Apple's quarterly iPhone sales in India have dropped despite the company's marketing efforts, but market analysts are divided about whether this is the start of a greater decline.
Over 120,000 units of the flagship phone were sold in India between January and March this year, down from 230,000 in the preceding three months, according to a report Wednesday in The Economic Times, which cited IDC stats.
IDC put Apple's share of the Indian smartphone market at 2.1 percent for the quarter, down from 4.7 percent. The research firm's analyst Manasi Yadav said Apple had been struggling to maintain demand since it launched a series of marketing initiatives last year, which included a huge marketing drive, discount offers, trade-ins, and purchase plans to allow customers to buy an iPhone in monthly instalments.
"The October-December quarter was an exceptional one for iPhone, but that hasn't been the case since then," said Yadav.
Analyst firm Canalys, which also tracks iPhone sales in the Indian market, said Apple sold 130,000 units in the first quarter of this year. However, analyst Jessica Kwee told ZDNet the decline was due to seasonal conditions.
"In terms of demand, first quarter is usually a quieter period for India anyway, especially because of the major holidays in the fourth quarter," Kwee explained. "Possibly there was some leftover inventory from fourth quarter that got carried over to the first."
She predicted that over the long term, new purchasing options would significantly boost the number of iPhones in the country, where 2.5 million iPhones had been sold by the end of last year.
Samsung leads India's smartphone market with just under 40 percent share, according to IDC.