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
& 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.