Well, it had to happen, I had expected the same fate of iPhone launch in India since the day they announced the price for 8GB model as 31,000 & 16GB model as 36,000! Indian consumers were prepared and were willing to pay premium for a premium product like iPhone but premium as high as 4 times than its price in US? Isn’t it too high esp. when most of the consumers have easy access to US market these days? As I anticipated, the launch of iPhone in India on 22nd Aug’08 in a mid-night launch event didn’t receive onlookers in as high number as US or other countries. The launch event went quite lackluster and even if bunch of people visited the event, the actual conversion number i.e., people buying it first day itself was quite low as against any other country.
Last year when iPhone was launched in US, it was the talk of the town and media was splashed across globally with the launch details and sales volume of iPhone in 1st day itself. Then what went wrong majorly in case of Indian launch? As reported in ET today, “the snazzy gizmo failed to draw crowds to the stores of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar in sharp contrast to the international markets where iPhone lovers had queued up the whole night to buy the handset. The mood was subdued at the midnight launch of iPhone at Mumbai’s Infiniti Mall with Friday being a working day. The stage was set for a grand launch, complete with confetti and cheerleaders, but at the stroke of midnight, there were just 10 people who actually bought the high-end device. At a Vodafone store in Connaught Place, Central Delhi, journalists outnumbered customers by a huge margin. Only about 15 customers turned up to buy the phone. The Airtel retail store nearby wore a deserted look on Friday afternoon, with not a single customer buying the iPhone. In Gurgaon, Airtel unveiled the iPhone at Sahara Mall. Despite the frenzy, the D-day did not quite match the expectations with just about 35-40 people lining up to buy the coveted smartphone.
Infact a day after the launch also, I don’t think there has been any noticeable upsurge in the sales volume in any of the cities. I remember reading it somewhere that more than 2 lakh people had registered on Airtel website as prospective buyers for iPhone. 2 lakh only on Airtel website! Then what would have been the overall size of the prospective buyers in India? But looks like such a high pricing has dampened the spirits of most of the Indian consumers who were eagerly awaiting this Apple product in India. I know of many people personally who were initially waiting for this phone but now have decided to settle for some other set stating that 31k for 8GB phone is just too high! Well, as of now it looks like iPhone has gone majorly wrong in its launch pricing strategy in India. But nothing can be concluded so soon, let’s wait and watch if service providers will bring down the prices to capture the mass or keep it at the same price to target the niche!