Research firm Counterpoint is out with a new look at Apple’s continued struggles in India. As noted by Reuters, Counterpoint data shows that iPhone sales in India are set to take a significant hit during India’s holiday season.
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According to Counterpoint Research’s Neil Shah, channel inventory checks suggest that iPhone sales in India are on track to be in the range of 700,000 to 800,000 units during Q4 2018 (Apple’s fiscal Q1 2018). That’s down from around 1 million during the same quarter last year.
As for Q3 (which is Apple’s fiscal Q4), Shah says iPhone sales were around 450,000 units this year, which is down from 900,00 units last year.
“Sales are set to drop for the first time in four years,” Shah said. “If you look at Q3 – it was 900k last year and this (year) is almost 450k.
For all of 2018, Apple is set to sell around 2 million phones in India, down from roughly 3 million in 2017, according to Counterpoint. For Apple, this drop in iPhone sales in India marks the first full-year decrease in four years.
On Apple’s fiscal Q4 earnings call this week, Tim Cook explained that he’s still optimistic about the government in India allowing Apple to open retail stores in the country, saying:
We’ve had really great productive discussions with the Indian government. And I fully expect that at some point they will agree to allow us to bring our stores into the country.
Cook added that he views Apple’s struggles in India as “speed bumps along a very long journey,” and that he’s optimistic about the growing middle class and innovation taking place in the country.
Of course, retail stores aren’t Apple’s biggest problem in India. The company’s devices are also considerably more expensive in comparison to competitors, and Apple is reportedly having a hard time attracting Android users:
“iPhones have gone costlier and the features and specs aren’t that compelling. The install base of Android has grown vastly; the new customer base (for Apple) is not coming,” Shah said.
On the bright side for Apple, revenue from India is expected to be flat or slightly higher than a year ago due to higher iPhone prices. This is despite “more than half the phones sold” in India being older models.