Apple and Android are both Goliaths in
the world of smart technology, competing neck-and-neck with each other on
everything they produce, from smartphones and tablets to apps and features.
Then there is India, known as the world’s back office, which is a nation with a competent
talent-pool of IT professionals, managers, and leaders. How is India taking to Apple and
Android? Is it enjoying their daily competitive battles, or is it nonchalant,
watching from afar with a meek sense of interest?
Let’s find out…
The price ranges
We’ll start by looking at the costs, considering India’s highly diversified economy.
While products by Apple are
priced at a more expensive benchmark globally, a look at the Indian sales
figures for the past year have even impressed Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. In a press conference this past July, 2013, Cook said that iPhone sales in India were up at a 400% year-on-year growth
rate and that iPad sales were growing in double digits too.
In the last quarter of 2012, Apple sold 230,000 iPhones in India, according to IDC. However, the first quarter of 2013 showed
the figure dip to 120,000, which brought the market share down from 4.7%
to 2.1% in India.
Apple has a price range of Rs.
26,500 to Rs. 59,500 (i.e. $430 – $966) for its iPhones.
If we compare this with the
Android market, the picture is very different. In the first quarter of 2013, IDC said that Android took over the Indian smartphone market by a
Does the unit cost have something
to do with this? Manasi Yadav, a senior market analyst, recently told the Times of India that it
probably does. She said that Apple has always been a niche market in India, and
that the Indian market is mainly driven by low-cost devices.
Samsung’s smartphone range of
mobile phones starts from as little as Rs. 5,250 (i.e. $85 for the Samsung Galaxy
Ch@t) to as high as Rs. 49,900 (i.e. $810 for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3). As all Samsung devices run on
Android, this makes it the more affordable option.
Branding and marketing strategies
How regularly and intensely are
Apple and Android advertised in Indian media? More importantly, how great an
impact do these campaigns have on the target audiences?
According to a Reuters’ report from Feb 2013, despite its niche presence in India, Apple announced a revamp in
its marketing strategy in a bid to expand its audience reach. The revamp included the
introduction of new payment plans so that customers can pay in installments
(i.e. Rs 5,056 per month), a new distribution model, and a broader advertising campaign
across mainstream Indian newspapers and television channels that are based on the English language.
Since Android is synonymous with
Samsung, Indian consumers tend to identify their handsets and tablets with the
latter, rather than the operating system itself. This is partly to do with the
fact that Samsung’s other products (in the electronics and household appliances
category) are selling really well in India. Furthermore, Samsung’s
advertising campaigns are strategically positioned across popular mass media
and communicated in English, plus certain regional languages that are
spoken in India.
Hoardings, billboards, newspaper
and television advertisements (with Bollywood celebrity endorsements) are all used by Samsung to engage audiences. All of these factors contribute to
making Samsung much more accessible to the Indian masses, thereby boosting
sales and conversion figures.
Maybe if Apple advertised in
Hindi and other regional languages or made its products more readily available
in other mainstream retail outlets (e.g. in Reliance Digital and Spencer’s), it
could improve its reach and appeal.
Applications and technical support
Apple’s iTunes and Android’s
Google Play are both commonplace names, not just within the IT circuit, but to most smartphone users in India.
Smartphones are increasingly
growing in popularity in India, particularly due to their availability through
brands offering them at lower costs (e.g. Nokia, HTC, BlackBerry, Micromax, and
Karbon). Similarly, Indian smartphone users are
always on the lookout for quality devices that are budget-friendly. However, budget restrictions do
not stop them from wanting to find out what the bigger players, such as Apple and
Android, have to offer.
The Indian urban youth, who come
from middle and upper classes and secure jobs in the medicine, pharmaceutical,
engineering, IT, marketing, media, and finance sectors, form the main target
audience for both Apple and Android. This particular audience base has
no qualms in purchasing a smartphone from either brand or vocally
stating their views about their purchases to their contacts, be it in person or
through social media.
Keeping the Indian customer base happy
Between the two major brands, it does
seem that Android is currently in the lead in India, courtesy of Samsung’s
pricing, branding, and marketing strategies. However, Apple
has garnered its own place within the Indian technology marketplace and is
respected by many users to be superior in terms of sheer technological innovation and
excellent customer service.
The bottom line? At the time of this writing, Android brings the
smart technology dream closer to Indians than Apple does. Do you agree? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.
Dr. Manroop Takhar is the managing director of Qudos Animations, a
leading animation studio in London, United Kingdom, that produces
high impact explainer animations for businesses worldwide.