Apple veteran Michel Coloumb has taken over the Indian operations following the recent departure of Sanjay Kaul who was elevated to the position in May last year. Coloumb was previously the managing director for South Asia operations and will now oversee sales in India. His appointment comes at a time when Apple is facing its slowest growth in the country in six years and increase in iPhone prices this past week only looks to make things worse.
Coloumb will be replacing Sanjay Kaul who left his position this week following a price hike on iPhones in India due to increase in custom duty. Apple’s head of emerging markets Huges Asseman announced the changes on Monday during the company’s annual sales conference in Goa, Economic Times reports . At the conference, Asseman also confirmed Kaul’s exit through the reasons behind his departure are still unknown.
Last week, it was reported that Apple earned Rs 11,618.7 crores in revenue during the 2016-17 period ending March compared to Rs 9,937 crores earned the year before, which is a 17 per cent growth and is the slowest for the company compared to the past six years. The data provided suggested that Apple’s growth in the country was impacted due to demonetisation late last year. Sales are expected to get worse as Apple a few days ago decided to increase the prices of its iPhones due to increase in custom duty from 10 per cent to 15 per cent.
With this increase, Apple has hiked the prices of its iPhones by around 3.5 per cent. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S are now Rs 1000 to Rs 1,500 more than before, and prices for phones like the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X are much steeper now. This will likely further impact sales of the iPhones in a price sensitive market like India where brands like Xiaomi and Samsung dominate with their competitively priced smartphones. Apple currently holds a measly 3 per cent market share in the country and it will be interesting to see how all of this will impact the company further going into 2018. Apple has expressed in the past that India is a crucial market, but recent events suggest that the Cupertino giant will have a tough time picking things up in a saturated market.
“Apple had a plan to sell ten million iPhones in India by 2017 under an internal strategy called ‘Project Everest’ which was made along with consultancy BCG. However, the company can barely sell around 3.5-4 million iPhones this year. Asseman is on-ground executive and is expected to push growth as well reverse the plunging ASP,” an executive told ET.