Apple plans to reinforce its premium smartphone positioning in the Indian market

Apple will stop selling the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in India and move out of small stores and outlets where sales don’t exceed 35 units per month, according to The Economic Times, quoting three unnamed senior industry execs.

Why? To reinforce Apple’s premium positioning in the Indian market and increase the entry price of iPhones by more than Rs 5,000 with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Apple had offered a 32GB iPhone 6  at about Rs 24,900. The equivalent iPhone 6s version costs Rs 29,900. 

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The Economic Times says Apple has no plans to immediately drop prices of iPhone 6s, which is locally manufactured. However, as part of the strategy, Apple distributors have informed neighborhood stores that it plans to exit outlets that are less than 350-400 square feet and those that sell less than 35 phones per month. Instead, Apple wants to expand the number of Apple-exclusive stores — also called Apple Authorized Resellers — that are over 500 square feet and wants each trade partner to have more than one such store. 

“Apple wants fewer trade partners in India, and to deepen the relationship with them. This is to improve the selling experience and ensure compliance of the store as per its terms. The larger Apple Premium Reseller stores, too, are a big focus area,” an executive told The Economic Times.

Getting a foothold in India has been a challenge for Apple. For example. the company has opened its retail stores in a number of countries around the world, but not in India (though this may change in 2020). The country has restrictive real estate investment laws for foreign companies.