Apple narrows down focus on India; 400% increase in sales

Apple Inc., which has been ignoring India for a long time, seems to be eyeing the attention of the Indian smart phone market which has constantly been dominated by Samsung for a number of years.

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It is currently in the middle of an extensive advertising and marketing campaign for its iPhone, backing out from a strategy that paid stress on tying up with mobile operators. Analysts said that this could be the beginning of a sustained effort by Apple, which is also the manufacturer of the iPad tablet, to compete in the top level of the smart phone business.

“Apple is doing what it did in China three or four years ago. They studied the market, learned consumer needs and suddenly went aggressive,” said Jayanth Kolla, founder and partner at Convergence Catalyst, a telecom research firm. “From having about 30 people here six months ago, Apple India is now about 150-people strong.”

According to market researcher IDC, sales of the iPhone have shot up 3-4 times over the past three months and a part of the success is related with opting for an open distribution model. “Apple is aggressively looking at the Asia-Pacific market with strong focus on China and India,” said Manasi Yadav, a senior analyst at IDC India.

More than 700 million smartphones had been shipped in 2012. In the final quarter of the year, Samsung cornered around 29% of the market compared to Apple’s 22%. Smartphone penetration rates in developed economies are estimated at over 50%, compared with less than 10% in India.

Despite its recent marketing efforts, Apple is struggling to gain volume growth and market share because of its limited product range. ”

Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner said that aggressive marketing and a push with distributors could increase brand visibility and connect, but they would need a broader portfolio for increasing market share in India.

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