Apple’s aggressive iPhone trade-ins in India could include try-and-buy

By , Nov 20, 2013

iOS 7 teaser (iPhone 5c ad 006)

India Today on Monday said Apple has partnered with India’s local distributors (Apple Stores don’t operate in the country) on a smartphone trade-in program against new iPhone 5c and iPhone 4s purchases in an attempt to boost sales of the colorful new iPhone that has largely failed to attract buyers compared to the flagship iPhone 5s.

The Times of India today shared some additional tidbits about the initiative and it seems the country’s would-be iPhone buyers can now bring in their old iPhone or one of non-Apple handsets to claim lower prices against new iPhone 4s/5c purchases, and other benefits. More on that right below…

Apple’s creative ideas for India, home to 1.24 billion people, come down to partnering with local dealers that’ve agreed to make Apple’s handset more affordable to cash-strapped buyers by offering aggressive trade-ins as opposed to traditional price cuts.

Specifically, the firm is offering a minimum discount of Rs 13,000 (about $207) in iPhone 4 trade-in value, good only against new iPhone 5c/4s purchases. Of course, newer iPhone models will fetch higher value, depending on their condition.

This means a customer can bring in, say, his or her rusty iPhone 4 to one of the participating outlets and buy a 16/32GB iPhone 5c for 28,900/40,500 rupee, which respectively works out to about $463/$647.

Compare this to the official price points of 41,900/53,500 rupee ($670/$855) for the 16/32GB iPhone 5c. Mind you, these are off-contract prices and the flagship iPhone 5s is not eligible for trade-in discounts.

iPhone 5c Blue Yellow

In addition to older iPhones, some retailers permit customers to bring in non-Apple devices. For instance, Mumbai-based Mahesh Telecom has said that Apple’s exchange scheme is also available for BlackBerry’s Z10/Q10, Nokia’s Lumia 925, HTC’s One/One Mini/Desire 500/Desire 600.

Other eligible devices include Samsung’s Galaxy S4/S3/S4 Mini/Mega 6.3/Mega 5.8 and Note 3/2, as well as Sony’s Xperia Z1/Z/Z Ultra/ZR/C smartphones.

Those opting for an iPhone 4s will be able to walk away with the device in exchange for 18,500 rupee (about $296), down from its official price of 31,500 rupee (approximately $503). Apple in a similar vein introduced the buyback offer for the iPhone 4 earlier this year, which helped triple sales in a matter of one week.

The company is also giving cashback of five percent on select credit cards.

Apple iPhone 5s 5c launch video (image 001)

In addition to outlets which are part of Apple’s Premium Reseller initiative, some of the other participating stores offering this buyback include Reliance Digital, Jumbo Electronics, E-Zone, Croma, Airtel, Planet M, Digital Xpress, Spice Hotspot, Vijay Sales and The Mobile Store.

Even more surprisingly, Apple’s leadership is apparently toying with a try-before-buy approach in an obvious attempt to further boost iPhone sales.

The Times of India explains:

One of the ideas to push iPhone sales was a try-and-buy offer, wherein a buyer will be able to take home an iPhone model without actually purchasing it for a few days.

As per the discussion, buyers will have to get the cost of the smartphone blocked via credit card, so that in case they do not return the handset after the trial period is over Apple does not lose money. However, the nuances of this scheme were not ironed out at the meeting.

That to my knowledge would mark an unheard-of move for the company.

Can you imagine being able to waltz inside one of Apple’s U.S. retail stores and take home an iPhone, so you could play with it for a few days before making a purchasing decision? Now, that would be something!

In all seriousness, Apple holds a commanding share of the U.S. market for smartphones so try-before-buy isn’t really necessary here. Elsewhere, it’s a different story – that’s why some pundits call Apple’s U.S. share an anomaly.

I’m certainly eager to see whether Apple will introduce these kinds of promotions in China, Brazil and Russia where its dirt cheap competitor have managed to relegate the iPhone to a single-digit share.

If you live in India, feel free to comment on Apple’s latest moves and give our international readers some local perspective on these trade-ins.

