Apple CEO Tim Cook announced record revenue growth in India during the first quarter of the year. In its fiscal second quarter, Apple reported total revenue of $94.84 billion, although it does not disclose sales figures for India. Cook stated that the company set a “quarterly record” for its India business and saw “very strong, double digits year-over-year” growth. Investors have been paying close attention to Apple’s potential in India since the company opened its first physical stores in the country last month.
India’s smartphone market is dominated by low-cost Android phones, such as those offered by Samsung and Chinese players like Oppo and Xiaomi. However, there is a growing middle class willing to spend more on expensive devices. Smartphones priced above $400 now account for 10% of total volumes of handsets shipped compared to 4% before the pandemic. This category of smartphones accounts for 35% of total smartphone market revenue.
Cook sees India as a key market for Apple in terms of iPhone sales and manufacturing. He said, “There are a lot of people coming into the middle class, and I really feel that India is at a tipping point, and it’s great to be there.” Given India’s population is set to overtake China’s and many of the dynamics, including a growing middle class, are playing out, Apple is excited about its prospects in India.
Apple is also looking to India to become a key manufacturing hub as it looks to reduce its reliance on China. The company began assembling its flagship iPhone 14 in India last year, the first time that the company has produced its latest device in the country so close to its initial launch. Piyush Goyal, India’s minister of commerce and industry, stated in January that Apple is aiming to make 25% of all of its iPhones in India.
While some have cast doubt on the potential of the Indian market for Apple, Cook is optimistic about the company’s future in India. Gene Munster, managing partner at Deepwater Asset Management, estimates that India accounts for just under 3% of Apple’s total revenue, but he believes that Cook is “laying the groundwork that India can be big or bigger than China.”
Richard Windsor, founder of independent research firm Radio Free Mobile, pointed out that there is a significant difference in gross domestic product per capita between the two nations, with China’s GDP per capita being over five times bigger than India’s. Despite this, Apple’s strategy in India goes beyond just selling hardware, as the company aims to become a key player in the country’s smartphone market and manufacturing industry.
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