- Apple increased the prices of its latest iPhones in some of its key markets, including China, Japan and India, while keeping them the same in the US.
- This comes as Apple looks to reinvigorate growth amid a broader slowdown in the smartphone market as it targets premium users in countries like India, which has become a big focus for the Cupertino giant.
- In China, which accounts for about 20% of Apple’s total sales, the company raised prices of almost all iPhone 15 models.
Apple CEO Tim Cook holds a new iPhone 15 Pro during an Apple event in Cupertino, California on September 12, 2023.
Justin Sullivan | getty images
Apple has increased the prices of its latest iPhones in some of its key markets, including China, Japan and India, while keeping prices the same in the US.
This comes as Apple looks to reinvigorate growth amid a broader slowdown in the smartphone market as it targets premium users in countries like India, which has become a big focus for the Cupertino-based giant.
Apple launched the iPhone 15 range on Tuesday. In the US, prices for all devices and various storage configurations remained the same compared to the previous generation iPhone 14.
But in China, which accounts for about 20% of Apple’s total sales, the company raised prices of almost all iPhone 15 models. The base versions of iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 Pro Max remain the same. But Chinese customers will pay more for more storage options. For example, the 512 gigabyte version of the iPhone 15 has increased by 300 Chinese yuan ($41) compared to the iPhone 14.
In India, Apple kept the prices of all variants of iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus the same. But it increased the prices of all variants of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. The iPhone 15 Pro price in India now starts at 134,900 Indian rupees ($1,627), while the iPhone 14 Pro costs 129,900 rupees — an increase of ₹ 5,000 or about $60.
However, all variants of the iPhone 15 Pro Max are priced Rs 10,000 more than the equivalent iPhone 14 Pro Max models.
India has become a big focus for Apple this year. Chief Executive Tim Cook visited the country in April when Apple opened its first physical store there. Apple has also increased manufacturing of its iPhones in India.
CNBC has contacted Apple to ask about manufacturing plans in India for the iPhone 15.
The price increases in both India and China can be partly explained by the fact that their respective currencies, the Indian rupee and the Chinese yuan, have weakened against the US dollar over the past year. This means that both currencies are able to buy fewer US dollars. So Apple is compensating for that.
Particularly in India, Pro models are likely to be imported rather than manufactured locally, and are therefore subject to higher import taxes.
The price hike is also quite modest and mainly affects the more expensive models, which is unlikely to have much impact on consumer sentiment.
“Consumers who are purchasing premium smartphones are much less price sensitive, with financing options and trade-ins very well established in these markets,” Nicole Peng, senior vice president at market research firm Canalys, told CNBC.
Meanwhile, in Japan, Apple has increased the price of every model of iPhone 15.
Apple’s pricing strategy for the iPhone 15 has been cautious. The rise in prices has not been particularly sharp. That’s because Apple needs to tread carefully after iPhone revenue declined 2% year-on-year in the June quarter amid a broader decline in smartphone sales globally. There are still unfavorable conditions for the smartphone market this year. Counterpoint Research said it expects total smartphone shipments to decline 6% year-over-year to 1.15 billion devices in 2023.
“Globally, Apple’s shipments are expected to see only 1% growth in full-year 2023. Thus, higher prices, which specifically target consumers in the more flexible and affluent segment, amid the challenging market environment “Can help support Apple’s revenues.” Will Wong, a senior research manager at IDC, told CNBC.
Apple has balanced out some of the growth with price cuts elsewhere.
In the UK, Apple reduced the price of all iPhone 15 models compared to the iPhone 14. For example, the iPhone 14 started at £849 ($1,059), while the iPhone 15 dropped by £50 to £799.
Meanwhile, Apple cut the price of older iPhone 14 in China, its website revealed.
“Lower pricing for older models like the iPhone 14 is a good strategy as it will help target consumers who are budget-conscious but still expect to get a premium branded phone,” Wong said.
“And while the new iPhone 15 series is targeting consumers with a higher budget, both the new and older series could help grow its user base.”