That’s exactly what rival Spotify did. When the company launched music streaming services in India in February 2019, Apple Music already had an Android product ready, “with a very big library, but nobody knew anything about it,” they add. The company also dropped the ball on user features on the app.
For the first few months, a user could only create an Apple Music account only if they signed in from an iPhone, counterintuitive to what Apple originally set out to achieve. Tandon, who was hired to lead marketing efforts for Music, left the role in August 2018. Apple hasn’t hired a replacement. Sabharwal, who was leading marketing for App Store then, has backfilled the role since.
There aren’t many big markets in India that pay well. Downloads are a big market in India.
Why wouldn’t Apple spend enough on marketing in India? The former executive points to Apple’s approach of prioritizing revenue over volume as the growth driver. “India is too insignificant a market, at least for media products, for Apple to actually focus on.
India is not exactly a big market that pays. It’s a big market that downloads.” Pivotal year All of this may be about to change. This year, Apple is slated to ship five million iPhones to India in 2021, according to Tarun Pathak, research director at Counterpoint Research.
For the next three years, that number remained more or less constant.
This number is significant for many reasons, notes Pathak, who has been tracking Apple India for many years. In 2017, the year when Apple began locally manufacturing iPhones, shipments had risen 28% to 3.2 million from 2.5 million in 2016—the highest ever annual rise at the time, according to Counterpoint.
But that number more or less remained constant for the next three years. This is despite significant growth in India’s smartphone market, which saw overall annual smartphone shipments growing 13% from 134 million shipments to about 152 million in 2020. The five-million forecast, then, implies 56% growth, potentially marking 2021 as a pivotal year in Apple India’s history.
Music hired Andon to lead its marketing efforts.
“Unlike the last few years, where phone upgrades by existing users might have contributed more, a lot of these users are new to the iOS ecosystem,” Pathak notes. So Apple might have a much higher installed base than the current 15 million before the year-end.