The Indian unit of Apple Inc has become the country's second-largest smartphone maker by revenue in the fiscal year to March 2016 piping the largest home-grown brand Micromax and touching almost Rs 10,000-crore sales milestone in less than a decade of its operations, reports Times of India.
As per its balance sheet with the Registrar of Companies filed late Wednesday, Apple India sales grew 54% to Rs 9,997.1 crore during FY16 compared to Rs 6,472.89 crore a year ago, while net profit rose 21% to Rs 294 crore as the company widened its retail network into smaller cities and lowered prices by allowing distributors decide on the final selling price.
In contrast, Micromax Informatics sales in 2015-16 were Rs 9,825.46 dipping by 6% unable to compete with the Chinese handset competition.
The country's largest handset maker Samsung India's sales touched Rs 47,001.4 crore of which around 70% (or 32,900 crore) is estimated to be generated from the handset business.
Industry executives aware of Apple's strategy said the company's sales last fiscal was driven largely by the older iPhone 5s which contributed almost 50% of its revenues after it dropped prices to an extent that it was even sold below Rs 20,000 online. At present, there are estimated to be around five million iPhone users in India.
"Apple has been growing sales in India largely with the older iPhone models by cutting their prices. Hence, the company saw a huge potential with company-certified refurbished iPhones which could have been attractively priced. But with the government turning this proposal down, Apple efforts will now progressively focus on the upgradation of the existing user base to the latest models which will lead to faster revenue growth," a senior industry official said.
In fact, Apple has more than doubled sales in India in the last two years, having posted revenue of Rs 4,500 crore in FY14. This fiscal, Apple's fight will be with Chinese handset maker Lenovo which last fiscal almost doubled sales at Rs 10,483.62 crore driven largely by the smartphone business of its two brands, Lenovo and Motorola.
The company has managed to achieve higher sales of its latest iPhone 7 and 7 Plus last month despite their high price of Rs 60,000 to Rs 92,000 due to newer hardware innovation and a new black colour which was maximum in demand.
According to Hong Kong based research firm Counterpoint Technology Market Research, Apple's market share in July-September quarter was 1.1% in the Indian smartphone market with Samsung leading the market with 22.6% share and Micromax at second spot at 9.9%. However, in the premium smartphone segment, the researcher's data for October suggested Apple has expanded its lead over Samsung with 66% share while the Korean firm was a distant second with 23% share due to its inability to launch the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 which has been globally discontinued due to safety concerns.
Counterpoint estimated that Apple will ship a million smartphones to India in the current quarter itself with some four lakh already shipped in October alone. In calendar 2015, Apple had shipped around two million iPhones to India.