In today's Economic Times (India's leading business newspaper), there is an article out on how poorly Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhones have sold in the January through March 2013 quarter based on so-called research from IDC. According to the analyst there, Apple sold a mere 120,000 iPhones in the March 2013 quarter versus 230,000 in the October through December 2012 quarter.
That is impossible based on my chats and store visits over the last few weekends here in India. According to one store manager at a Reliance Digital, probably the largest reseller of Apple products in India; "Apple is now (since the marketing blitz, promo offers and installment plans) selling significantly more smartphones compared to what it sold in the last four years combined."
In addition, another research outfit, Strategy Analytics estimates that approximately 10 million smartphones were sold in India in the first quarter of 2013, making India the third largest market for smart phones behind the USofA and China. IDC claims that AAPL share dropped from 4.7% in the December 2012 to 2.1% in the March 2013 quarter. If IDC is correct on market share and Strategy Analytics is right on the number of smart phones sold in India in the March quarter, it would translate to 210,000 phones sold by Apple in the March quarter, no?
Towards the end of March the Economic Times had put out an article stating that Apple is planning to trip its exclusive retail resellers to 200 from the 70 or so at the moment. Exclusive resellers are certified by Apple and sell only Apple products. Apple wouldn't be expanding that rapidly to sell a mere 14-15 smartphones/day/current reseller outlet, would they? Go ahead do the math based on IDC estimates.
IDC estimates that by 2016 there will be 108 million smart phones sold in India and although arch rival at the moment enjoys a third of the market share, based on conversations I had with store managers, customers at the store, Apple is catching up. At a couple of stores, the staff told me that almost 10-15% of smart phones being sold in the last 5-6 months are iPhones. If that is true, that would explain the company's plan to triple its distribution network in India.
Finally, Redington which is a large national distributor of Apple products sold approximately 400,000 iPhone in the last five months of 2012 which again makes IDC and Strategy Analytics numbers inaccurate at best.
Apple will be reporting numbers for the June quarter next week and we will know a lot more than what today's article suggests. Seemingly inaccurately!
Disclosure: I am long AAPL. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Additional disclosure: Long AAPL further dated calls and Short AAPL weekly calls