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Apple iPhone 5s is the top smartphone in India: report

LiveMint logoLiveMint 11-05-2017 Vishal Mathur

Would you believe if we told you that the Apple iPhone 5s is the number one smartphone in six states and the capital territory of Delhi? Chances are, you wouldn’t. Perhaps because of the perception that only latest smartphones sell—the iPhone 5s was launched in September 2013. However, that is exactly the case, as the latest report by CyberMedia Research (CMR) suggest.

The Mobilytiks Insights report covered Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, as well as the territory of Delhi. The Apple iPhone 5s is the top premium smartphone in India across all the regions covered in this report, based on the cumulative installations (simply put, this means sales) basis, as of March.

In Delhi, it is Apple all the way, with 5s in the lead, and the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 5 and the latest iPhone 7 making up the top five.

In Gujarat, too, it is pretty much the same, barring one minor change—the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 6s have swapped places, with the former selling a bit more. There is some hope for the Android ecosystem, with the OnePlus 3T making its way into fourth place in Karnataka, the Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 taking fifth place in Maharashtra, the Samsung S4 Mini slotting into fourth place in Tamil Nadu and there is also enough traction for the Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 in Uttar Pradesh for the phone to get the fifth spot.

It is interesting that the OnePlus 3T has registered so much success in such a short span of time, considering it was launched only towards the end of 2016.

CMR also adds that “various versions of iPhone fill up the top 5 Premium category Smartphones in the states of Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, indicating that iPhone is not a metro affair only in India.”

In what seems to be a decisive Apple-wave (if we may call it that), West Bengal is the only state where two Android phones make it to the top three—the Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 and the Samsung S4 Mini getting enough sales and installations in that region.

Clearly, the love for the iPhone 5s isn’t only restricted to Delhi or just the metros, with the lower price tag (Rs15,999 on Amazon.in, but prices vary significantly at stores) coupled with the premium iPhone experience, far too enticing for buyers to resist. It will be interesting to see how these numbers change when Apple starts manufacturing the iPhone SE locally, because that could bring down the SE’s price significantly—by as much as 10-12%.

CMR also suggests that Chinese brands such as Oppo and Vivo are registering strong numbers as well, but not enough to break into the top five spots in any of these regions just yet. The likes of Xiaomi are not doing well enough to even warrant a mention, though there is always considerable noise around their smartphones—but that doesn’t necessarily translate into sales and activations.

The CMR Mobilytiks Insights report overturns many perceptions about what makes a smartphone popular with buyers. Clearly, the fact that Android phones are available at significantly lesser price points hasn’t had much of a difference—people don’t mind paying a bit more for a decidedly premium experience, as the strong performance of various iPhone versions indicates. Also, we often get to hear that iPhone is considered expensive in a price sensitive market such as India—but that clearly isn’t the case, as the iPhones are clearly outselling the affordable Android phones, barring the strong performance from the OnePlus 3T, the Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 and the Samsung S4 Mini.

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