Apple is struggling in its efforts to boost market share in India, with Bloomberg reporting that the firm had lost key executives in the country in recent weeks.
Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported that key executives who have left the company include the national sales and distribution chief, the head of commercial channels and mid-market business and the head of telecom carrier sales. What’s more, Bloomberg reported Apple is restructuring its team of sales people in India. The news comes as Apple is having a tough time selling its iPhones. High tariffs have increased the prices of imported devices, including the iPhone. As a result, Bloomberg reported, consumers are purchasing cheaper devices from Samsung Electronics and Xiaomi. It also comes amid comments by Apple’s Chief Executive Tim Cook, who had called the opportunity in India “very bullish.” Its efforts to grow in India are compounded by problems elsewhere in Asia, such as China, where iPhone X sales have been disappointing. Bloomberg reported Apple’s market share in India stands at about 2 percent. In all of 2017 it sold 3.2 million iPhones and in the first six months of this year it sold less than a million devices. “iPhone India sales were weak in the first half of 2018 and, even if they show a big jump in the traditionally strong second half, Apple will still fall short of last year,” said Neil Shah, a research director with Counterpoint in the Bloomberg report.
Back in February, The Wall Street Journal reported shoppers in Asia, including India and Indonesia, are choosing Chinese smartphones from the likes of Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo over the iPhone X. Chinese handset makers are developing high-end smartphones that compete directly with the iPhone X but don’t cost as much. The newspaper pointed out that in both India and Indonesia, the market share of Apple devices has remained flat since 2013. Meanwhile Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo, the three Chinese handset manufacturers, are seeing increases in demand. The Wall Street Journal stated that in Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, Apple hasn’t logged any jumps in market share — and in many cases even lost share during the past few years. OPPO and Vivo, meanwhile, have been seeing their market shares gain in those regions during the same time period. Both Chinese handset makers include selfie cameras and software in the phones, and they are still $100 (or more) cheaper than the least expensive iPhones. IDC told the paper that in India and Indonesia, smartphones on average cost less than $200.