After reports of Apple attempting to sell refurbished iPhones broke out last month, we finally have a verdict, and it’s not a good one for the Cupertino-based company.
India has flat-out rejected Apple’s push into the country’s market with used iPhones. This was the brand’s second attempt at penetrating the massive Indian population – and its 220 million active users – with iPhones priced competitively against the sub-$150 smartphones from both Indian and Chinese manufacturers.
Aside from hurting the country’s Make in India program, which favors locally produced handsets, the government also claims that bringing in second-hand phones would only add to the nation’s electronic waste. This reinforces concerns of turning the program into “Dump in India,” as told by Chairman Sudhir Hasija of Karbonn Mobiles.
In the long run, this decision might actually favor Apple. Since the company banks heavily on the premium status of its devices, selling its flagship products at exceedingly lowered prices could hurt the image Apple has fostered globally.
Officially entering the country with subpar iPhones would also make them easy targets for the marketing teams of well-established brands in India. Why choose a costlier smartphone nearing the end of its lifecycle over a brand-new phone with stronger after-sales support, and possibly newer hardware?
Apple’s best hopes of penetrating the Indian market and boosting its 2 percent market share (compared to Android’s 64 percent) now lie in setting up official retail stores in the country.
The decision for that plan is still pending – to the disgruntlement of Indian Apple fans.