Why Apple needs to ship the iPhone 6 to emerging markets sooner

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Demand for phablets growing in India

Previously in this series, we discussed why there’s a huge growth potential worldwide for Apple’s (AAPL) newly released phablet, the iPhone 6 Plus. The potential demand for the iPhone 6 Plus is even greater in Asia, especially in emerging markets such as India and China.

According to a report from International Data Corporation, and as the chart below shows, smartphones with screen sizes of between five and seven inches—the “phablet” category—showed the strongest growth in India. As of Q2 2013, phablets accounted for about 30% of the overall smartphone market in India—up from just 5% a year ago. Even smartphones with screen sizes of between 3.5 and 4.99 inches showed strong growth.

Demand for bigger smartphones is also rising in China

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According to a report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, 39% of Chinese iOS users left for Google’s (GOOG) (GOOGL) Android-based smartphones over the past year. Of these users, 12.3% opted for a screen of 5.5 inches or larger. Clearly, delaying distribution of the bigger iPhones in China has already driven down Apple’s market share. Samsung (SSNLF), the largest player using the Android operating system, is likely to have benefited most from Apple’s delay.

The demand for the iPhone 6 Plus in other parts of Asia, such as Japan, is also huge. In our recently published  article “Why Japanese consumers eagerly await a bigger iPhone 6,” we observed that about 41% and 20% of Japanese consumers, respectively, are interested in the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6.

Delay in iPhone 6 Plus shipment will hurt Apple

According to the latest report from Bloomberg, China’s biggest telecom player, China Mobile (CHL), said that it doesn’t know when the iPhone 6 would become available in China. Citing 21st Century Business Herald, the same report, pending government approval, Apple may have to wait until next year to ship the iPhone 6 to China.

The situation in India is no different. According to Apple’s India website a few days ago, the iPhone 6 was supposed to be available there in mid-October. The website has now removed this reference, indicating that the iPhone 6 shipment in India is similarly delayed. These delays will hurt Apple and its ability to boost sales of the iPhone 6 in these countries.

 

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