Apple logs its best year in India in 2021, ships 6 million iPhone units

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Apple posted its best year in India in 2021, shipping a record 5.4-6 million units, as the US smartphone major expanded its local manufacturing and backed that up by aggressive marketing in the world’s second largest market to tap into strong demand, said market trackers.

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The iPhone maker cornered a 70% market share in the super-premium price band – phones priced above ₹45,000 – from 50% the previous year, taking away a chunk of share from rivals Samsung and OnePlus, they said.

“In 2020, Apple shipped 3 million units while in 2021, it has shipped above 6 million units. Since the beginning of 2021, in every quarter they have clocked a double growth when compared to the previous year,” said Neil Shah, partner at Counterpoint Research.

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Overall, India’s smartphone shipments for 2021 will be about 170 million and Counterpoint Research pegs Apple’s share at 3.75% of the total shipments.

Industry intelligence group CyberMedia Research (CMR) estimates iPhone shipments in 2021 to be upwards of 5 million units, with Apple gaining on the back of domestic manufacturing and aggressive marketing.

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“Despite supply-chain challenges, Apple has been able to manage its supply chains through the course of the pandemic. Apple has been diversifying its supplier base, working with multiple ODMs (original design manufacturers) to produce its flagship iPhone models,” said Prabhu Ram, head of CMR.

The growth was driven mainly by the iPhone 12, followed by the iPhone 11.

CMR, which pegged iPhone’s share in the overall smartphone market at 4.4% in 2021, estimates that Apple is on track for a “record year ahead”, with possible launches of the iPhone SE 2022 edition in the first half 2022, and its broadest iPhone portfolio across price tiers.

Counterpoint’s Shah has noted that the iPhone maker has captured most of the super-premium segment. “It captured a 70% super-premium market share in 2021 compared to 50% in 2020. This has impacted rivals Samsung and OnePlus whose market share in the same band has dropped from 28% to 14% and 14% to 12%, respectively,” said Shah. He said Samsung’s share “declined due to supply-chain disruptions”.

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