1 in 4 Apple product users in India surveyed have a less than 3 year old device that needs repair/service and most find Apple too expensive for it
- ● Common issues reported by consumers in less than 3-year-old devices include rapid battery discharging, display screen damage and device battery heating
- ● 30% Apple consumers prefer going to company/franchise store and buy products there
- ● Another 44% visit a company/franchise store to see the product but buy locally or online
April 22, 2023, New Delhi: Apple opened its first two company owned stores in India. Apple BKC in Mumbai was unveiled on April 18th and Apple Saket on April 20th leading to high levels of excitement among consumers. A one of its kind opening events with CEO Tim Cook, the excitement has been over the fact that spacious well designed Apple stores world over generally tend to have ample amounts of inventory for most popular products which one is typically not able to find with Apple dealers. Further, with its complete accessory ecosystem, Apple stores are expected to pose a tough competition for dealer stores in cities where they open. Riding on the success of its iPhone 13 model, Apple Inc. registered a third straight quarter of “double-digit growth" in India, confirming its leadership of the premium smartphone market and moving closer to a ranking among the top five phone brands in the country. Apple's revenue share in India's smartphone market has risen to second place in 2022, up from fourth place a year earlier, according to recent industry reports.
Traditionally, Apple has struggled to gain market share in India because of its premium positioning, coupled with the high import duty levied by the Indian Government, making iPhone and other Apple products too expensive for most Indian consumers. To help lower the cost and increase its market share, Apple is looking to increase manufacturing of its devices in India. Apple has production facilities in India - at Sriperumbudur and Hosur in Tamil Nadu, where production is being done through its three manufacturers – Foxconn, Pegatron and Wistron. Apple exported over $2.5 billion worth of iPhones from India between April and December 2022, nearly double its shipments from India in the previous year. This clearly indicates its shift from China, where it produced almost 100% of its products a few years back. Apart from manufacturing iPhones, Apple has recently started producing Airpods in India, and it is likely to add MacBooks and iPads as it seeks to diversify its production base after COVID pandemic disrupted its supply chain from China. With all these moves while Apple products will become more accessible and affordable for the Indian consumer, service and especially affordable service remains a challenge on Apple products for many consumers.
To understand how Apple consumers purchase company’s products and are likely to along with key issues they have faced with less than 3-year-old Apple products, LocalCircles conducted a national survey which received over 22,000 responses from Apple product consumers located in 271 districts of India. 63% respondents were men while 37% respondents were women. 47% respondents were from tier 1, 35% from tier 2 and 18% respondents were from tier 3, 4 & rural districts.
30% of Apple consumers surveyed prefer to visit a company/franchise store and purchase products there; Another 44% prefer to visit stores but buy elsewhere
The first question in the survey asked respondents “When you have to purchase an Apple product, what is your preferred channel of shopping?” Nearly 11,000 Apple product consumers responded to this query with only 30% indicating that they are most likely to purchase an Apple product from a company or franchise store; many visit the stores but buy it online or from a nearby dealer. The data shows that 30% of the 10,854 surveyed prefer to “visit a company/franchise store and purchase there”; 25% of respondents “visit a company/franchise store to see the product but purchase from a nearby dealer”; 19% “visit a company/ franchise store to see the product, but purchase via ecommerce/ online sites”; 5% visit a “local dealer to see the product but purchase via ecommerce/ online sites”; 10% just purchase it “online without physically seeing the product”; and 11% make a decision on where to purchase depending on “where the best prices are”.
Apple consumers’ surveyed upset mainly on account of rapid battery discharge, display screen damage and battery heating apart from other issues
One of the common complaints received from consumers by LocalCircles over the last 3 years has been the quality of Apple products and its high cost of service in case an issue is faced. The next question in the survey focused on issues people have faced with Apple devices like iphones, ipads, laptops, desktops and accessories like airpods and chargers. It asked Apple consumers, “What are all the major issues you have faced with less than 3-year-old Apple products in the last 5 years?” Some among the 11,269 respondents cited more than one issue with 23% citing “device battery discharging rapidly”. Among other issues cited, 13% of respondents cited “display screen damage”; 10% device “battery heating excessively”; 6% indicated “device not charging”; 6% indicating “device screen flickering”; 6% have had issues with “device display stays black/ doesn’t come on”; 6% of respondents have complaints about lack of “sound or no ringtone”; 6% have faced “device passing electric current”; and 6% have faced “other issues”. In all, nearly 3800 Apple device owners among the 11,269 who responded to this question had some issue with a less than 3-year-old device with common issues being rapid battery discharge, display screen damage and battery heating. It is likely that as Apple stores open, many of these consumers will walk in there with a defective product or a service request, something that Apple must plan to address to build consumer trust in India.
Another major issue that LocalCircles has reported in the past as a top consumer concern in India is high cost of device service and repair with most brands. The same has been escalated to the Government such that a comprehensive Right to Repair program can be structured. When LocalCircles looked at the data of Apple consumers in its last Right to Repair study in December 2022, it found that 2344 Apple device users had given feedback. 49% of those surveyed had a less than 3-year-old Apple device needing repair and said they found it cost prohibitive to repair it through Apple and its partners., 22% didn’t have the need for device repair, 19% did not check repair costs through Apple and got it done locally while only 10% said they found Apple repair costs to be reasonable. This is another area that Apple must address by enabling an affordable service ecosystem as that will definitely lead to increased consumer loyalty and market share growth.
In summary, while 30% of Apple consumers are likely to visit company and franchise stores and make purchases there, 44% of them say they currently visit the stores to see products but buy locally with a dealer nearby or via ecommerce platforms. As mega Apple stores now become available in India, it is likely that they will lead to more consumers making the purchase in these stores. However, given the time it has taken Apple to open these two stores, Apple sales in smaller cities in India is likely to continue as is till an Apple store arrives in these cities. The more critical aspect from a consumer standpoint though is the product quality, reliability, service response and service affordability on Apple products. This is an area that needs immediate attention of Apple as the survey finds that a sizable percent of Apple consumers have been facing issues with their less than 3 year old devices and many find Apple repair costs unaffordable and hence resort to local repairs. Apple needs to change this by investing in the device repair and service ecosystem in India and make it more consumer-centric and affordable.
The survey received over 22,000 responses from Apple product consumers located in 271 districts of India. 63% respondents were men while 37% respondents were women. 47% respondents were from tier 1, 35% from tier 2 and 18% respondents were from tier 3, 4 & rural districts. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants were validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.