Apple's failure in India

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India is one of the fastest growing smartphones markets in the world. Every year, millions of users will be having a smartphone for the first time in India. That is a huge market potential for the smartphone makers. However, the biggest of them all, Apple, the most popular phone is deemed a failure in the Indian market.

There are many reasons for Apple's failure, while some might argue that it is because India is a developing country and not many users can afford the iPhone, it is true to a certain extent. But the larger share of the failure is associated with Apple itself.

Apple's marketing vs others

If you take a look at how the biggest smartphone shareholders of India Xiaomi, Oppo and Samsung advertise their products viz a viz how Apple does it, the difference is striking. India is a growing e-commerce market, but most of the people would still like to purchase their phone offline. People here would like to use their phone first before they make a purchase. Which is very odd from Apple's primary markets like the US or Australia, where Estore plays most of the purchasing.

For this purpose, there are loads of Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, and Samsung stores every square kilometer even in rural areas. Apple has virtually little to no stores at all.

The Android convenience

I reflect the typical Indian smartphone consumer. When I started off, I just want a cheaper smartphone at my hand and since no iPhones are cheap, India has learned towards Android. Now once the consumers grow and are upgrading themselves to premium phones, they choose to stick with the Android environment for convenience and buys the Galaxy S or other Android high-end phones.

Apple will have to come up with aggressive marketing campaigns if they plan to revert the Indian default mindset of picking an Android device at any level. So far Apple either doesn't plan to or don't have any idea how to do it.

Manufacturing units 

A country-specific manufacturing unit is very important for the success of any phone models. Xiaomi has three manufacturing units in India, Samsung has their largest manufacturing unit in India but with Apple, they only recently strike a deal with the Indian government to manufacture their phone and that too only for SE low-end version.

The number of users that know what iPhone SE is probably too small to be even considered a profit convertible market.

Since India is a developing country, all foreign premium products are charged with heavy taxes. The iPhone X comes with an extra 300$ in tax when it comes to India for sale, which is completely going to damage its market accessibility.

If Apple plans to dominate India, they will first have to come to India.

Diversity

If any foreign company needs to be applauded for being really diverse, that's Google. Google in almost all of their systems has successfully blended in to fit the vast diversity of India. Google assistant can recognize all sorts of Indian accents and even popular local words but Apple's Siri barely gets the Indian accent.

Apple's inability or unwillingness to adapt to the incredible diversity of the country would remain a solid wall for Apple's growth in the subcontinent.

 Payment options

The Apple store as of now in India only accepts payment via credit cards, which is something only 1% of Indians even use. Majority of Indians use debit cards for transactions and only third-party distributors currently carry the option. Apple will have to come down and accept the changes that the region demands.

Conclusion

This is not the beginning of the end of iPhone in India. India is a growing market that is willing to step out of its comfort zone to buy and test new products. Apple should stop acting like a pioneer and do some fresh marketing to make people purchase their phones. Apple has shown some willingness but how much it will be reflected on Indian consumers is rather subjected to skepticism