According to the latest research from Counterpoint's Market Monitor service, the smartphone shipments in India grew a healthy 15% annually in Q4 2015. During CY 2015, Indian smartphone shipments grew 23% Year-over-Year to cross the 100 Million unit milestone. India's Smartphone user base grew to 220 Million users by end of 2015 surpassing USA for the first time ever.
Apple's CEO Tim Cook noted during the Q&A session of their latest financial conference call that Apple would be opening more stores in China going from 28 to 40 by the end of this summer. While Apple has been focusing on China for growth wisely, they're now beginning to look to India as their next mass market target.
Applauding the economic reforms unveiled by India, CEO Tim Cook also noted during their conference call that the world's third largest smartphone market presents a "very good business environment" going forward and that India was "quickly becoming the fastest growing BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) country."
More importantly, Cook noted: "I think of the China age being young, at 36, 37 and so 27 (median age in India) is unbelievable. Almost half the people in India are below 25. And so I see the demographics there also being incredibly great for a consumer brand and for people who really want the best products."
While we posted a report late last month titled "Apple Breaks iPhone Sales Record in India in Q4,"Apple's total iPhone shipments in 2015 only hit 1.7 million units in a country that just crossed the 100 million mark. Apple was simply lost in the "Others" category in the top smartphone vendors list presented above.
In 2014 we reported that the Indian Government denied Apple's application to build Apple Stores in their country due to unbending outdated regulations. Through a series of direct talks ending with Cook meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last September, Apple is now on the fast track to building new Apple Stores in India this year. Cook specifically mentioned that they would be building in India during his opening statement of Apple's financial conference call
Apple has a hard battle ahead in India where smartphone prices are extremely low. Yet with Apple Stores on the way, Apple will finally be able to show Indian consumers what their brand is really all about with top service, training sessions and a phenomenal retail experience bar none.
Apple will also be adding a new iPhone model to their line-up as early as next month that could help them in all markets, but especially in BRIC countries like India.
If Apple is able to open a series of new flagship stores in India's most populated cities (Mumbai 16, 368,000; Kolkata 13,217,000; Delhi 12,791,000; and Chennai 6,425,000) by sometime this summer, then Apple's new iPhone 7 line-up is bound to sell in volumes never seen before and finally get them on India's top five smartphone vendor chart for the first time. It'll most definitely be interesting to see the top vendors list for 2016 and 2017 as Apple focuses on its next mass market, India.