Technology brands rule the Brand Derby chart with Apple's flagship products iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus bagging the top two spots. Riding high on the success of these two products, Apple, for the first time, managed to sell a million handsets in India, one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world.
Launched in October 2014, the two Apple brands proved to be an instant hit with the Indian buyers with the first shipment of 55,000 units of the iPhone 6 models being sold out in just 72 hours of launch. Staying true to its 'high-on-tech' brand image, Apple launched the iPhone 6 with 16 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB internal storage priced at Rs 53,500, Rs 62,500, and Rs 71,500, respectively. The larger iPhone 6 Plus was priced at Rs 62,500, Rs 71,500, and Rs 80,500 for the 16 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB models, respectively.
Listing out few of the brand attributes that go into making Apple a great smartphone brand, Akhilesh Tuteja, partner and head, IT Advisory Services, KPMG India, says, "Simplicity defines every aspect of the brand Apple - be it the product, interface or the packaging. The smartphone maker's focus on aesthetics comes from its belief that the product should not just look good but it should also do good. Thanks to these brand attributes, Apple has managed to maintain a consistent brand position across markets and continues to be the most expensive product in the smartphone category."
Most importantly, the new launches marked a significant shift in Apple's product strategy as it finally entered the arena of large size smartphones. The iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch HD display was the first big-screen smartphone offering from Apple. Similarly, the iPhone 6 Plus with a 5.5 inch screen was the first phablet from the Apple stable. Even as Apple continues to maintain a consistent brand positioning, "the smartphone maker has woken up to market realities and widening its product portfolio. Making its products available in larger screen sizes being a case in point," points out Tuteja. Besides establishing itself as an aspirational brand, Apple has added a 'prestige' dimension to its offerings - as in who can lay his hands on the product first - thus adding to the 'halo' around the product.
Apple's success with these products came at a time when the Indian smartphone market was disrupted by the launch of high-end feature-laden devices at affordable price points by Indian and Chinese players. Tuteja says market disruption notwithstanding, Apple has continued to play to its brand strength of being an exclusive, albeit a little expensive, product.
While retaining its premiumness, Apple sweetened the deal for customers by partnering with leading mobile operators including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Reliance, to offer customers attractive EMI plans and bundled data and voice offering.