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India set to emerge as third largest market for iPhones by 2026 surpassing Japan, UK

Consumers are ready to spend more on their smartphones and Apple, with its aspirational image and rising footprint has become an obvious choice for premium consumers in India: Varun Mishra, senior analyst, Counterpoint Research

R. Suryamurthy New Delhi Published 08.04.24, 06:03 AM
Lifestyle statement, Apple iphones on display

Lifestyle statement, Apple iphones on display File image

India is set to emerge as the third largest market for iPhones by 2026 surpassing Japan and the UK, analysts said.

"There is a significant rise in the premium segment in India. Consumers are ready to spend more on their smartphones and Apple, with its aspirational image and rising footprint has become an obvious choice for premium consumers in India. For Indians, the iPhone is more than a smartphone, it’s a lifestyle statement,” Varun Mishra, senior analyst, Counterpoint Research, told The Telegraph.

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“As markets such as Western Europe, US, Japan are becoming saturated, emerging markets such as India and West Asia and Africa will be the growth driver for Apple in the future.”

Currently, India ranks fifth in sales behind the US, China, Japan and the UK. CounterPoint Research estimates India to surpass the UK this year and Japan by
2026.

Varun said 2023 was a record year for Apple in India. It was the first year when iPhone shipments crossed the 10 million mark in the country. It also became the top brand in India in terms of revenue.

“'Made in India' phones have risen to contribute to 13 per cent of Global iPhone shipments in 2023 compared with 1 per cent in 2018. Owing to these efforts, and the brand affinity of Apple, India is likely to remain one of the fastest-growing markets for Apple in 2024 and 2025. The growth in India will also be key in offsetting some of the decline in China market,” he said.

In November 2023, Apple CEO Tim Cook, during an investors’ call, revealed that Apple had grown in “very strong double digits” in India.

He acknowledged Apple's market share still remains low and called India a major focus for the country.

“We have a low share in a large market, and so it would seem that there’s a lot of headroom there [in India],” he said during a call with investors after Apple’s quarterly earnings report in November.

A pivotal aspect of Apple’s success in India lies in its strategic shift in distribution and manufacturing strategies, such as assembling in the country.

According to Counterpoint Research, Apple changed its distribution strategy in 2019.
Amazon and Flipkart became a bigger focus, and in addition to that, the likes of Croma and Reliance Digital expanded Apple’s offline reach. The company made its products more attainable by offering financing options like no-cost EMI, further boosting sales.

The promise of an integrated device ecosystem and the growth of Apple’s Services business also contribute to the company’s success in the Indian market.

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