After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's historic demonetisation announcement on 8 November, sales of many high-value goods shot up. One such item was Apple's iPhone. Many black money hoarders were converting their cash, buying these smartphones even at a premium price.
According to a report in the Economic Times, almost 1 lakh Apple iPhones were sold just within three days of the announcement that ₹500 and ₹1,000 would no longer be legal tenders. Shopkeepers were selling the smartphones with backdated bills so that the sale money could be exchanged later or deposited legally in banks.
The iPhone is the most popular and easily available among high-value smartphones, available for sale for cash in stores or in the gray market. The recently released iPhone 7 is priced at ₹60,000 and up, with the high-end variant selling for up to ₹92,000. According to the ET report, iPhone sales were up by 20-30 percent this month as a direct consequence of demonetisation.
It is estimated that smartphones sales will shrink in the October-December quarter in India because of the cash crunch as many phone sales, both online or offline, were transacted in cash. Notably, 70 percent of the transactions on Indian e-commerce websites are made through cash.
"There is still a novelty factor for iPhones amongst Indian consumers since it is the costliest handset, and people were buying multiple units for themselves and to gift," Subhash Chandra, managing director of southern India's leading cellphone retailer Sangeetha Mobiles, told ET.
It was recently also reported that Google's Pixel phone is making its mark in the premium smartphone market with a 10 percent share in phone shipments in the month of October. Apple is still at the top with a whopping 62 percent market share, followed by Samsung.