IPhone SE’s Launch in In­dia Turns Out to be a Damp Squib

With book­ings poor, re­tail­ers roll out cash­back of­fers on credit cards on Day 1

The Economic Times - - Companies -

Wri­tankar Mukher­jee

& Gul­veen Au­lakh

Kolkata | New Delhi: Ap­ple’s iPhone SE may have al­ready flopped in In­dia. The Fri­day launch of the com­pany’s lat­est de­vice had the weak­est de­mand for a new iPhone on day one, with barely 2,000 units made avail­able in cities such as New Delhi, Mum­bai and Bengaluru, the com­pany’s lead­ing trade part­ners said.

With poor pre-book­ings, dis­trib­u­tors rolled out cash­back of­fers on credit card pur­chases from the very first day. De­mand for the iPhone SE is poor be­cause of the steep pric­ing in In­dia and its four-inch screen, which has lit­tle ac­cep­tance in In­dia, four se­nior trade ex­ec­u­tives said. The de­vice in In­dia costs .₹ 39,000 for the 16 GB model and .₹ 49,000 for the 64 GB model, 40% more than in the US. “Both the con­sumer and me­dia hype, which usu­ally hap­pen around a new iPhone, was com­pletely miss­ing for the iPhone SE in In­dia. Hence, Ap­ple has got less stock to build up the buzz and will also run pro­mo­tion schemes to make the model af­ford­able,” a se­nior trade part­ner said.

Tepid de­mand for the iPhone SE may al­low Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics to race past Ap­ple and lead the pre­mium smart­phone seg-

ex­pen­sive ment in the cur­rent quar­ter. The South Korean com­pany sold over 60,000 mod­els of its lat­est S7 de­vice within a month of launch in In­dia.

All re­tail­ers still had ad­e­quate stocks of the new iPhone for sale in the evening, un­like pre­vi­ous launches when the de­vices would be snapped up in a few hours. Pre-book­ings in ex­clu­sive Ap­ple stores were 5-10% of the level dur­ing the pre­vi­ous few launches. Ap­ple, too, did not host any launch event in its stores, the way it usu­ally does.

How­ever, Ap­ple will soon start con­sumer pro­mo­tion for the iPhone SE such as a buy­back scheme, which is un­prece­dented for a new iPhone, they said. This will be rolled out be­yond the Ap­ple ex­clu­sive out­lets to multi-brand stores.

Ac­cord­ing to trade es­ti­mates, 1,700-1,800 units of the iPhone SE were despatched to In­dia for the first phase and dis­trib­u­tors have promised that ad­di­tional stocks will fol­low next week for a na­tional roll­out.

A se­nior trade part­ner said con­sumers who want a 4-inch iPhone pre­fer the older iPhone 5s, which is now avail­able for less than .₹ 20,000 on­line.

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