According to a new report out today, equal monthly installments (EMI) and cash back schemes have worked wonders for Apple in India as iPhone's monthly sales have risen by 300% to 400% over the last few months. Apple has managed to dramatically push up its sales by figuring out trends of consumer demand and changing the iPhone's perception from being a high-end product to an affordable one.
Compared to average monthly sales of 70,000-80,000 smartphones before the EMI schemes were offered to consumers in India iPhone sales have zoomed up to stratospheric levels, analysts at Credit Suisse said. In a note to their clients, Credit Suisse's research analyst Sunil Tirumalai stated that from their channel checks, they believe that Apple's iPhone sales are nearing 400,000 units per month in India. That represents close to 3% market share of handset sales for a single top-end product in a market that has long been dominated by low-end feature phones.
About four months ago, Apple began its EMI scheme that offered potential buyers to make a partial payment of iPhone 4 and 4S models upfront and pay the rest of the amount in installments over 6 to 12 months without paying any interest. The super aggressive pricing and advertising blitz on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S older models that are not sold in any other country, created a strong foothold for iPhone as a product in India.
With Samsung holding 33% market share in India, Apple has a long way to go before catching up, as they stood at a total of 5% market share in Q4 2012. Yet Apple's aggressive push into India in the last few quarters is now beginning to yield fruit as the Indian report plainly presents.
Although there's a business case to be made for a new economical iPhone for the emerging markets, it's unknown at this time if Apple will actually go that route. Apple's CEO recently stated that Apple isn't shutting the door to a new mid-range iPhone, yet generally skated around such a possibility in the short term.
On the flipside, Tim Cook's analogy of diversifying their iPod lineup to serve different market segments at least shows that the iPhone is likely to follow that line of market-think over time. In order to be competitive in India and in China, especially with China Mobile, Apple has to creatively come up with a longer term solution beyond price cutting and discounting which over time creates a negative impression in the market.