Apple announced its results for the January to March quarter on Tuesday, and while global iPhone unit sales were down marginally year on year, the company had plenty to cheer about its performance in India.
“We set a new March quarter record for India, where revenue grew by strong double digits,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in his opening remarks as part of the earnings call. “We continued to strengthen our local presence across the entire ecosystem, and we’re very optimistic about our future in this remarkable country with its very large, young, and tech-savvy population, fast-growing economy, and improving 4G network infrastructure.”
Apple’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Luca Maestri later added that India was one of the markets where Apple’s quarterly revenue grew by “over 20 percent”. It’s worth pointing out that apart from exceptions like Japan and Greater China, Apple doesn’t report a dollar figure against revenue from individual countries.
The growth in India revenue will come as no surprise to those who watch the industry, as Apple, via its retail partners, has been aggressively pushing its products with discounts and cashback offers, especially on older iPhone models and products like the iPhone SE. More recently, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have been available at reduced prices as well.
Like he’s often done in the past, Cook linked Apple’s prospects in India to the expansion of the 4G networks in the country, calling India’s 4G rollout “truly impressive”.
“..we believe, particularly now that the 4G infrastructure is going in the country and is continuing to be expanded, that there is a huge opportunity for Apple there,” Cook said while answering a question during the earnings call. “And so that and the demographics of the country is why we’re putting so much energy there.”
“The 4G network investment really began rolling in in a significant way toward the last quarter of last year, as you know. But they are moving fast. They’re moving at a speed that I have not seen in any other country in the world once they were started, and it is truly impressive,” Cook added.
Responding to a question about the size of the India market later in the earnings call, Tim Cook reiterated that the company is looking to bring Apple stores to the country.
“We think it’s [India’s] a great opportunity too, and so we’re bringing all the things that we brought to bear in other markets that we’ve eventually done well in, and that’s from channel to stores to our ecosystem and so forth,” Cook said. He pointed to Phil Schiller’s recent visit to India to mark the official opening of App Accelerator as a sign of company’s focus on the country, but admitted Apple is still “under-penetrated” in India.
“..we agree that we are under-penetrated there [in India],” Cook said. “Our growth rates are good, really good by most people’s expectations, maybe not mine as much. And so we’re putting a lot of energy in, just like we have in other [geographies] that eventually wound up producing more and more. So I’m very excited about it.”