Given the absurdly high prices for a limited set of features, the iPhone, according to me, is a sheer wastage of money. In India, it costs INR 32,000-37,000, depending upon the retailer. This money is surely big money, in many cases it is more than the monthly income of the buyer.
That is why, Apple, despite it’s efforts, has not been able to penetrate into the Indian market as other manufacturers.
I interviewed 45 people while travelling in the Delhi Metro who had some or the other sort of iPhone. The only questions I asked were the following:
1. From where did you buy the iPhone?
2. Why did you buy the iPhone?
3. Do you also own any other Apple product?
And the answers baffled me. 31 people said that they had got the iPhone from out of India through their friends and relatives. Out of these 31, only 8 paid the actual price. The rest were gifts. Also, out of these 31, only 16 people had the iPhone 4. All of the others had lower versions of the device.
The remaining 14 purchased their iPhones from the Indian Market. And out of these 14, 8 were purchased from the second hand market. The rest 6 were purchased brand new. Out of these 14, only 7 were the iPhone 4 and the rest were the lower variants.
Surprisingly, when asked why they chose an iPhone, 42 said because it’s the iPhone and it’s a status symbol. It’s touch is amazing. and only 3 had chosen it after thorough research.
One guy even said that he had purchased an iPhone because Steve Jobs is GOD…
Surprisingly, only 1 of the entire 45 had a Mac with her and 5 had iPod shuffle.
Though we understand that these number are not credible enough as the number of people interviewed is too less. But it took me 11 whopping days to cover the nose to tail of Delhi Metro (except the 1st compartment, it’s reserved for ladies) to find these 45 iPhone “carriers”.
For a sensible man, these numbers quite point to the right direction as why Apple has decided to launch cheaper variants of the iPhones for the APAC region.
Enter the Dragon…!!!!
When Nokia was regarded as the undisputed champ of phones (smart as well as featurephones) in India, there was a small company who identifies the loopholes in the market which Nokia couldn’t plug in time. Those were the days when a small time company called Micromax was formed. It not only identified the needs of the Indian market, but it also offered cutting edge “cheap” mobiles that were revolutionary at that time. What Nokia offered for INR 12,000+, Micromax was offering the similar specc’d phones for INR 5,000. It ate the market of Nokia like anything.
Last year, it was the third largest Mobile handset compnay in India. I still have to ask them for the data of the last fiscal year. They were the pioneers of bringing the cheapest Android in the world. The first Dual SIm phones. And they have grown. Every third or fourth person I see is either carrying a Nokia or a Micromax,
And yesterday, while I was de-boarding the Delhi Metro after the trip to the doc, I found this:
While the biggest carriers in India have not been able to sell the iPhone, given the additional discounts that they offer, Micromax has slowly but steadily eaten up everything.
A flagship doesn’t have to have a high price tag, as we have seen the disastrous Nokia N97, a true flagship something that carries your flag into the customers’ hearts. Something that everyone should buy. Something like the Sony PS3. Sony made a huge loss initially when it offered the behemoth at the extremely low price. But the PS3 paid Sony well off in the end. Sony earned from services and accessories. Something which The Mobile phone giants are not doing today. Something which Samsung has started with the Wave 2.
What is the point of selling something that the masses can not afford? I call it absurdity….!!!
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