Apple's monthly iPhone sales in India have rocketed in the past few months, thanks to discounts and cash-back schemes. The maker of shiny rectangles is taking just shy of 3 percent share of the overall handset sales in the country.
3 percent sounds terrible, right? Wrong.
India has a population of 1.24 billion people. There are around 893 million phones in the country, according to the CIA Factbook. According to KPCB partner Mary Meeker, speaking at the D:11 conference on Wednesday, India will have around 67 million smartphone subscribers by the end of 2013, a massive 52 percent year-over-year growth. This represents around 6 percent of the total Indian population.
Apple has taken not 3 percent of the smartphone market, but 3 percent of the total handset market, according to Credit Suisse analyst Sunil Tirumalai. That represents roughly 26.8 million iPhones in the country.
That figure is in line with the 300-400 percent increase in sales over the past few months from the 70,000—80,000 smartphones before equated monthly installments (EMI) schemes were introduced, Tirumalai said.
Apple began its EMI scheme to potential buyers a partial payment for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S smartphones up front, with an additional six-to-twelve month instalment plan without paying interest.
Discounts have also help the company rake in the single-digit market share, "that has long been dominated by low-end feature phones," according to Tirumalai, which now brings in close to 400,000 iPhone sales per month.
Again, single digits in a smaller market would be atrocious. 3 percent in the second largest country in the world is big business for the iPhone maker.
Apple launched the iPhone on Vodafone in India in 2008, around a year after it first launched in Europe and the U.S., and some select markets. Since then, it has aggressively targeted the Western markets, took on China — and successfully, to the point where China now makes up more than 15 percent of Apple's global annual revenue — and is now taking on India with full force after four years of stagnation.
Considering there isn't a single Apple Store in India, 3 percent market share of handset sales is impressive. By comparison, Massachusetts with a population of just 6.6 million has the same number of Apple Stores as it does members in the U.S. Representatives for the state.
(That's ten, by the way.)