It is no secret among experienced marketing professionals in India that the best of multinational companies meet their Waterloo in this country. Many before have failed to read the market sentiments before and many may still do. Apple Inc. could be the latest in the news if one goes by the churning the company‚Äôs Indian operations are going through currently. Three of its senior executives are on their way out; the company is pruning the number of distributors from five to just two by the close of this financial year and other changes are likely to be witnessed in the days to come. Observers are placing the blame for all this squarely on the poor sales volumes Apple products have been able to achieve in the Indian market.
Rahul Puri, Head, National Sales, Jayant Gupta Head, Operator Business and iPhone sales and Manish Sharma, National Sales Head (Telecom) are the three now being discussed in the media. There may be more, lower in the hierarchy. One has to hasten to add here that these changes in personnel follow the taking over at the helm by Michel Coulomb as the Head of India Operations. It is feasible he is effecting these changes to restructure and induct fresh blood into the system to make more concerted efforts at improving sales.
The same goes for the distribution network as well. Only Reddington and Ingram Micro are being continued beyond March 2019.
Apple is definitely worried that in a market that sells 3.2 million handsets in a year, it is able to sell only 2% of this number. The company possibly understands that India is a highly price-sensitive market and its efforts at assembling a few models like the iPhone SE here, is aimed at cutting costs and lowering the selling price. Apple may also have to take a serious look at the cost of its components and servicing charges. These are prohibitively high and multiple times what one has to pay for similar products or service of any other brand.
Having set up a new distribution centre outside Mumbai, Apple India hopes to make supplies to large retailers directly, in order to bring down the net cost to the buyers.