Sales of high-end smartphones priced between Rs. 35,000 and 45,000 from brands such as Apple, Samsung, Sony, LG and BlackBerry are moving fast in India as tie-ups with credit card firms and zero-interest EMIs (equated monthly installments) to woo young buyers.
EMIs make the products more affordable. The catch is that there are no visible cash discounts for those who are ready to cough up the full amount upfront — while some credit card plans for Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy phones give some of the cash back to buyers — through back-end discounts involving complex linkages with credit card partners.
Samsung said the EMI-backed smartphones sales doubled in March compared to January. BlackBerry, LG and Sony declined to give numbers but acknowledged that sales increased following EMI plans. Apple declined comment.
Manasi Yadav, an analyst at research firm IDC India, said during three months from October to December of 2012 Apples’s iPhone shipments in India zoomed five times from a year earlier.
“The easy EMI scheme does help give a big push to sales volumes,” she said.
Apple’s Indian revenues are estimated to have risen by 223% to touch Rs. 2,000 crore in the year to September 2012 and some analysts put the current year's sales at a billion dollars — or Rs. 5,400 crore. Most of this will be from smartphones.