Apple's (tiny) market share in India doubled last year

From TechCrunch's "Apple just had its best quarter in India" posted Tuesday:

When Apple reports its earnings on Wednesday, you can expect mentions of India on the call.

Apple shipped more than 1.5 million iPhone units in India in the quarter that ended in December, up 100% year-on-year, making this its best quarter in the world’s largest smartphone market to date, according to research firms Counterpoint and CyberMedia.

Thanks to the improved sales of older generation iPhone 11, iPhone XR, iPhone 12 and the newer iPhone SE, Apple doubled its market share in India to 4% in the quarter, the research firms said.

Overall, Apple shipped more than 3.2 million iPhone units in India in 2020, up 60% year-on-year, Counterpoint said.

The shipment growth comes months after Apple launched its online store in the country and offered customers a wide-range of financing and upgrade options, AppleCare+, and lucrative perks such as a free set of AirPods with the purchase of iPhone 11. The company plans to open its first physical retail store in the country later this year.

My take: Tim Cook's persistence is starting to pay off.


  1. Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:
    Badhaai Ho, Apple!

    January 27, 2021
  2. Dan Scropos said:
    We are in the infant stages of Apple’s foray into India. Apple doesn’t enter markets until the time is right, and they only seem to recently be of the mindset that now is the time.

    This will be a multi-year journey just like the Chinese market was. It will be methodical, fruitful and deeply rooted in the Apple experience. It always felt like Apple couldn’t manage and shape the user experience in India, so the attempts at penetration were modest, at best. That seems to have changed. The Apple Store online opened in September, offering full support for Apple products, and the first Apple Store in India is set open in 2021. These newly planted trees will bear fruit for many years to come. As a shareholder, this is incredibly exciting.

    January 27, 2021
  3. Jerry Doyle said:
    China & India essentially have the same population. China, though, is an “aging” population with few young people. India has the youngest population of any country on the planet. Half a billion people in India are less than 25 years of age. These young western influenced youth are attractive to American brands, Levi loving, Coke consuming, Hollywood/Bollywood struck potential Apple consumers.

    India cradles several countries, or sub-economies at different points in transition. As soon as the top 150-200 million Indians hit a Japan or Germany living standard, the growth impulse moves to another sub-economy mimicking a Brazil or Australia & finally down to the Bangladesh like sub-economy. In summary, as soon as one sub-economy becomes rich, the growth wave is moving to the next-in-line poorer one and this now is occurring. In the decades to come India will see serial transitions as one sub economy after another hits higher living standards, the same as we have witnessed in China the past two decades. India is following in the footsteps of China in this regard.


    January 27, 2021
    • Lalit Jagtap said:
      Jerry, I am amazed with your knowledge and great insights about current state of India . Specially understanding about sub economies are being built in India .

      Yes, I am seeing 2nd and 3rd tier cities are growing more faster, more progress in infrastructure, and quality of life etc. Now in 2021, I see that the India has recovered from pandemic, and now the pandemic is working in its favor of great adjustment of society in , and India’s growth.

      Your comments about younger population, jogged memory about selling our used Apple phones during trips to India from 2009 to 2017. The younger ones were always willing to pay premium. But most of my technology friends, colleagues in management roles, were big fan of Samsung Phones.

      Finally it’s the Android tide is changing as price spread is significantly reduced between Apple and other premium Android phone, and also due to “Make in India etc” initiatives.

      Now it’s perfect time to have hockey stick shape growth for Apple in India.

      January 27, 2021
  4. Jerry Doyle said:
    India, though, has a better micro-story than China. India has a large population of world class companies, an educated & IT competent workforce, relatively sound financial markets & banks, an entrenched rule of law & democracy. We will not see this, unfortunately, in China. The China’s Communist Party is highly suspicious of unregulated foreign content, especially textbooks and teachers introduced to western ways of learning & thinking, ways the CCP fears may threaten its authority over its people. Consequently, India is much more fertile ground for cultivating new Apple growth.

    Summary: India is an integral component to Apple’s continued growth and will be even more integral than China.

    January 27, 2021
  5. Bart Yee said:
    From reports last year:
    “In October (2019), it was reported Apple had leased a location between 20,000 and 25,000 square feet in Mumbai’s Maker Maxity mall, spread over three floors. One floor is rumored to be an experience center, a second would be dedicated to retailing, and a third for the service center.” 2 additional sites have been identified and plans to build stores there have been created but its not clear when building will start due to the pandemic in India. It would not surprise me though that Apple would be moving ahead with building the additional stores in preparation for India’s economic recovery.

    January 27, 2021
  6. Bart Yee said:
    As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the Indian market is still mostly geared to much lower cost smartphones and products due to the economic disparities there, hence the popularity of Xiaomi & Realme (who established local Indian production along with Samsung) and other Chinese made phones with good value. But the recent Chinese-Indian border, political and cultural clashes have damaged the sales or at least reputation of Chinese makers and pushed some Indian consumers towards homegrown smartphones made by the above, Apple, and local Lava & Micromax.

    As always noted, the Indian market is quite price sensitive and complains bitterly about the high costs of Apple iPhones. The report in the blog post notes that Apple is still aiming most of its products at the “relatively small % of people who can afford it” However, that small % may be in the 10’s to a few 100 million Indian consumers. To this end, Apple has planned to start iPhone 12 production in India this quarter per some reports and has continued to locally produce older iPhones to reduce tariffs and taxes jacking up the prices.

    January 27, 2021
  7. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    Two words: Aspirational brand.

    Just add time.

    January 27, 2021
  8. Fred Stein said:
    We have another example of little things with great potential, that analysts rarely notice or mention. They will sell 100+ M iPhone annually in due time.

    I’d bet there are already a million of iPhones brought in a gifts, from family members working in the US.

    January 27, 2021
  9. Lalit Jagtap said:
    Shukriya (Thank you) Apple!

    Roman to Congratulation (Badhaai Ho, Apple!)

    Last year read horror stories on WhatsApp groups about hacking apps on many Android app stores, hurting common citizens. Plus govt. is acting aggressively to stop spread of bad actor apps.

    Good to see that awareness about privacy and security is growing faster among India’s middle class and educated population.

    Most Indians want best for lowest price. That mindset is not easy problem for Team Apple to solve.

    It’s great to see Indian buyers are paying slight more premium to own Apple phone.

    January 27, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      It’s my sense (from a position of mostly ignorance) that Indians, as a group, are less interested in status purchases than Chinese. I know that’s a gross generalization, but I’d be interested in reaction to that.

      In particular, would there be much of a stigma for buying a used iPhone/last year’s model?

      January 27, 2021

Leave a Reply