Apple Inc. has faced serious challenge since the markets opened this year and the result has been massive damage to its share price and to its market cap. Shares of Apple have dropped more than 10% in the year-to-date period – the stock fell from the triple-digit trading club to a double-digit trading club. In the last 12 months, shares of the iPhone maker have lost 20.9%and more than 24% has been trimmed off its market cap.
The problems facing Apple are multifaceted. The firm has found it very hard to bring a new blockbuster product to the market as the Apple Watch and Apple TV fail to find traction. More so, the sales of its main product lines; the iPhone, iPad, and Mac are reaching a peak in developed markets and the features on newer models doesn’t seem to provide buyers with enough reason to upgrade. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that Apple needs to open up new revenue streams and jumpstart growth at all costs.
Apple has its sight on Indian buyers
As part of efforts to jumpstart sales and increase revenue, the firm is making a renewed push to sell its products in emerging markets. Bloomberg reports that Apple is on course to open the first Apple Store in India as the firm starts to work on opening retail stores in world’s second biggest market after China. India has business laws that supports “Made in India” and Apple has its factories in China, but Apple might be able to find an exemption as a maker of cutting-edge technology.
Currently, the firm sells its products in India through resellers, – opening its retail stores in the country would give the firm more control over the customer experience. Apple Inc. retail stores have been a crucial factor in Apple’s strong brand dominance in the U.S., Canada and much of Europe because its stores are located in high-traffic areas with very high visibility. The layout of the stores promote sales, and the salespeople are highly knowledgeable about the products.
India has more than 1.3B people and more than 220M people use smartphones in the country. Apple currently has a 2% market share in India because the typical Indian buyer tends to prefer cheaper devices, which are found in the Android ecosystem. However, Tarun Pathak, a senior analyst at Counterpoint Technology Market Research notes that “most of the growth in India will come from new users coming into the Apple ecosystem, unlike in the West where growth is mainly from existing users upgrading,”
Virtual Reality is the next big thing at Apple Inc.
Apple Inc. is also trying to come to the market with another blockbuster product as it becomes increasingly clear that consumers don’t think that the Apple Watch and Apple TV the best things to happen to the world since sliced bread. Business Insider reports that the firm is making a big bet on Virtual Reality as the frontier for the emergence of its next blockbuster product. As usual, Apple Inc,is tight-lipped about its virtual reality plans but Business Insider presents 7 irrefutable points showing Apple’s interest in VR.
To start with, Apple Inc. has a team working on augmented reality and VR tech, and the firm is making massive hires to fill up positions in the team. Secondly, the firm has bought at least 4 startups working in the AR and VR spaces. Thirdly, Apple Stores have started the sales of a product that can turn your iPhone into a VR headset as the firm seeks to enter the phone-based virtual reality world.
In addition, Apple has started paying regular visits to Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab. The Lab is considered the first point of call for any Silicon Valley firm that is serious about VR. Jeremy Bailenson who runs the lab says, “Apple hasn’t come to my lab in 13 years — except they’ve come three times in the last three months. They come and they don’t say a word, but there’s a data point for you.”