Apple, last week, surpassed a market valuation of $1 Trillion. It was a long time coming and with the positive iPhone X reception, the company struck a masterstroke. However, at the same time, Apple’s position is not as rosy in the fastest-growing smartphone market — India — where it has been bleeding numbers selling less than a million phones in the first half of 2018 and accounting for a meager 1% of the total sales.
Fortunately, Apple is indeed gearing up for a comeback as a new report by Bloomberg highlights several ways through which the company plans to retaliate in the next few years. Here are the four takeaways from it.
A Better Retail Strategy
One of the first steps Apple is taking to regain its plummeting share is overhauling its retail strategy. For starters, the Cupertino-based phone maker will be partnering with individual stores to raise sales targets by four times to 40 or 50 units every week. In exchange, Apple will be training staff to teach customers how to operate their phones, similar to what it does in its Genius Bars and revamp in-store branding as well as product displays. In addition, the company will be employing stricter guidelines with conference calls to track progress and cutting off retailers which, more often than that, fail to hit the established target.
Consistent Holiday Deals
Part of Apple’s redefined retail guidelines also includes more consistent deals on iPhones. Right now, store owners are allowed to raise prices as they please to meet targets making to difficult for customers to decide when to purchase a new iPhone. Once the new strategy is put in place, Apple will be discontinuing such practices and announce specific timelines around the holidays when iPhones will be available at more affordable rates.
Official Apple stores are on the way as well. Bloomberg says Apple is mulling to launch at least three next year in New Delhi, Bengaluru, and Mumbai. However, it remains unclear how Apple will be fulfilling the Indian government’s prerequisite for opening first-party stores. The company has two options — it could either try to reach the 30 percent local production mark or source more Indian goods for their global operations.
A couple of weeks earlier, we learned that Apple has begun work on rebuilding its navigation service from the ground up. The new Apple Maps will play a critical role in the company’s revised India approach too with better localization and more consistently updated data. Apple already has a development center for Maps in Hyderabad. However, until now, it was largely used for editing navigation data for regions other than India.
In spite of these changes, though, it’s still difficult to think how exactly will Apple climb the leaderboards, currently which place it at the 11th spot. Its core issues in emerging countries like India primarily revolve around pricing. The majority of the company’s sales in India largely come from a three-generation-old iPhone. Its most affordable smartphone available, iPhone SE is still double the price of what Indians usually spend. Local manufacturing is what we believe could be the answer to at least some of Apple’s woes in India but compared to OEMs like Oppo, Xiaomi or Samsung, it still has a lot of catching up to do.