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  • n0ahcruz3

    Apple will remain a niche on these markets(BRIC)

  • riyadian1

    n when they gona do in Saudi Arabia

  • Abhinav Chaudhary

    No one wants an iPhone 4S or lame 5c now

  • Rahul

    Here people are crazy behind 5s gold. No one wanna buy any other colours. People are paying 950 dollars where the MRP is 860 dollars. That means a person is paying 90 dollars premium for a gold piece, mind it I am talking abt 16gb model.
    Moreover local telecoms partnered wid apple like Airtel is selling 5s gold only if u buy another phone which is either space grey or silver. The demand of gold has not been met and retailers are finding opportunity out of it. Other retailers are booking the piece for 30 day delivery period.

    It’s high time apple open their own stores Down in India. Talking abt trade in programme from apple where you get 207 dollars if u get an old smartphone. That’s ridiculous because anyways if u sell those phone in market u get more than 250 dollars as all phone listed in trade in programme is phones like s3 note 2 xperiaz. So basically trade in is not good enough.

    • mrloko

      Apple wants to open their own outlet..but you know about our government and the foreign investment policies..
      Thats why even starbucks is colaborated with TATA

  • Aj

    India is a Rich country and to capture Indian market Apple has come out with new Ideas that are working well for them,So please stop thinking India as a poor country we Indians have much more money power today than people in US,UK OR EUROPE.

  • Kenrick Fernandes

    From India here and ill just throw in my 2 cents or rather 2 rupees haha..

    First, glad to see my favorite blog(which i read everyday) cover some Indian news. Secondly the 5c is a huge failure here just like in the US. I have spoken to alot of people and although all retailers are pushing hard to sell the 5C it just doesn’t seem to be working. I guess even though this phone isn’t cheap people don’t want to be seen with a plastic sort of phone. Some major retailers are trying so hard that they are only putting the 5c in stores for display and not putting on any 5s’es
    Well here the 5S is doing very well and apple will continue to do very well..
    My conclusion is although apple will continue to push the 5C, it’s still going to be a flop.

  • Ram Dasika

    iphone 5c is considered as a plastic cheap phone here one of my relative who waltzed into a reliance store saw that phone and asked a rep why are they selling china phones with apple logos she did not think apple would ever make a cheap plastic phoneEven if they reduce its price to half people wont buy

    Iphone 5s is a different story altogether though

  • Rakshit Doshi

    i don’t think apple is doing a proper market study here. they need to understand that the grey market here is far stronger than the official retail stores. no one cares for a bill or a warranty. buy it cheap, use it till it dies and if it does die, there are people who can repair phones with no concern for warranty. they will charge you a 1000 bucks or so and you are good as new.

    Now, besides this, they need to understand the spending power of the top 10% strata of the society. they will pay twice the money for a brilliant looking phone from apple but will not pay a fraction of that for a plastic phone. it is all about the look and status of the owner. now the second level of buyer is one who will not look at the price of the phone but the value of money he is spending. if a samsung or an HTC gives him a better phone for 41000 as opposed to a 39000 rupees plastic iphone, he will go for the former. and the third level of the market belongs to those who only look at budgets. they walk into a store and say, “i have 5000 bucks, what do you have to offer?” and Apple will never ever look at these guys as customers.

    Point is: apple appeals only to the top 10% with the 5s gold. if they want to enter level 2, they need to price their older version at less than half the price of the newer version… if they could sell an iphone 5 at 25000 then i am sure a bunch of people would migrate. but they are trying to push a 4s which is 2 gens older and priced way higher than it deserves. WONT WORK.

    All of this is based on no study but from years of observation of the markets. so all of this is purely IMHO.

  • Monit Patel

    At first apple have to bulid official stores in india, specially in himatnagar,gujarat.

    • Monit Patel

      Because no of iphones are more here

  • Amrit Singh

    Just noticed “cash-strapped buyers” … Just want to let u know Mr. Christian Zibreg, its kinda offensive to call Indians cash strapped. We are well educated and doesnt want to spend our money on lame 5c or iPhone 4S.

  • A B

    Well for 5C to succeed the pricing has to be right!
    Everyone knows 5c is basically 5 in a new casing. So pricing 5c at 30-35k, reducing 4S to about 22-25k and see how sales boom!
    Moreover we need to understand the colors of 5c are more of youth thing so anyways the pricing had to be spot on. Anyone in 30s & beyond would any day prefer the 5S for a few additional rupees!
    I think apple had a great product and opportunity with 5c to get into the Indian youth and colleges (which are dominated by android etc) but they just couldn’t get the pricing right! Hope they can rectify soon……