world has ever seen. With no compromise in quality. Apple iPhone has changed the way we use mobile phones.
But Apple made a blunder in understanding the price-conscious Indian markets. if apple can penetrate into the mid-range phone segment by providing quality products at an affordable price and an effective supply chain to distribute its products, then it can rule the Indian Smartphone market.


Ashin S Anish

Mr. Ashin S Anish is a financial market analyst, certified from the Indian School of Business. A certified Money manager from the University of California, Irvine, Cybersecurity tools, and cyberattacks specialist certified by IBM, Certified in Artificial Intelligence from deep, Certified in Portfolio and Risk Management from the University of Geneva and Certified in Microeconomics Principles by the University of Illinois. He is also an avid money manager who believes that you have to be agile as a monkey with money matters...

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  1. Nifty options tips

    Thank you for sharing This knowledge. Excellently written article.

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