Apple partners with Flipkart vendor to sell iPhone 7 / 7 plus in India

Apple will team up with online retailer Flipkart, one of India’s largest e-commerce websites, to sell the iPhone 7 in India. This makes the first time that Flipkart has sourced iPhones directly from Apple.

Apple does not have a license to sell products directly in India. Flipkart joins online retailer Infibeam in directly selling iPhones in India. The contract differs though as Infibeam will only sell iPhones and iPads while Flipkart will also sell Macs.

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will go on sale in India on Oct. 7. The iPhone 7 will cost 60,000 rupees ($900) for the 32GB version while the iPhone 7 Plus 32BG handset will cost 72,000 rupees ($1,080.)

The agreement means Flipkart will sell Apple products at their official price, whereas previously the online retailer obtained Apple products from third-party sellers and sold them at a discount. Apple will benefit because its products will be sold by Flipkart at its mandated pricing, not discounted.

Other online retailers like Amazon India and Paytm may attempt to sway customers by discounting Apple products. Flipkart, however, will benefit because it will get its supply straight from Apple’s distribution channel. This could be crucial as supplies of the iPhone 7 are expected to be limited at first.

The move gives Apple a direct partnership with a company that holds a 45 percent market share of gross merchandise value in India. That leads competitors Snapdeal, which holds a 26 percent share, and Amazon India, which holds a 12 percent share.

Apple has also dropped the prices of its iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus and iPhone SE. They will be available at 50,000 rupees for the 32GB mode of the iPhone 6S and 60,000 rupees for the iPhone 6S Plus. The iPhone SE will be available for 44,000 rupees for the 64GB version.

India is a prime market for smartphone sales. According to the Counterpoint Technology market research firm, India beat out the United States as the second largest smartphone market in the world in 2015. Apple sold more than 2 million units for the first time ever in India in 2015, but only made up a 2 percent share of the volume of smartphones sold in India. Samsung led with a 28.6 percent market share of smartphones sold in India.

Samsung also remains a key rival worldwide as Samsung sold 77 million smartphone units globally during the second quarter of 2016 compared to 40.4 million Apple units sold during the same quarter. That’s a 3.4 percent increase for Samsung, which sold 74.5 million units during the same quarter in 2015, while it’s a 14.9 percent decrease for Apple, which sold 47.5 million units during the second quarter of 2015.

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