Apple's India growth hits 6-year low

Published On: 13, Dec 2017 | Source:

India posted Rs 11,618.7 crore revenue during 2016-17. The firm’s topline grew 17 per cent over the previous year’s Rs 9,937 crore turnover, but the rate was lowest in the past six years, the data available with the Registrar of under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs reveals.

During 2015-16, Apple’s sales grew by over 53 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y).

Between 2011-12 and 2015-16, India’s gross sales consistently grew by over 40 per cent a year. In 2011-12, its y-o-y growth was 223 per cent; for 2014-15 it grew by 43.8 per cent — lowest during the period.

Revenue share from India has inched up to nearly 0.8 per cent of its global sales. It was less than 0.5 per cent two years back. The revenue growth rate is in stark contrast to the firm’s performance in volume terms.

During the calendar year 2016, sale of iPhones crossed a record 2.5 million units after growing by 30 per cent y-o-y.

According to projections offered by analyst firm Counterpoint Research, it is slated to touch 3.5 million this year — 40 per cent higher than 2016. However, analysts say, its focus towards driving volume in the country may have impacted its revenue growth.

According to Tarun Pathak, associate director, Counterpoint Research, share of older generations of handsets is growing in Apple’s sales mix. “Apple, of late, is pushing these models through e-commerce channels and price fluctuations in its portfolio are now higher.”

While older generations of iPhones, like the 5 and 6 series, are now available at high discounts and are driving volumes, per unit revenue has come down. However, it is not yet clear whether that had any impact on its profitability, as it has not disclosed net profit for the year.

Sources say, macroeconomic factors such as demonetisation have impacted its growth plans.

According to estimates, shipped in some 0.8 million iPhones during the October-December 2016 quarter, in anticipation of higher sales during the festive months. The quarter is the most significant for the firm’s handsets business globally as well as in India, as hype among consumers surge over new launches.

Last year, the note ban hit the consumer market during the peak season for iPhone and MacBook, impacting transactions at the retail level for months.

A source close to Apple’s operations in India said, its growing base may have played a role in slowing down its revenue growth of late.

Over the past few years, Apple’s expectations from a fast-growing market like India have only grown. The firm, which is currently building its business here, is still in its learning phase, said chief executive Tim Cook.

Apple’s growth in the Indian market would be “analogous” with that of China. “It’s building stores. It’s building channels. It’s building markets. It’s building the developer ecosystem. It’s having the right product line up for the market. And I feel like we’re making good progress there and are gaining understanding of the market, but we still have a long way to go, which I sort of see as an opportunity instead of a problem,” he told investors during Inc.'s quarterly earnings call recently.

As has begun sourcing iPhones locally in 2017, it may help save money over time and let it avoid some of the compounding of taxes, Cook said.