Apple Inc has bounced back to growth in India in its fiscal third quarter ended 29 June even as the company battled a tough sales climate and sold fewer iPhones globally compared with the previous year.
Apple iPhone shipments fell 11% in the quarter globally; in India, these grew 19% (YoY), according to Counterpoint Research.
In an earnings call with analysts late on Tuesday, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said, “In emerging markets, we returned to growth in mainland China, grew strong double digits in India and in Brazil, and we set new Q3 records in Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines."
Cook has often reiterated that India is a very important market in the long-term. In May, Cook said a revised pricing strategy had led to better sales in India. Apple had reduced the price of iPhone X by 22%.
“On the market side, we have emerging markets where we have low penetration and during the quarter tactically, the emerging markets had a bit of a rebound. In fact, on a constant currency basis, we actually grew slightly in emerging markets. We still declined on a reported basis. India bounced back during the quarter, we returned to growth there. We’re very happy with that," Cook said.
Apple’s performance in India is significant given its interest in manufacturing top-end models here.
In April, Foxconn Technology Group chairman Terry Gou said the company will be mass producing iPhones in India this year. The local manufacturing would help avoid India’s heavy import duties, making the phones cheaper here. The government imposes 20% import duty on smartphones to boost local handset production.
iPhone prices shot up last year when the government increased import duties on smartphones from 15% to 20%. Apple's market share in India had declined last year due to high pricing and increasing competition from OnePlus.
Cook also said the balance of calendar 2019 will be an exciting period, with major launches on all platforms, new services and several new products.