Apple reportedly is looking to relaunch the iPhone 4 in India amid sluggish sales and falling share in the mid-range market segment, in which competitor Samsung is gaining.
The U.S. smartphone maker will slash the price of the 8GB iPhone 4 model to 15,000 rupees (US$245.16), from its previous retail price of 26,500 rupees (US$433.11), through buyback and EMI (equated monthly installments) schemes, reported Times of India, quoting Apple's top four reseller partners in the country. It also revealed that two distributors--Redington and Ingram Micro--could be ready to kick off the relaunch as early as next week to ride on India's Republic Day holiday.
Apple would likely tap unsold iPhone 4 inventory from across the globe to be remarketed in the Asian market. The iPhone maker in late-2013 had stopped production of the old model, which was launched in 2010 and succeeded by the 4S in 2011, the 5 in 2012, and the 5c and 5s last year.
According to the Times of India, Apple's move to stop selling the 8GB iPhone 4 model in a bid to drive the sales of its latest devices led to a drop in unit sales, as the iPhone 5c failed to hit targeted numbers. The smartphone maker also no longer had an offering in the sub-30,000 rupees (US$490.31) segment in the Indian market, which is particularly price-sensitive, leaving a void that rival Samsung was able to fill.
"Apple's iPhone 4 8GB model used to rank among the top three selling models by unit sales and fight neck-and-neck with Samsung, but with its exit, [Apple] lost much ground," noted the report, citing a senior executive at a top electronic retail. In this retail chain, which operated over a hundred stores, the iPhone 4 had accounted for 15 to 20 percent of sales in the 15,000 to 20,000 rupees (US$245.16 to US$326.88) product segment, while Samsung contributed 50 percent. The Korean handset maker has since garnered over 70 percent share in this space, he said.
Apple had struggled to gain significant ground in India and hoped a new three-pillar strategy in early-2013 would help change the tide. It inked new distribution deals with Ingram Micro and Reddington, expanded its sales and marketing team, as well as introduced a 12-month payment plan.
The aggressive campaigns and promotions, however, took a toll on the company's numbers. In its fiscal 2013, Apple in India saw its profits dip 33 percent despite a 51 percent increase in sales.