Apple has reportedly stopped selling iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 6s Plus in India, meaning anyone in the market for a new Apple smartphone will have to shell out more for a later model.
According to The Economic Times, the strategy indicates Apple is no longer prioritizing shifting iPhones in the country by volume and is instead refocusing efforts on increasing its revenue there.
To that end, Apple's distributors in India are said to be informing retailers that supplies of the above iPhone models have stopped and the new "entry-level" iPhone will be the iPhone 6s. This will increase the starting price of an iPhone in India by almost Rs 8,000 (around $116).
Apple has been assembling the iPhone SE in India as well as the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 over the last couple of years. Given the shift in strategy, idle capacity in these factories may now be used to expand production of other models, according to the report.
The decision is said to have been taken after Apple improved its revenue and profit in India by 12 percent over the last year, despite selling less iPhones than the previous year. Apple India’s sales in the April-June quarter went up after it brought in a promotion to drop iPhone XR prices.
"Cupertino does not want Apple India to chase volumes by discounting at the cost of profit," said one leading trade partner of Apple. "These models which are being phased out will increase the average selling price of iPhones in India and boost both profit and revenue." Apple India declined to comment on the matter.
In the Indian market, Apple ranks 11th and accounts for just one percent of India's phone sales, and sold fewer than one million iPhones during the first half of 2018. Comparatively, rival smartphone maker Xiaomi sold more than 19 million during that period, according to data gathered by Counterpoint Research.
According to a recent report, Apple CEO Tim Cook is believed to be working behind the scenes to "remold Apple's failing India strategy," in bid to revamp the company's presence there.
Apple has also been re-focusing efforts in India in hopes of expanding production outside of China in the wake of the ongoing trade war between the United States and China. Last summer, Apple detailed a new India strategy with official retail stores, overhauled relationships with independent retailers, more frequent sales, and improved apps and services.
Some of these plans have started to come to fruition, as Apple has now finalized a list of locations for its first retail store in India.
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