- Apple has raised the prices of its latest iPhones in some of its key markets including China, Japan and India, even while keeping them the same in the United States.
- This comes as Apple looks to revitalize growth amid a broader slowdown in the smartphone market as it targets premium users in countries like India, which has become a major focus for the Cupertino giant.
- In China, which accounts for nearly 20% of Apple’s total sales, the company has raised prices for almost all iPhone 15 models.
Apple CEO Tim Cook holds a new iPhone 15 Pro during an Apple event on September 12, 2023 in Cupertino, California.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images
Apple raised the prices of its latest iPhones in some of its major markets, including China, Japan, and India, even while keeping prices the same in the United States.
This comes as Apple looks to revitalize growth amid a broader slowdown in the smartphone market as it targets power users in countries like India, which has become a major focus for the Cupertino-based giant.
Apple launched the iPhone 15 range on Tuesday. In the US, prices for all different devices and storage configurations remain the same compared to the previous generation iPhone 14.
But in China, which accounts for nearly 20% of Apple’s total sales, the company has raised prices for almost all iPhone 15 models. The base versions of the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, and iPhone 15 Pro Max remain the same. But Chinese customers will pay more for higher storage options. For example, the price of the 512GB version of the iPhone 15 has increased by CNY 300 ($41) versus the iPhone 14.
In India, Apple kept the prices of all versions of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus the same. But it raised the prices of all versions of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. The iPhone 15 Pro price in India now starts at INR 134,900 ($1,627) versus INR 129,900 for the iPhone 14 Pro – an increase of Rs 5,000 or nearly $60.
However, all variants of the iPhone 15 Pro Max are priced Rs 10,000 higher than the equivalent iPhone 14 Pro Max model.
India has become a major focus for Apple this year. CEO Tim Cook visited the country in April, where Apple opened its first physical stores there. Apple has also ramped up manufacturing of its iPhones in India.
CNBC has reached out to Apple to inquire about India manufacturing plans for the iPhone 15.
The rise in prices in both India and China can be partly explained by the fact that their currencies, the Indian rupee and the Chinese yuan, depreciated against the US dollar last year. This means that both currencies are able to buy fewer US dollars. So Apple makes up for that.
In India specifically, the Pro models are likely to be imported rather than manufactured locally, and are therefore subject to a high import tax.
The price hike is also very modest and mainly affects the more expensive models, which is unlikely to impact consumer sentiment much.
“Consumers who buy premium smartphones are less sensitive to price, not to mention the financing and trade-in option is very good in these markets,” Nicole Peng, senior vice president at market research firm Canalys, told CNBC.
Meanwhile, in Japan, Apple has raised the price of every iPhone 15 model.
Apple’s pricing strategy for the iPhone 15 has been cautious. The price rises were not particularly sharp. That’s because Apple needs to act cautiously after iPhone revenue fell 2% year-on-year in the June quarter amid a broader decline in smartphone sales globally. There are still headwinds for the smartphone market this year. Counterpoint Research said it expects total smartphone shipments in 2023 to decline 6% year over year to 1.15 billion devices.
“Globally, Apple shipments are expected to grow just 1% in all of 2023. Thus, higher prices, specifically targeting consumers in the more resilient and affluent segment, could help support Apple’s revenues amid the challenging market environment.” Will Wong, senior research director at IDC, told CNBC:
Apple has balanced some of the hikes with price cuts elsewhere.
In the UK, Apple has reduced the price of all iPhone 15 models versus the iPhone 14. For example, the iPhone 14 started at £849 ($1,059) while the iPhone 15 is £50 lower at £799.
Meanwhile, Apple has reduced the price of the older iPhone 14 in China, its website showed.
“A lower price for older models like the iPhone 14 is a good strategy because it will help target consumers who are budget-conscious but still hoping for a premium brand phone,” Wong said.
“While the new iPhone 15 series targets consumers with a larger budget, both the new and old series can help strengthen its user base.”
“Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff.”