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Business News/ Industry / Retail/  iPhone 15 sales take off, but top models in short supply
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iPhone 15 sales take off, but top models in short supply

Retailers see shortage of Pro, Pro Max on first day; standard iPhones see higher demand

Demand for the priciest iPhones costing as much as ₹2 lakh remains much lower than that for standard iPhones. (Bloomberg)Premium
Demand for the priciest iPhones costing as much as 2 lakh remains much lower than that for standard iPhones. (Bloomberg)

Sales of Apple’s iPhone 15 series smartphones kicked off on a strong note in India on Friday, with at least three retailers complaining of a shortage of top end Pro and Pro Max models.

“We are seeing strong first-day sales of the new iPhone 15 and 15 Plus. However, we haven’t managed to fully cash in on the general demand, as supplies of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max are short right now," said a multi-brand phone retailer from Kolkata, requesting anonymity.

Similar shortages were reported from Delhi and Mumbai as well. A major multi-brand retailer in Delhi said that sales of the iPhone 15 series on the first day were “better than last year’s", though the Pro models quickly went out of stock.

Following last year’s iPhone 14 launch as well, there were limited supplies of the top models in November and December, leading to long waiting times. However, the previous shortage was sparked by a covid-19 outbreak in the iPhone factories in China, which doesn’t trouble the supply chain any more.

However, retailers attributed the iPhone Pro stock-outs to poor supply, not excess demand. Demand for the the priciest iPhones costing as much as 2 lakh remains much lower than that for standard iPhones.

“Demand for the iPhone 15 Pro series is much less than the standard iPhone 15 models—for every 10 Pro iPhones sold, we’re seeing orders for at least 80 standard models," the Kolkata-based retailer said.

This is in line with historical demand for the iPhone Pro models in India. According to data from market researcher International Data Corp. (IDC) India, the Pro models typically account for around 15% of all iPhone sales in the country, and it’s the same this year as well.

The retailer, however, added that Apple has been more proactive about supplies this year. “Our second and third batch of orders are already in line—the second order for supplies is set to be approved today itself, while the third round is expected to be approved and processed by Apple by Monday. Until last year, this used to take up nearly 10 days for every round of orders," he said.

Manish Khatri, a partner at Mumbai-based retailer Mahesh Telecom, however, said overall demand is tepid. “Supplies of the Pro iPhones are low, leading to the devices being out of stock at the moment. But, this is not due to higher-than expected demand. More consumers are inquiring about the older series of Apple’s iPhones, and they are likely to await the rollout of festive season offers before we see consumer demand ramp up," Khatri said.

An email query sent to Apple remained unanswered. Analysts expect the company to record its highest-ever shipments of over 9 million units of its iPhones in India this year. Even though this is still around a third of the overall shipments of market leader Samsung, it is expected to help Apple potentially capture the top spot in smartphone market revenue in India this year.

Apple’s revenue market share is expected to be driven by its high average selling price (ASP) of its smartphones, which exceed 80,000 per unit sold, as compared with an industry average of around 20,000 per unit. On 4 August, Apple Inc.’s chief executive Tim Cook said the company achieved “strong double digits" growth to report record revenue in India for the June quarter. “We also opened our first two retail stores during the quarter. And it’s, of course, early going currently, but they’re currently beating our expectations in terms of how they’re doing," Cook said.

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Shouvik Das
Shouvik Das is a science, space and technology reporter for Mint and TechCircle. In his previous stints, he worked at publications such as CNN-News18 and Outlook Business. He has also reported on consumer technology and the automobile sector.
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Updated: 23 Sep 2023, 12:29 AM IST
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