iPhone 6S, 6S Plus India Launch: Bookings Miss Target

Apple’s aggressive sales strategy in India may have iphone 6sbackfired to some extent as bookings for the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus have fallen short of expectations, said some of the company’s trade partners. Against a bold target of tripling pre-bookings for the devices, which will be available in India on October 16, these have risen by just 10-15% compared with last year for the previous models, the partners said. They said buyers expect lower prices online once the phone becomes widely available.

Thanks to lower online prices, Apple’s ambitious sales target for the new generation of devices could still eventually be met. Earlier this year, Apple had allowed its distributors to sell at the lowest price to the e-commerce channel, leading to a surge in sales after having followed a conservative line that meant all vendors had to hold their rates at the company-mandated level.

Adding to buyers’ hesitation on pre-bookings is price. The entry model costs Rs 8,500-9,500 more than last year’s launch price, said the executives cited above.

“Almost a couple of thousand potential customers who we had reached out for pre-bookings said they would be in a wait-and-watch mode since they feel prices online would crash two-three weeks after the launch just ahead of Diwali (in November),” said the chief executive officer of a leading consumer electronics chain who didn’t want to be named.

He pointed out that even during the current online festive sales, the biggest discounts were on (older) Apple products among mainstream brands. Leading cellphone and consumer electronics retail chains said they were forced to reach out to customers for pre-bookings, unlike the previous year when demand outstripped supply. The India experience thus far runs counter to the global scenario — Apple recently reported record sales for the latest iPhones with more than 13 million units sold three days after the initial launch. An executive at a leading ecommerce company said iPhone pre-bookings have been muted, largely because of high prices.

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