During the past few years, if strong headwinds had kept Apple’s India business primarily confined to its smartphone portfolio, it has surely weathered the storm by now. And in 2021, shedding the hesitations of a laggard, the Cupertino-headquartered firm has placed its India bet upfront.
With the sale of its second largest portfolio – Macs – on fire, the consumer tech giant yesterday unveiled a new arsenal to encash consumers’ growing appetite for premium computers, tablets and over-the-top content. In its first major announcement for the year, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed a range of products like iMac, iPad Pro, Apple TV 4K, AirTag and iPhone 12 in a new colour.
Unlike earlier, when Indian consumers would have to wait longer for Apple’s new flagships, this time the firm is bringing the entire range to the local market simultaneously with 29 other leading markets for the company. The new iMac, two iPads and iPhone 12 and 12 Mini variants will be open for ordering on April 30, just like in the US, UK, China and Japan.
Further, unlike iPhone 12 range, this time Apple has kept its pricing tight. The 24-inch M1 iMac has been launched with a starting price of Rs 119,900 – close to its 512GB MacBook Air, while the prices of M1 iPads (11 and 12.9 inch) are the same as earlier – starting from Rs 71,900 and Rs 99,900, respectively.
The early availability of these products in India comes at a crucial juncture. With these new iMac and iPads, Apple has introduced its much-appreciated M1 chipset into the two product ranges. Since it ditched the Intel chips into its 13 inch MacBook Air and Pro last year, demand for Macs have grown steadily in the local market that otherwise faltered.
Data sourced from IDC shows, in the calendar year 2020, while the overall PC market in India declined 6.4 percent, sales of MacBooks grew 24.4 percent year-on-year, taking Apple’s share into the India market to three percent.
According to Jaipal Singh, associate research manager at IDC India, the high growth momentum that Apple had gained in the PC market last year is continuing 2021. “With most professionals working from home, demand for premium and high performance notebooks like Macs, is surging rapidly. Further, online education has pushed many to purchase new tablets. These factors are helping Apple grow in India”, he said.
In fact, higher demand for Macs since mid-2020 has kept it mostly out of reach for many consumers. Even now, only a select models of M1 Macs are available on any leading e-commerce channels like Amazon and Flipkart. As per estimates, in India Apple has sold over Rs 4,000 crore worth of Macbooks and iMacs in 2020, more than most leading notebook brands, except Dell and HP – thanks to the higher average selling price they have.
Experts are, however, weary of the impact of the global chip shortage on the supply of Macs. TSMC, one of the leading Mac suppliers for Apple, has recently expressed its concerns over the shortage of chipsets. It said, while it is working all it can to ramp up availability of Macs, the shortage is likely to continue in 2021.
Apple’s management is confident though. Sources told Business Standard that its India operations and supply is unlikely to get impacted by chip shortage or the curfew measures now being adopted by many states. “While nobody can sure say what will happen tomorrow but the management would not have gone ahead with the launch if they weren’t confident”, said person privy to the developments.