Apple said that it had doubled its Indian business in the last quarter of 2020 driven by a strong demand for its iPhones and other products like iPad, Airpods and Macbooks.
“India is one of those, where our share is quite low, it did improve from the year-ago quarter, our business roughly doubled over that period of time, so we feel very good about the trajectory,” Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook said in an earnings call on Thursday.
Apple is now preparing to open its offline retail stores in India to drive the growth further, having already launched its online store.
“We are doing a number of things in the area, we put the online store there for example, and last quarter was the full first quarter of the online store, and that has gotten a great reaction to it and has helped us achieve the results that we got to last quarter,” Cook said. “We are also going in there with retail stores in the future, and so we look to that to be another great initiative, and we continue to develop the channel as well.”
As per data from Counterpoint Research, Apple became the sixth-largest brand in India with 4% market share in the October-December quarter. The company’s iPhone shipment crossed 1.5 million for the very first time in a quarter in India driven by iPhone 12 series, iPhone SE 2020 and older generation models like iPhone 11 and iPhone XR.
Apple crossed 3.2 million iPhone sales to acquire 2.4% market share in India’s 2020 calendar year.
However, Cook said that the “absolute level of business” in India is still quite low relative to the size of the opportunity.
Apple is currently working hard to shift a part of iPhone production away from China and reduce its dependence on the country. The company’s plan to set up a complete smartphone manufacturing ecosystem in India is already gathering pace with around nine partners entering during the pandemic to help the iPhone maker.
Key Apple suppliers – Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron – were among the 16 firms approved by the MEITY for the $6.65 billion PLI scheme aimed at boosting domestic smartphone production over the next five years.
This week, Nikkei Asia reported that Apple was planning to start assembling the latest iPhone 12 series in India this quarter ending March. The company is already assembling iPhone 11 and XR in India, along with iPhone SE, 7 and 6S.
The Economic Times earlier this month reported that Apple is currently devising a plan to bring more manufacturing partners to kick off local production of iPad, Airpods and MacBooks besides deepening its manufacturing capabilities in India by increasing local sourcing of components for iPhones.
Apple’s India discussions include Avary Holding (Shenzhen) for flexible PCB, BYD Electronics for iPad, Luxshare Precision Industry Co for Airpods, Quanta Computer Incorporated for MacBooks and AT&S for PCB, the report said.
Globally, it captured the top spot, driven by the pent-up demand for a new 5G iPhone, strong carrier promotions, especially in the US. Apple’s iPhone sales during the October-December period totalled $65.6 billion, a 17% increase from the same time in the previous year.
The company also revealed that it grew strong double digits in each of its product categories, with all-time records for iPhone, Wearables, Home and Accessories and services as well as a December quarter record for Mac.
“We also achieved double-digit growth and new all-time records in each of our five geographic segments and in the vast majority of countries that we track,” Apple CFO Luca Maestri said during the earnings call.