Apple cut prices of its latest iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus by up to 16% cent just two months after their launch in India to boost flagging sales in what is historically its most crucial quarter as demand for the flagship devices nosedived from a Diwali high.
The price of the iPhone 6s 16 GB model, which was introduced at Rs 62,000 on October 16, has fallen by 11-16% and now ranges between Rs 52,000 and Rs 55,000, according to four large retailers who spoke to ET on condition of anonymity. The price cuts are across all variants – 16 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB — of both models. The average difference in prices of all iPhone 6s and 6s Plus devices between launch time and now is about 15 per cent, a top executive at a national retailer said.
The reduction also narrows the gap with prices of iPhone 6 devices launched in 2014, making an upgrade more attractive for customers. “The price difference between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s was a lot, so many customers are not willing to upgrade to the new model,” said a senior executive of another national retailer.
This is the first time that the price of an Apple flagship has been brought down within two months of launch, underlining concerns around the initial pricing, said Tarun Pathak, senior analyst at Counterpoint Technology Market Research. Apple declined to comment on the matter.
Apple had introduced the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus at Rs 62,000-Rs 92,000, about Rs 8,000-Rs 9,500 more than launch prices of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The models wereRs 14,000-Rs 16,000 costlier than those available in the US, Middle East and Hong Kong, raising concerns that demand would be hurt.
Apple imported almost 320,000 of the latest iPhones in October in India, the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market, sparking hopes of its best ever quarter. Shipments have slumped since then and the latest data suggests that imports of the new models fell 62 per cent to 120,000 in November.
The latest price cuts come after Apple iPhone 5s prices were slashed for the third time in three months, now starting at Rs 24,999, almost half its September price.
The price cuts indicate that Apple maybe trying to revive demand in the October-to-December quarter, which has historically been the strongest period for the company due to its flagship launches.
Industry insiders said Apple’s distributors are selling the iPhone models at marked-down prices, allowing retailers to offer all models at discounted rates.
Below is the approximate prices of iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus on one of the country’s biggest e-commerce website:
iPhone 6S (16GB): Rs 48,499
iPhone 6S (64GB): Rs 62,849
iPhone 6S (128GB): Rs 74,940
iPhone 6S Plus (16GB): Rs 61,999
iPhone 6S Plus (64GB): Rs 75,499
iPhone 6S Plus (128GB): Rs 85,999
Pathak stressed that the iPhone 5s, launched in 2013, could take the wind out of iPhone 6s sales, given the massive price difference between them.
Analysts said the price cut could re-ignite iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus demand in the coming months. “Now that they have aligned prices, we can see some sales happening in future quarters, which will also sustain Apple in the typically weaker periods of January to September,” Pathak added.