India: Apple's wearable, laptop & tablet business fails to match iPhone's impressive growth in 2023

New Delhi: Apple‘s wearable, laptop, and tablet businesses in India faced a challenging year in 2023, recording sharp declines in both shipments and revenues, in stark contrast to booming iPhone sales that scaled new highs in the world’s second-largest smartphone market. Market trackers attribute the weaker performance in the non-iPhone categories to a lack of compelling feature upgrades in new product launches and comparatively longer product replacement cycles.

Apple’s smartwatch business in India registered a marginal 3% growth in revenues and shipments in 2023 while iPad shipments and revenues declined 11% and 27%, respectively, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). MacBook shipments declined 37% in 2023, while revenues fell 49%. Apple desktops, however, grew 7% in shipments, the market tracker said.

All this when the tech giant’s iPhone revenue surged 42% in the last calendar, fuelled by a 39% increase in shipments. According to Counterpoint Research, iPad shipments declined 2% on year in 2023 while Apple Watch shipments slumped 57%.

Apple’s Wearable, Laptop & Tablet Biz Fails to Match iPhone’s Show

“For the last two years, the response for the Apple Watch was quite good considering it only works with Apple devices, but the new launches could not garner high volumes because of a higher replacement cycle due a lack of compelling new features,” said Anshika Jain, senior research analyst at Counterpoint Research. “As a result, iPhone users are delaying their purchase, waiting for more upgrades.”

Vikas Sharma, IDC’s senior market analyst for wearables, said another reason for the stalled growth is the lack of lucrative financing options, unlike those available for iPhones. Also, a majority of first-time iPhone buyers are still tied to paying monthly instalments for the iPhone, and may not have the resources to spend on another high-ticket product, he said. Counterpoint Research noted that almost one out of every three smartphones bought in India last year was financed.Shipments in the premium smartwatch segment, largely driven by Apple, Samsung, and Google, in 2023 stood at just 1.1 million units, out of the 53.4 million total smartwatches shipped in the country, resulting in a drop in market share to 2.1% from 4.5% in 2022, according to IDC.While the outlook for iPhones appears robust this year with shipments and revenues expected to surpass 2023 levels, in the case of smartwatches, it will hinge on whether Apple brings out compelling upgrades, experts said.

“Consumers are waiting for a blood-pressure monitoring feature in the Apple Watch that was expected to come in 2023 but didn’t,” Counterpoint’s Jain said.

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