Apple finally gets serious about India

The iPhone maker managed to bounce back last year after an embarrassing decline in 2018. More importantly, 2020 looks to be big.

For years, Apple didn’t really care about India; in more recent times, it became that India didn’t really care about Apple. This did not go well.

The very small premium smartphone market, growing competition by premium Android smartphones with more perceived value and unorganized distribution channels meant iPhone sales tanked in 2018 to their lowest in five years. The company scrambled to overhaul its strategy in what is now the world’s second largest smartphone market, with long-pending moves on price cuts, local manufacturing and distribution.

If you look at the numbers for 2019 as a whole, Apple just did okay—according to Counterpoint Research, iPhone shipments grew 6% in India last year. But remember, this was after a 43% decline the year before. Bigger still was the fact that in the October-December quarter, iPhone sales grew a whopping 41%, the fastest growing premium brand.

Picking apart the data, and from conversations with distributors and analysts, we tell you what Apple did and how 2020 looks.

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