Change is the only constant. It couldn’t be apter than in the smartphone industry where a new phone with a new feature is launched with the blink of an eye. From feature phone to android to IOS, from 2G to 3G and now moving on to 5G, every new year brings along a plethora of choices with new trends and smartphone technology.
The smartphone industry so far has been a very dynamic industry. On one hand, we have had numerous Android phones from brands like Xiaomi, Samsung, Google, Oppo, Vivo etc and on the other, we have an ios phone from Apple which has stood tall against all these brands. Thanks to their ultra smart strategy. While other brands were focusing on tapping & targeting the masses of our country, Apple created a niche for itself by focusing on the luxury market with its trendsetting products. With the launch of the iPhone in 2007, Apple has already sold more than 1.5 billion iPhones. A phone with its own App store, a phone which could easily work like a camera, a computer, GPS device, music player and even payment tool, Apple was a groundbreaker in every term. So much that the world would sit up and notice. Apple enjoyed a great brand value till about 2017 but soon the other big players started catching up. Soon, other brands like Samsung, Google and Oneplus brought their own niches with a big screen and pen features at a better pricing.
So, in spite of growing tremendously in the last few years, Apple’s sales finally slid. Reasons were pretty obvious. The market got flooded with more and more sturdy phones with water resistant features that people just don’t feel the need to upgrade often. All these years, people were ready to spend on iPhone just because of the kick they would get in owning the latest model but when the new Apple models were not that attractive and failed to deliver something new and creative, the sales started dipping. Moreover, people realized that they could get other brands with similar or better features at a lower cost.
Smartphone sales work on consumer psyche. People pay money if the brand offers any novelty and status but once a brand isn’t able to fulfil these criteria, they shift to value for money proposition. With not so satisfactory product quality, availability of cheaper battery replacements for older iPhone models, few iPhone upgrades, slowing down users phones, wrong pricing and no 5G support till 2020 and dipping sales in the most important China market, Apple could feel the dent. Counterpoint Technology Market Research suggests that from 3.2 million India shipments in 2017, the shipments fell down to 1.7-1.8 million in 2018. With a result, revenue from the iPhone fell about 15% in Q4 2018 vis-à-vis Q4 2017. Moreover, most of the Apple sales have been dependent on smartphones and about 60% of revenue coming from a single product line isn’t a great idea.
So, whether it is about market saturation or a revised marketing strategy, Apple needs to roll up its sleeves to remain where it was else the day isn’t far when people would refer to it just as a case study to learn about “The rise and the fall of a brand.”