Conversations with general, modern and online trade across cities such as Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru — where long queues were seen on the day of the launch — reveal that around 100,000 units of the new phones were sold in the opening weekend, double of what was sold last year.
The excitement visible this year was lacking last year when Apple launched its iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, said informed sources. For instance, the iStore in UB City, an upmarket mall located in the heart of Bengaluru, saw consumers line up impatiently for their iPhone on Day-one and over the weekend.
According to trade sources, Apple has shipped 100,000-150,000 units of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus into the country for the opening weekend, targeting select cities — Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata.
The initial plan, sources say, was to target Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru only. But, the response from the market in the pre-bookings phase prompted the Cupertino-based company to extend the reach of the phone to more cities in the initial phase.
While no Apple India spokesperson was available for comment for this story, sources said the company would ship more phones into the country next week as it extends the launch across the country.
Alok Gupta, chief architect and CEO of Essar Retail, whose The Mobile Store chain, headquartered in Mumbai, is selling the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, said sales were up 30 per cent this year compared to last year. Executives at Reliance Digital, which is pushing the special Jio offers for those purchasing the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus from its stores, also said that the response to the new phone was good. Apple, sources said, has benefited from the aggression demonstrated by partners such as Reliance Jio and Airtel this year, both of which are offering free data and voice for those who pick up their 4G and 3G plans along with the new phones.
Additionally, Citibank and American Express cardholders are also getting cashbacks of Rs 7,000-10,000 upon purchase of the new phones.
Of the five colours available for the new iPhone, the jet black variant is particularly in demand, retailers said. Apple has released limited stocks of this variant in the marketplace for now, they added. The iPhone 7 and 7 plus has been priced at Rs 60,000 and Rs 72,000 for the 32GB variant, Rs 70,000 and Rs 82,000 for the 128GB variant and Rs 80,000 and Rs 92,000 for the 256GB variant, respectively.
Online sales were also reportedly good. Binny Bansal, co-founder & CEO of Flipkart, personally delivered the new iPhone to Gaurav, a resident of Bengaluru’s HSR Layout locality at around 7.30 pm on Friday.
“People have been incredibly excited and the response Flipkart got for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus pre-orders were tremendous. We made around 99 per cent of the deliveries for the devices between 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm on Friday itself, keeping our promise to customers,” said a Flipkart spokesperson.
While the initial response of the iPhone 7 has been positive, it is yet to be seen how Google plays its cards with its new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. Positioning it as an all-new device, the company is to appeal to both Android purists and buyers of the iPhone. At a starting price of Rs 57,000, the Pixel is priced close to the base variant of the iPhone 7. “If you are looking for a premium Android experience, yes the Google Pixel will take away some share from Samsung, especially because of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 debacle. But, the big question that needs to be answered is whether the Pixel is the most advanced smartphone, compared to the iPhone,” said Neil Shah, partner, Counterpoint Research.
Faisal Kawoosa, lead, telecom and semitronics practice at CyberMedia Research, said: “Consumers tend to react positively to a new iPhone range such as an iPhone 6 or 7 as opposed to an S range such as iPhone 6s. While the changes in iPhone 7 are incremental, the company has priced it well this year and it is also coming at a time when the mood in the market is upbeat. This should have a positive rub-off on sales.”
GONE IN A JIFFY
Nearly 100,000 units sold over the weekend
This is double that of the first weekend sales of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus last year
Positive consumer sentiment and aggressive trade offers are some of the reasons for the good performance this year
Apple also priced the iPhone 7 well at Rs 60,000 for the base variant, which is 32 GB, not 16 GB
- The jet black variant of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are particularly in demand